Joseph Wood
Epistle of the Twelve
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 1851)

  • Title Page
  • p. 03  Introduction
  • p. 05  Joseph & Hyrum
  • p. 09  James, Peter & John
  • p. 18  William's 1833 Blessing
  • p. 19  William's 1834 Blessing
  • p. 24  Hymns, etc.

  •   Transcriber's comments

    William's Writings  |  William's "Pocket Companion"  |  William in the Press"
    Palestine Stake of Zion  |  William Smith Chronology  |  William Smith Home Page

    E P I S T L E

    OF  THE

    T W E L V E.


    BY W. W. PHELPS.

        1.    Praise to the man who comun'd with Jehovah;
               Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer;
               Blessed to open the last dispensation,
               Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.

    Chorus-- Hail to the Prophet ascended to heaven,
               Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain,
               Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren,
               Death cannot conquer that hero again.

        2.    Praise to his mem'ry, he died as a Martyr.
               Honor'd and bless'd be his ever great name,
               Long shall his blood, which was shed by assassins,
               Stain Illinois, while the earth lauds his fame.

    Chorus-- Hail to the Prophet, &c.

        3.    Great is his mem'ry, and endless his priesthood,
               Ever and ever the keys he will hold,
               Faithful and true he will enter his kingdom,
               Crown'd in the midst of the Prophets of old.

    Chorus-- Hail to the Prophet, &c.

        4.    Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven,
               Earth must atone for the blood of that man,
               Wake up the world for the conflict of justice,
               Millions shall know brother Joseph again.

    Chorus-- Hail to the Prophet, &c.


    M I L W A U K E E :



    [ 2 ]



    WILLIAM SMITH, the first President, Prophet, Seer Revelator, Translator, and Patriarch over the whole Church.

    JOSEPH WOOD, God's Spokesman for, and Counsellor to the said WILLIAM SMITH, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the whole ministry; also a Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator; holding the keys of the ministry of this latter day dispensation, equally and jointly with the said WILLIAM SMITH.

    Presidents LYMAN WIGHT and AARON HOOK, Counsellors in First Presidency.

    The Quorum of Twelve Apostles.
    The above is a list of the names of the Twelve Apostles. Brother IRA J. PATTEN, the last name on the list, is a brother of Apostle DAVID W. PATTEN, who suffered martyrdom for the cause of Christ during the persecution in Missouri. The members of this Quorum are all equal; but when they are in Council, and the Spokesman, who is their legitimate President, is absent, the oldest man present (in courtesy to age,) persides. The oldest man may also, (in the absence of the Spokesman,) convene said Quorum for business.


    [ 3 ]

    T H E   E P I S T L E.


    Joseph Wood, God's Spokesman for, and Counsellor to William Smith, (which said William Smith is the First President, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, Translator, and Patriarch over the whole church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,) President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, and of the whole ministry of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, by the grace and commandment of God our father, and the Lord Jesus Christ our hope through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, by revelation to us given; also by the commandment of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ our Lord, by and through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost to us given, even by revelation to us given, as to men in days of old, called annointed, and ordained (under the hand of the said William Smith,) a Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator of said Church, to hold the keys of the ministry of this latter day dispensation, equal to, and jointly with the said William Smith, in behalf of the Twelve Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, who are the special witnesses of this latter day dispensation, or the dispensation of the fullness of times, and also, the special witnesses of the said William Smith's being the true and only legal successor of his Brothers Hyrum and Joseph Smith in the offices of Patriarch and First President over the whole church. Which said Hyrum and Joseph Smith suffered martyrdom for the testimony which they bear of the fullness of the glorious gospel of the son of the ever-blessed God, to whom be praise, honor, power, and glory, both now and forever, Amen. Unto the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints scattered abroad, wherever they be upon the face of the whole earth, grace, mercy and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, and the communion, inspiration, and teaching of the Holy Ghost, rest, remain, and abide in, with, and among you, henceforth, now and forever, Amen.

    Ye know, brethren, and if ye do not it is a shame unto you, that our beloved brother Joseph Smith was called of God, after the world had long lain in darkness, by the ministering of an holy angel, to translate the Book of Mormon, and preach the fulness of the glorious gospel of the Son of God, that men might repent and turn to God, receive a remission of their sins, and as in days of old, enjoy sweet communion with their creator, be filled with divine knowledge, wisdom and understanding, and comprehend all things, yea, even the mysteries of eternity.

    Our brother Joseph Smith being endowed with power and authority from on high, though of himself weak, yet being made strong by the Holy Spirit, in obedience to the heavenly vision, commenced

    [ 4 ]

    preaching the fullness of the gospel and thereby exposing the errors of the religious world, and notwithstanding the opposition, contradiction and persecution which he had to face, succeeded in convincing several persons of the truth, and on the 6th day of April, A. D. 1830, organized a church of six members, built upon the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. From this day forth, the Lord hath called plain, simple men, of common understanding, with honest hearts, and endowed them with the Holy Spirit to preach the fullness of the gospel, the dispensation of the fulness of times, to this wicked and perverse generation. Nor was Satan idle -- no, not he, -- but stirring up the hearts of his servants the sectarian priests, and other wicked men, he through them made war upon the saints, and hath kept up that warfare ever since. But multitudes of both men and women believed; the Holy Ghost fell upon them, and they spake with tongues and prophesyed; and by the favor of God, lived in the enjoyment of all the other gifts and blessings of the glorious gospel of the son of the ever-blessed God.

    These, brethren, were happy times; heavenly demonstrations, which continued with the church at large until after the martyrdom of Brothers Hyrum and Joseph Smith: yea, and have since that time continued with those who have continued in the faith, and not suffered themselves to be led from the true church by following false and pernicious doctrines, the inventions of wicked men; though they were hid from the great body until the Lord commanded Brother William Smith to arise and put on his armour to redeem Zion; and God, even now, as formerly, bears record to his word by the Holy Ghost, and confirms the word by signs following; yea, again is the Lord visiting his people in mercy; again doth the true light shine, and will continue to shine and increase in its lustre and glory unto the perfect day. Shortly will Zion put on her beautiful garments, go forth in her majesty, the earth be redeemed, the wicked and rebellious be cut off by the judgments of the Lord God Omnipotent, the whole earth become a habitation for the saints, the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ, and all shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest; and the Lord Jesus shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. But to return: Thus the good work continued to roll on, till as in former years, and as in ancient times, the powers of darkness united their unhallowed forces and combined their diabolical legions, to fight against the God of Jacob. The saints who were gathered at Kirtland, Ohio, were so persecuted that the aged Patriarch and his son Joseph, the seer, with the larger portion of the Church, removed to Missouri. Here, by industry and economy, they began to grow wealthy, establish schools, build houses of worship and by their honest labor acquire and live on the fat of the land. -- But when was the time that the people of God enjoyed peace and rest? The priests and their dupes saw with indignation and hatred the growing wealth and continued increase of the numbers of the saints. Diabolus saw very clearly that his temples would soon be deserted if these people should live, advocate, and enjoy the pure religion of Christ, unmolested; so, stirring up the hearts of these sons of wickedness, corruption, ignorance, and duplicity, determined

    [ 5 ]

    through them to annoy, vex, harass, worry and torment the saints of the Most High, and if possible deprive them of the inalienable rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution of the United States. Then these servants of the prince of darkness with hearts filled with hatred, malice, envy and murder, eyes longing for plunder flashing with rage and fiendish lust; faces dark with vengeance, fury, and outrage, regardless of all laws, human and divine, commenced robbing, plundering, and murdering the saints generally, nor did unprotected females and inoffensive children escape the villainous assaults, and fiendish brutality of these desperadoes. At length, as you know, Boggs, the Governor of the State of Missouri, joined with this banditti of robbers and murderers, and issued his exterminating order against the saints, or, as he denominated them, the Mormons. The Governor, for purposes known to himself, having thus joined himself to the mob, the saints to save their lives, were compelled to leave their homes and firesides to the possession of a ruthless mob, and gathering such property as had not been taken from them by these cut throats, and they could carry with them, were compelled to flee the State of Illinois for refuge.

    Thus a branch of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints numbering about ten thousand, for no other cause but holding to and believing in the faith once delivered to the saints, were robbed, murdered, and finally driven from their homes, by a God daring mob, with a wicked, faithless Governor at their head. After they arrived in Illinois, they located themselves principally at Commerce, (Nauvoo,) and by the most indefatigable industry and most rigid economy, soon made themselves comfortable as to things of this life, and brethren gathering in from different parts, soon made them numerous.

    Here Father Joseph Smith, the Patriarch over the whole church, died, and was succeeded in that office by his son Hyrum, who held said office by right of lineal descent, and as he was older than brother Joseph, in accordance with his birthright, held the keys (as his father had done) of the Patriarchal blessings over the whole church. Here the church was in hopes of a long rest, but Satan was busy, and his servants having brought a false accusation against the Patriarch and First President of the church, they were lodged in Carthage Jail, where they suffered martyrdom on the 27th day of June, A. D., 1844. At this time President William Smith was in the state of New York. Soon after their murder, Samuel H. Smith died, a martyr for the truth, leaving our brother William Smith the only surviving son of the good old Patriarch, and of course the only surviving brother of Hyrum and Joseph Smith, and consequently the only living heir to the Patriarchy and First Presidency over the church.

    The murder of these two men of God, as we may rationally conclude, threw the branch of the church at Nauvoo into great confusion, and the inquiry was made, who was to succeed these men? -- Had they carefully and prayerfully examined the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Book of Doctrines and Covenants, on this subject, they might have learned the truth with respect to this matter: but they did not do so! The truth is, during the time of their prosperity at Nauvoo, many ungodly men had crept into the church unawares, wicked and unholy men, thirsting for power over the

    [ 6 ]

    saints, that they might consume it upon their lust. These men were ready to be revealed in their time; and as the time had come for the Lord to sever the honest in heart from the abominable and hypocrites, he chose to leave them to themselves for a season, and then turn and purge Jacob and purify Israel. Of course, in this confusion and trouble, the saints looked to as many of the twelve as were with them, for counsel; but instead of these men seeking for the counsel of God, they took advantage of the prevailing distress, confusion, and apparent uncertainty, and declared themselves the head of the church, and at length succeeded in getting the church at Nauvoo to vote them such; what an anomaly, a body with twelve heads! Now commenced a scene of iniquity; a jubilee was proclaimed, all bands were loosed, and such a scene of debauchery, adultery, and seduction, has seldom been witnessed among civilized people. This is the kind of holiness that signalized the commencement of the reign of the man of sin, even Brigham Young, who together with those of the twelve that had helped him in his unholy usurpation, and assisted him in giving his abominable endowment at Nauvoo, had followed him into the wilderness, giving him their assistance in seducing the saints, are sons of perdition, and can no more be received into the church. Brigham Young and his sworn conspirators, at length, after leading as many as would follow him, into the wilderness, succeeded in getting them to elect him First President of the church, as though he could be made a Prophet by an election! O! ye fair ones, how have ye fallen, and now suffered yourselves to be led into a salt land, without inhabitants! Jeremiah 17, 6 and 7 verses. -- During the troubles at Nauvoo, another arch-impostor arose, by the name of James J. Strang. This notorious hypocrite and unprincipled infidel, produced a forged letter, with Joseph Smith's name signed to it; not, however, in Joseph Smith's handwriting, nor in the handwriting of any of his clerks; nor is there even one witness of its authenticity. This he claims to contain a revelation appointing him Joseph's successor. This is a novel way of making prophets, to be sure. Who ever heard of a prophet being made by a letter? Strange absurdity!

    We might here say something of James Collens Brewster, and his pretensions, and of other minor impostors, but passing events are so swiftly determining their destiny, that we deem it unnecessary. They have had their day, and you who are or have been connected with them, well know that the gifts and blessings that attend the church under the administration of our brother Joseph Smith, have fled from their administrations! Why this? God is the same! For this reason and no other, they are false prophets; God will not bless their administration. Brethren, ye have in a manner distrusted God; ye have supposed, many of you, that the Lord suffered the wicked to slay your prophets, without informing you so plainly that ye cannot be deceived, who are to succeed them, and therefore many of the honest have been deceived by pretenders. But beloved brethren, this is your mistake; the Lord hath revealed it as plain as need be; yea, even so plain that ye may see it as clear as ye can see the sun at noon, when no cloud intervenes. To his Holy name be wisdom, power, and might, forever and ever. Amen.

    Now brethren, ye know that Brother William Smith is the only

    [ 7 ]

    living son of old father Smith, who in his day was Patriarch over the whole church, and the only living brother of Joseph Smith, who was the First President of the church. Him, even brother William, do we receive as Patriarch, First President, &c., over the whole church; and most assuredly believe that he holds these offices by right of lineal descent from his fathers. We then prove this from the Bible, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Book of Doctrines and Covenants.

    From the Bible, 1st. The Patriarchal office descends from father to son by right; also, the Lesser or Aaronic priesthood was handed down from father to son. Christ's brother succeeded him in the presidency of the ancient church.

    From the Book of Mormon, 2d. The office of High Priest, (president) of the church descended from father to son, and was transferred from brother to brother.

    3d. Book of Doctrines and Covenants. This order is to continue until the restitution of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets.

    1. We have to show you from the Bible, first, that the Patriarchal office descends from father to son. 2d. That the Priesthood of Aaron descends from father to son. 3d. From the New Testament, that Christ's brother succeeded him in the presidency of the ancient church.

    Then, 1st Gen. 12. "Now the Lord had said unto Abraham, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee; and I will make of thee a great nation; and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Gen. 13-14, 15, 16 verses: "And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth; so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed be numbered." Gen. 17 -- 3, 4, 5 verses: "And Abram fell upon his face; and God talked with him, saying, as for me, behold my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father (Patriarch) of (over) many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be called Abraham; (Father, Patriarch) for a father (Patriarch) of (over) many nations have I made thee."

    But should any be so ignorant as to contend that Abraham was not a patriarch, let him hear what Paul says on that subject. Heb. 7; 4th verse. "Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils." Abraham was not only a Patriarch, but a Prophet also. Gen. 20 -- 7th verse: "Now therefore, restore the man his wife: for he is a Prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live," &c. Ye cannot be mistaken here that Abraham was a Patriarch and Prophet: the same promise that God made to Abraham he confirmed upon the head of his son Isaac; and Isaac acts in the Patriarchial Office when he blesses Jacob, then see Gen. 28 -- 4. verse: "And give thee

    [ 8 ]

    the blessing of Abraham, to thee and thy seed after thee." What were the blessings of Abraham here confirmed by Isaac upon Jacob's head? One blessing was evidently that of being a Patriarch and Prophet. So Isaac must have been a Patriarch and Prophet, or he could not have conferred this, or more properly these blessings on Jacob. The truth is, Isaac inherited these blessings from Abraham as his heir, and Jacob inherited them from Isaac, and Isaac confirmed them upon him and his seed. Abraham and Isaac were Patriarchs and Prophets, and Jacob was not only a Patriarch and Prophet by right of his lineal descent from Abraham and Isaac, but had attained to greater blessings. Gen. 49 -- 26 verse: "The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; they shall be upon the head of Joseph," &c. In this we learn that Jacob was all that his fathers were with respect to blessings more, and that these blessings were by him, confirmed upon Joseph, making him a Patriarch and Prophet, &c. Reuben was entitled to the Patriarchy, but in consequence of one abominable act the birthright was given to Joseph's sons. Ch. 5 -- 1st verse: "Now Reuben, the first-born of Israel, (for he was firstborn; but, inasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel." &c., so the sons of Joseph, also, are to inherit the birthright, (Patriarchy) and the blessing of their father (Joseph) descends upon them as a matter of course. Thus brethren ye can plainly see how old father Smith (a descendant of Joseph,) became the Patriarch of the church in those last days, which office Brother Hyrum, by virtue of his birthright, inherited in preference to Brother Joseph.

    But, perhaps some man may ignorantly say that brother Hyrum did not receive the office of Patriarch by right. We say unto him read in the book of Cov., 3d Ed., p. 407 -- "that my servant Hyrum may take the office of Priesthood and Patriarch, which was appointed unto him by his father, by blessing, and also by right. (by what right? Right of lineal descent, birthright of course) that from henceforth he may hold the keys of the patriarchal blessings upon the heads of all my people, (Joseph was one of God's people) that whosoever he blesses may be blessed, and whoever he curseth shall be cursed: That whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsover he shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven," &c. Thus we see that the patriarchial and prophetic office descended from Abraham to Isaac, from Isaac to Jacob, from Jacob to his son Joseph, and also to Joseph's sons, which were Ephraim and Manasseh, Ephraim having the greater blessing; and from Joseph through the loins of Ephraim to old Father Smith, from old Father to his son Hyrum Smith. Here we will leave this matter for the present.

    We are next, 2d, to prove that the Priesthood of Aaron (lesser Priesthood) descends from father to son. Ex. 28, 4, ver. "And take thou unto thee, Aaron, thy brother and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that they may minister unto me in the Priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons." Ex. 40. 14, 15, ver. "And thou shalt bring his sons and clothe them with coats, and thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the Priest's

    [ 9 ]

    office, for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations," Num. 3, 10, ver. "And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their Priest's office; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death." Num. 18, 8 ver. "And the Lord spake unto Aaron, behold, I have also given thee the charge of my heave-offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever." We think, brethren, that these evidences are sufficient to show unto you that Aaron's Priesthood descended from him to his sons. Nor are they now divested of that right; they will yet administer before the Lord in their Priest's office. Mal. 3, 3 and 4, verses. "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in days of old, and as in former years." We think, brethren, we have said enough on this point. We proceed to show next, 3rd; from the New Testament, that Christ's brother succeeded him in the presidency of the ancient Church.

    It hath been generally believed that the Apostle, Peter, was President of the Ancient Church, (in the days of the Apostles) but this is an error. There was no revelation in the days of Brother Joseph on this subject; the conclusion was drawn from inference and not being contested was acquiesced in by the brethren. Ye will then inquire in what office did Peter stand? We answer he was the spokesman, president of the twelve Apostles, and of the whole ministry. Hence, we always find him foremost in asking and answering questions, preaching the Gospel both to Jews and Gentiles. You may say, perhaps, the keys of the kingdom of Heaven were given unto him with power to bind and seal on earth. This is true, and so it is also true that power was given unto the other Apostles to bind and seal like unto Peter. We hold that the Apostle James was president of the Ancient Church, and was only superior to Peter by virtue of his presidency: that they held all other power and authority, the keys included, jointly. James was First President. Peter was spokesman, and to this agrees a revelation of Joseph. Doc. & Cov. 3d. Ed., p. 237. "He (John) shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth: and I will make thee to minister for him and thy brother James, and unto you three I will give this power and the keys of the ministry until I come." According to this, this power, and the keys of the ministry we to be held by James, Peter, and John, which can only be accounted for by James succeeding Christ in the presidency, and after his death, John succeeding him, and Peter being spokesman during James' administration and at least some part of the administration of John. He could not have been the first president, because he was to minister for them; the less ministers for the greater. Aaron was spokesman (minister) for Moses.

    There is a rule given by which we may determine who is president: he that presides in council and passes sentence is evidently president. Now we ask you to show us one example of Peter's presiding and passing sentence. Can you do this? Nay, there is no

    [ 10 ]

    such example! The question now arises was James the Lord's brother? Let the apostle Paul answer this. Gal. 1, 18, 19, verses. "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the Apostles saw I none, save James, the Lord's brother," But a little more as to Peter's presiding over the Ancient Church. Acts 8, 14, 15, verses. "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they send unto them Peter and John, who, when they were come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost &c." Would not the brethren think it very much out of order for the apostles to send the First President of the church to some branch to confirm some new made disciples? Acts 11, 2, 3, verses. "And when he was come up unto Jerusalem they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying, thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them." Can the brethren believe that the believing Jews would have thus contended with the First President of the church? Gal. 2, 11, 12, verses. "But when Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, (the Lord's brother,) he did eat with the gentiles; but when they were come, he withdrew, and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision." Paul here speaks of withstanding Peter to his face; he also speaks of it in such a manner as leaves us to infer that he himself considered it a very bold act, not to be repeated, as Peter was in much higher authority than himself, and excuses himself by setting forth the actual circumstances of the case, and says Peter "was to be blamed."

    Would Paul have thus withstood the First President of the church? We wot not. But again, why did Peter change his demeanour toward the gentile brethren, when some came down from James? Because he feared them of the circumcision! Why did he fear them of the circumcision! He, of course, feared that they, when they returned to Jerusalem, would report him to James (the first president) as a disorderly person. If Peter was the first president, why not correct the partial views of them of the circumcision, instead of fearing them?

    Nowlet us find who actually presided and gave sentence; and in so doing, we will find the first president of the Ancient Church. Acts 15, 1, 2, verses. "And certain men which came down from Judea, taught the brethren, and said, except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them; they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question." Observe two or three things here. Firstly, there were certain men which taught the brethren some things which Paul and Barnabas did not believe, and could not, by argument correct. Secondly, that at Jerusalem (James's seat) there were apostles (perhaps James, the First President, Peter the spokesman, and John and Joses, counsellors in the first presidency,) and elders (the high council) before whom it was proper and right to refer such matters for a just, accurate, and final decision. And thirdly, Paul, Barnabas, and certain other of them were actually sent up to Jerusalem to obtain a

    [ 11 ]

    decision on that question. Act 15, 4, ver. "And when they came to Jerusalem, they were received of the Church, and of the apostles (President James, Spokesman Peter, Counsellors John and Joses) and elders (the high council) and they declared all things that God had done with (through) them." See verses 5 and 6 -- same chap. "But there rose up certain (who had been) of the sect of the Pharisees, which believed, saying, that it was needful to circumcise them, and command them to keep the law of Moses. And the Apostles and Elders came together for to consider of this matter.

    Now we have the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem assembled in council to determine and give a decision on this vexed question about circumcision. Those who had been Pharisees, being tenacious for an observance of the Jewish ritual, contended that it was necessary for the Gentiles to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses in order to obtain salvation. Then after "there had been much disputing, Peter rose up," not as the first President of the church, nor does he so much as intimate that he was presiding, either by word or act, but as spokesman, the expounder of doctrinal and doubtful questions, and in his discourse adverted to God's sending him to open the kingdom to the Gentiles, and bore testimony that God bare the Gentiles witness, who were uncircumcised, by giving them the Holy Ghost as he gave it to the circumcised Jews, making no difference, in that respect, between Jews and Gentiles. He then asks: "Now wherefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? Then the venerable Paul and his companion Barnabas, taking the side of Peter, strengthened his testimony by "declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. This closed the arguments.

    Now who presides, and passes or gives sentence? See verses 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20, same chap. And after they held their peace, James (the Lord's brother) answered, saying, men and brethren hearken unto me, Simeon (Simon Peter, God's Spokesman) hath declared how God at first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the Prophets; as it is written, after this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down: and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up; that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord who doth all things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning.

    Wherefore my sentence is that we trouble them not, which from among the Gentiles, are turned to God, but that we write unto them that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. Now if presiding over the council and passing sentence proves anything respecting the matter, it proves the person presiding to be president. Then, according to this rule, James is proved to be the president, or highest presiding authority of the Ancient Church. Do ye not see brethren, that the council (apostles and elders) convened, argue the questions, and James sums up the arguments, determines the question, and gives sentence; and this sentence is carried into execution; the letters are written and forwarded to the Churches, and finally formed decrees? Acts

    [ 12 ]

    16, 4 ver. If Peter was the first president of the Church he certainly acted very strangely in this whole affair! The truth is there is no evidence to support such a dignity for Peter, nor did he in word or act ever claim it, He was undoubtedly equal with James in every respect but in presiding when James was present. James (the Lord's brother) was first president and Peter was spokesman. Thus it is proven that Christ's brother succeeded him as first President of the Ancient Church. This savors of lineal right, does it not?

    2d. We are next to prove from the Book of Mormon, that the office of High Priest (First President) of the Church descended from father to son, and was transferred from brother to brother. Book of Mormon, Page 18. Therefore the things which are pleasing unto the world, I (Nephi) do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God, and unto those which are not of the World. Wherefore I (Nephi) shall give command to my seed that shall not occupy these plates with things that are not of worth unto the children of men." Page 61. "Rebel no more against your brother, (Nephi) whose views have been glorious, and who hath kept the commandments from the time that we left Jerusalem, and who hath been an instrument in the hands of God, in bringing us forth into the land of promise; for were it not for him we must have perished in the wilderness. Nevertheless, ye sought to take away his life, yea, and he hath suffered much sorrow because of you." Page 62. "And it must needs be that the power of God must be with him, (Nephi) even unto his commanding you, that ye must obey." Page 62. "And now my sons Laman and also Lemuel and Sam, and also my sons which are the sons of Ishmael, behold, if ye will hearken unto the voice of Nephi, ye shall not perish. And if ye will hearken unto him, I leave unto you a blessing; yea, even my first blessing. But if ye will not hearken unto him, I will take away my blessing: yea, even my first blessing and it shall rest upon him." No saint will dispute Lehi's being a Prophet; and by his giving spiritual blessings, we rationally conclude he was a Patriarch, also. By birthright these offices belonged to Laman, but by his not complying with the condition imposed in the above blessing, they rested upon the head of Nephi, making him both Patriarch and Prophet. Pages 62 and 63. "And now Jacob, I speak unto you; thou at my first born in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness. And behold, in thy childhood, thou hast suffered affliction and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of thy brethren. Nevertheless, Jacob, my first born in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God, and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain. Wherefore thy soul shall be blessed, and thou shall dwell safely with thy brother Nephi, and thy days shall be spent in the service of thy God." Page 73. "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did consecrate Jacob and Joseph, that they should be priests and teachers over the land of my people." Page 73. "The words of Jacob, the brother of Nephi, which he spake unto the people of Nephi: behold, my beloved brethren, I Jacob, having been called of God, and ordained after the manner of his holy order, and having been consecrated by my brother Nephi," &c. Page 120. "And now, my beloved brethren, all those xwho are of the house of Israel, and all ye ends of the earth, I (Nephi) speak unto you, as the voice of one crying from the dust -- farewell

    [ 13 ]

    until that great day shall come, and you that will not partake of the goodness of God, and respect the words of the Jews, and also my words, and the words which shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the Lamb of God: behold, I bid you an everlasting farewell, for these words shall condemn you at the last day; for what I seal on earth shall be brought against you at the judgment bar; for thus hath the Lord commanded me and I must obey." Amen. Page 121. For he (Nephi) said that the history of his people should be engraven upon his other plates, and that I (Jacob) should preserve these plates, and hand them down unto my seed from generation to generation." Ye will not doubt Nephi's being the Patriarch and Prophet (President) of the church in his day, and that he received the priesthood from his father Lehi; and that during his life he kept the sacred records. After his death we find these sacred things in the hands of Jacob his brother, who is then the High Priest (First President) over the Church, and Jacob says that they, according to Nephi's instructions, were to be handed down through his (Jacob's seed) from generation to generation. This shows that the High Priest (President) of the church, according to Nephi's view, was during this time, to be of the seed of Jacob, for you will find that the High Priest (President) of the church was the proper person to keep those sacred things, and that he that kept them was the rightful heir to that dignified office, and was considered the High Priest (First President) of the Church. Page 140. "And I, Jacob, saw that I must soon go down to my grave, wherefore, I said unto my son Enos, take these plates. And I told him the things which my brother Nephi had commanded me, and he promised obedience unto the command." Page 143. "Now I, Jarom, write a few words, according to the commandment of my farther Enos, that our genealogy may be kept. And as these plates are small, and as these things are written for the intent of the benefit of our brethren the Lamanites, wherefore, it must needs be that I write a little; but I shall not write of the things of my Prophesying, nor of my revelations." Hence Jarom was a Prophet, Revelator, &c. Page 144. "And I (Jarom) deliver these plates into the hands of my son Omni, that they be kept according to the commandments of my father." Page 143. "Behold, it came to pass that I, Omni, being commanded by my father Jarom to preserve our genealogy." &c. Why preserve the genealogy of this family? Evidently because the Nephites by it would know who was (by lineal descent, the High Priest, or First President of the Church,) -- "and I confered them (the plates) upon my son Amaron. Amaron confered them on his brother Chemish. Chemish delivered them to his son Abinadom; Abinadom confered them on his son Amaleki." See also, Page 147. "And it came to pass that I (Amalekiah) began to be old; and having no seed, and knowing King Benjamin to be a just man before the Lord, wherefore, I deliver up these plates unto him." &c. (Here the male lineal descendants of the sons of Jacob having run out, the office of the High Priest or President of the Church is restored to the house of Nephi.) Page 152. "And it came to pass that after King Benjamin had made an end of saying to his son, (Mosiah) that he gave him charge concerning all the affairs of the Kingdom. And moreover, he also gave him charge concerning the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and also the

    [ 14 ]

    plates of Nephi; and also, the ball or director. Page 156. "And now my brethren I would that ye should do as ye have hitherto done; as ye have kept my commandments, and also the commandments of my father; and have prospered, and have kept from falling into the hands of your enemies, even so if ye shall keep the commandments of my son, or the commandments of God through him, which shall be delivered unto you by him, ye shall prosper in the land, and your enemies shall have no power over you." Pages 168 and 9. "Now Ammon said unto him, I can assuredly tell thee, O King, of a man that can translate the records, for he hath wherewith he can look and translate all records that are of ancient date, and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters; and no man can look in them, except he be commanded. And whosoever is commanded to look in them is a seer. And behold, the king of the people who is in the land of Zarahemla, is the man that is co9mmanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God." (King Benjamin was a lineal descendant of Nephi.) Page 163. "And now all the people of Zarahemla were numbered with the Nephites, and because the kingdom had been confered upon none but those who were decendants of Nephi." Page 185. "But there was one among them whose name was Alma, he also being a descendant of Nephi. And he was a young man, and he believed the word which Abinadi had spoken," &c. Page 188. "And it came to pass that Alma, having authority from God, ordained priests, even one priest to every fifty of their number did he ordain to preach unto them, and to teach concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." Page 199. "And Alma was their High Priest, (President,) he being the founder of their Church. And it came to pass that none received authority to preach or teach, except it were by him from God." Page 111 and 112. "And now as I said unto you, that after King Mosiah had done these things, he took the plates of brass, and all things which he had kept, and confered them upon Alma, which was the son of Alma, yea, all the records, and also the interpreters, and confered them upon him, and commanded him that he should keep and preserve them, and also keep a record of the people, handing them down from one generation to another, even as they had been handed down from the time Lehi left Jerusalem." Page 215. "And it came to pass that Alma was appointed to be their First Chief Judge; he being also High Priest, (First President or Presiding Elder,) his father having conferred the office upon him; and had given him charge concerning all the affairs of the church." Page 317. "And now my son Helaman, I command you that ye take the records which have been entrusted with me; and also command you that ye (you) keep a record of this people, according as I have done, upon the plates of Nephi, and keep all things sacred which I have kept, even as I have kept them." Page 341. "Thus they were led away by Amalickiah, notwithstanding the preaching of Helaman and his brethren; yea notwithstanding their exceeding great care over the Church, for they were High Priests (Presidents or presiding Elders) over the Church." Page 394. "And it came to pass in the commencement of the thirty and sixth year of the reign of the Judges over the people of Nephi, that Shiblon (Helaman's brother) took possession of

    [ 15 ]

    those sacred things which had been delivered unto Helam by Alma; and he was a just man, and did walk uprightly before God; and he did observe to do good continually, to keep the commandments of the Lord his God; and also did his brother." Page 195. "And it came to pass in the thirty and ninth year of the reign of Judges , Shiblom died also, and Corianton (Shiblon's brother) had gone forth to the land northward, in a ship, to carry forth provisions unto the people who had gone forth unto that land, therefore it became expedient for Shiblon to confer those sacred things before his death upon the son of Helaman, who was called Helaman, being called after the name of his father. *  *  *  * In this year they had been conferred on Helaman, before the death of Shiblon." Page 404. -- "And it came to pass in the fifty and third year of the reign of the judges, Helaman died, and his eldest son, Nephi, began to reign in his stead. And it came to pass that he did fill the judgment seat with justice and equity; yea, he did keep the commandments of God and did walk in the ways of his father. Page 405. But behold, Morinah did preach many things unto the people, because of their iniquity, and also Nephi and Lehi, who were the sons of Helaman, did preach many things unto the people; yea, and did prophecy many things unto them concerning their iniquities, and what should come unto them if they did not repent of their sins." Page 406. "And it came to pass that Nephi became weary because of their iniquity; and he yielded up the judgment seat, and he took it upon him to preach the word of God all the remainder of his days, and his brother Lehi, also, all the remainder of his days; for they remembered the words which their father Helaman spoke unto them. Page 420. -- "Behold I (God) give unto you (Nephi) power, that whatsoever ye (you) seal on earth, shall be sealed in heaven' and whatsoever ye (you) loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven," &c. Page 440. -- "And Nephi, the son of Helaman, had departed out of the land of Zarahemla, giving charge unto his son Nephi, who was his eldest son, concerning the plates of brass, and all the records which had been kept, and all those things which had been kept sacred from the departure of Lehi out of Jerusalem;" &c. Page 489. "And it came to pass that he (the Lord) said unto Nephi, bring forth the record which ye have kept." Page 501. "And it came to pass that Nephi, he that kept this last record, (and he kept it on the plates of Nephi,) died, and his son Amos kept it in his stead; and it came to pass that Amos died also, (and it was a hundred and ninety and four years from the coming of Christ,) and his son Amos kept it in his stead; he also kept it upon the plates of Nephi;" &c. Page 503. "And it came to pass that after three hundred and five years had passed away, (and the people did still remain in wickedness,) and Amos died, and his brother Amaron did keep the record in his stead. And it came to pass when three hundred and twenty years had passed away, Amaron being constrained by the Holy Ghost, did hide up the records which were sacred," &c. Page 504. "And behold ye (you) shall engrave on the plates of Nephi, all the things that ye (you) have observed concerning this people, And I, Mormon, being a descendant of Nephi, (and my father's name was Mormon,) I remembered

    [ 16 ]

    the things that Amaron commanded." This Mormon, who was a great Prophet, was slain by the Lamanites; and his son Moroni, who was also a Prophet, hid up the records, and they remained until they were obtained by our brother, Joseph Smith. Thus, Brethren, as the High Priest (First President) of the church had charge of the sacred things, that high office descended from father to son, and was transferred from brother to brother.

    3d. We are next to show from the book of "Doctrine and Covenants," sometimes called "Covenants and Commandments," that this order is to continue until the restitution of all things spoken of by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began. In doing this we will use the third edition of said book, printed in 1845.

    Ye know by this time that we teach that the priesthood, including all its orders, (offices and appendages) descends, in right, from father to son, so we believe and teach. And well we may, for God never bestowed any priesthood, in any age of the world, but so descended; and the Priesthood of a father is as much the right of his son by the divine law, as the estate of a father is the right of his son by the Statute Law of a State.

    In order to understand correctly the order, mode, or manner of the Priesthood's descending from father to son, we will have to take a short review of the quotations we have taken from the Book of Mormon. We think that it is clearly proven from the preceeding, and we hope ye will not doubt it, that Lehi was not only a prophet but a patriarch also. Now on the death of Lehi, by birthright, this Priesthood belonged to Laman: in case of his death, to Lemuel, &c.

    But these men refusing to comply with the condition contained in the blessing pronounced upon them by Patriarch Lehi, they, nor did either of them receive the blessing, even the first blessing of Lehi their father, but it rested upon the head of Nephi, their younger brother, who was also the son of Lehi. After his death the Patriarchy and Presidency did not descend immediately upon his (Nephi's) son, but to Jacob, who was also the son of Lehi. Why this, if the priesthood &c., descends from father to son? Because this priesthood descended from Lehi, their common father, and by birthright, descends upon the oldest son first, and down through all the living sons of the father from whom the right came, if they claim their rights, before it can possibly reach a grandson who is removed one degree by blood, further from him from whom the priesthood came. Hence, after the death of Nephi, we see Jacob, his (Nephi's) brother, the Highpriest (President) of the Church, and the same authority continued with Jacob's seed. (on which the charge of the sacred things was confered) for several hundred years, when the males of the seed of Jacob seem to have run out and the sacred things are restored to the house of Nephi in the person of King Benjamin, and continued with his sons until the rise of Alma, a descendant of Nephi who was acknowledged the High Priest (President) of the church; King Benjamin acknowledging his superior right, and to Alma the son of Alma, who had been set apart to that dignified office by his father, did the heir of King Benjamin deliver all the sacred things, because he, Alma was the High Priest (President or Presiding elder) of the church; and in this lineage continued the presidency

    [ 17 ]

    until Moroni hid up the sacred things to come forth unto us, the charge of which are given to the Smith family. Helaman succeeded Alma, and his two brothers, Shiblon and Corianton, were associated with him; for they are made the High Priests (Presidents or Presiding Elders) of the church. Shiblon succeeded Helaman not Helaman's son Helaman) his brother. Why? Because this priesthood and right came through the lineage of their father, and could not pass to his grandson until it had been enjoyed by his own sons, and then would it descend to his grandsons. After Shiblon had received the sacred things from his brother Helaman, Corianton, his other brother, on whom the sacred things would have been conferred, went to the north country and returned no more, as far as we are informed with respect to him; so, in consequence of his absence, Shiblon, previous to his death, conferred the sacred things on Helaman, the son of Helaman who was the next heir. Thus ye see, brethren, the rule, and the reason of the rule, is very plain: Amos died, and his brother Amaron kept the record. Now the question arises, from whom did Brother Joseph receive his right of Priesthood? We answer, from his father. The sacred things were delivered to brother Joseph Smith: then the Lord informed him from whom he had received his right of Priesthood; yea, through whom he received his priesthood. Covenants and Commandments, Section 6, paragraph 3, Page 129. "Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your father; for ye are the lawful heirs according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God; therefore your life and the priesthood hath remained and must needs remain through you and your lineage, until the restitution of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began." So we are informed that Joseph Smith in common with others addressed received his priesthood through the lineage of his father. Old father Smith (Joseph's father) ye know was Patriarch over the whole church. His son Joseph -- who was the first President of the Church, being one of the church, cannot be excluded from this power and authority of his father, he having derived from his father, through lineage, all the rights and power as a President, Prophet, &c., which he held; his father holding the same rights which he held, and a little more, i. e. the keys of the patriarchal blessings over his head. We have before shown that after the decease of old father Smith, his son Hyrum Smith, being his oldest living son, by right, stood in the same Priesthood authority of his father, holding the keys of the Patriarchal blessings over all God's people, Joseph being one of God's People. God said, ye are lawful heirs according to the flesh; and again, the Priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers: for ye are lawful heirs according to the flesh, &c. What can be plainer? What is meant by the order of the Priesthood? The regular arrangement of the several offices belonging to the Priesthood; namely, Patriarch, First President, (who is a Prophet, Seer, Revelator, Translator, and sometimes Patriarch,) a Spokesman, (who is a counsellor to the first president; also a Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator and president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and of the whole

    [ 18 ]

    ministry,) two President Counsellors in the first presidency; the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, High Councils, High Priests, Bishops and their counsellors, Presidents of seventies and seventies, Elders, &c., &c. * * * * Many of the order of this priesthood are set forth in the 3d Section of the Covenants and Commandments, after which at the 18th paragraph, page 104, it is said, "The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made." Brother Hyrum Smith the patriarch over the whole church, and brother Joseph, the First President, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator, of the Church, suffered Martyrdom as aforesaid; and soon after brother Samuel H. Smith suffered death, leaving President William Smith, according to the rule laid down in the Book of Mormon, and recognized by the Bible, &c., the only living son of the old Patriarch, old father Smith, and true successor of Hyrum and Joseph Smith to the offices of Patriarch, First President, &c., of the church; he being the son of old father Smith, the Patriarch, as well as his brothers Hyrum and Joseph. Brethren, he that rejects President William Smith as a Patriarch and First President, &c., of the Church, must needs reject the Book of Mormon and the revelations through Joseph.

    A   B L E S S I N G

    Pronounced by Joseph Smith, Jun., upon the head of William Smith,
    his brother, Dec. 18th, A. D. 1833.

    "Brother William is as the fierce lion, which divideth not the spoil because of his much strength, and in the pride of his heart he will neglect the more weighty matters, until his soul is bowed down in sorrow; and then shall he return and call on the name of his God, and shall find forgiveness, and shall wax valiant in the cause of truth, therefore he shall be saved unto the uttermost; and shall be endowed with power from on high. At his rebuke in the name of the Lord, the eyes of the blind shall be opened; the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped; the tongue of the dumb shall be made to speak; and the lame man shall leap as a hart; and his adversaries shall not have power to withstand his words. Hell shall tremble because of him, and satan shall flee from before his face, and he shall be as the roaring lion of the forest in the midst of his prey: -- so shall his hand be in the midst of his enemies among those who know not the Lord, but seek the injury of the righteous. And the hand of his generation shall be lifted up, also, against those who are set on high, that fight against the God of Israel; fearless and undaunted shall they be in battle, in avenging the wrongs of the innocent, and relieving the oppressed; therefore, the blessings of the God of Jacob shall be upon him to the uttermost, and in the midst of his house from generation to generation, forever, And he shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall come up like a full shock of corn, laden with his tens of thousands as a reward of his labors, and with songs of everlasting joy, with hosannas upon his lips, to God and the Lamb, to go no more out. AMEN.

    [ 19 ]


    President William Smith received a patriarchal blessing from his father Joseph Smith, who was Patriarch over the whole church, on the 9th day of Dec. A. D. 1834, which reads as follows:

    "William, my son, I lay my hands upon thy head in the name of Jesus Christ, and confirm upon thee a father's blessing, for thee, and thy children after thee, and even thy children's children, down to the end of time; for thou are the fruit of my loins, and I am a descendant of Joseph, therefore I pronounce the blessings of my fathers upon thee, and thou shalt be numbered in the covenant seed. Thou hast seen affliction, my son, and the hand of the Lord has been upon thee, that thou mightest be chastened, even in thy youth, that thou mayest learn to be obedient to his commands, and faithful to his precepts. Thou hast greatly desired to see thy father's family redeemed from trouble, and from the power and dominion of those who oppress them. Verily this was a good desire, but thou hast not always known the Lord. Now, my son, thou hast received the ministry and been called to preach the gospel. The Lord has chosen thee for a great work, and if thou art faithful he will send thee to distant lands and in heathen lands thou shalt lift up thy voice and call men to repentance. The hand of the angel of God shall lift thee up, and though thou pass through the deep, and in the midst of deep waters the right hand of thy redeemer will be extended and he will bear thee off victorious; and thou shalt be preserved. Therefore settle it in thy mind, remember when thou art far away, upon the barren wastes of the desert, that in thy youth the Lord gave thee this promise: if thou art faithful, thou shalt return to the society of thy friends and the embrace of thy family. The Lord thy God shall make thee like a very fruitful garden which grew by the side of pure waters. In due time thou shalt accomplish thy mission, and thy faithfulness shall be spoken of by the wise and the prudent. Thou shalt be blessed with many children, and they shall rise up to avenge the people of the Lord on their enemies: thou shalt be made equal with thy brethren, and thy seed with their seed. Thou shalt have an inheritance in Zion, and thy children after thee; when the Lord gathers up the scattered remnants of his people, and calls his elect from the four winds. Turn, my son, thy joy shall be full, for thou shalt stand in the presence of thy redeemer and receive his approbation; therefore give heed to the words of thy father, for though the mountains be removed and the hills melt, the word of the Lord will endure and his promise be fulfilled; and thou shalt be mighty in the earth, for thou shalt be filled with the treasures of wisdom, understanding the hidden things of the kingdom of thy God; yea, thy life shall be precious in his sight, thy memory shall be sweet, and thou shalt be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb.   AMEN.
                                          (Signed)       JOSEPH SMITH, Sen.

    Joseph says in his blessing that brother William shall neglect the more weighty matters until his soul should be bowed down in sorrow. This has been literally fulfilled, and when he was so bowed down in sorrow, he called on the name of his God and found forgiveness and the Lord commanded him to arise and put on his whole armor, &c., endowed him with power from on high, according to the prediction and

    [ 20 ]

    contained in the blessing given by Joseph. Father Smith, the Patriarch, says, in his blessing on the head of President William Smith: -- "thou shalt be made equal with thy brethren (Joseph and Hyrum) and thy seed with their seed." Brethren, read these blessings carefully, and then enquire within yourselves, if these blessings can ever be fulfilled, unless brother William stands at the head of the church. What! be endowed with power from on high; be made equal with his brothers Hyrum the Patriarch over the whole church, and Joseph the First President, Prophet, Seer, Revelator and Translator of the church; yet not be the Patriarch, First President, Prophet, Seer, Revelator and Translator, over the church, even as they were! What strange ideas some men have!! Impossible! impossible!! impossible!!! Men may reason as they choose, but facts stand for themselves. Men may set up their own wills in opposition to the decrees, purposes, plans, economy, and will of Jehovah, and become religiously, and extremely worldly wise; but the Lord will destroy them when he comes; nor will their declaration of having cast out devils and having done many wonderful works in his name, save them! O! how frail are men! How they suffer their wills and carnal propensities to lead them from truth and righteousness! Now brethren, having shown unto you as well as we could in this brief epistle, where the true Patriarch and First President, and all other authorities of the true Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are, we exhort you, even you who have been led astray from the right way by the cunning craftiness of men, and the subtility of the devil which have bewitched you, in a dark hour, to follow after Brigham Young, James Collins Brewster, James J. Strang, or other impostors, to return and do your first works over again, and enter into the true fold of Christ with all humility and thankfulness of heart, and the Lord will renew in your hearts that burning spirit in which you once rejoiced, and again shall ye speak in tongues and prophecy; yea, again enjoy all the gifts and blessings of the Gospel.

    And now, Brethren, a few words to you, even to you who have not joined with any of those false prophets and impostors who have drawn off factions from the church, but have been quietly waiting for the true light to shine, that ye might have peace and rest to your weary and patient souls. Cheer up brethren, for the day star hath now arisen, the morning light is appearing, and the God of all truth and grace is again pouring out his Holy Spirit as formerly and as in times past; and old fashioned Mormonism is stemming the current as bravely as ever. Praise be to God. Brethren; ye who were ordained unto the ministry under Joseph's and Hyrum's administration, and have lived so as to retain your Priesthood, gurd on your armors, and preach the Gospel to this wicked generation, and fear not, and the grace of God will help you, and ye shall reap an abundant harvest, if ye faint not.

    Now Brethren, you who know the true light, live soberly, righteously, and justly in this present world, continually looking for the glorious appearing of the Great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, who will give to every man according to his works. Ye know the truth and the truth hath made you free, continue in the truth and the very God of peace be with you, and keep you by his grace unto the perfect day. O! ye High Priests, Elders, and even all who are

    [ 21 ]

    preaching the true light; and who have been ordained and are idle servants, if there be any such. Ye can in all confidence testify to this generation that Brother William Smith is the true successor of his brothers Hyrum and Joseph Smith; this ye know by the law and the testimony, even the testimony of God, and ye know that he is the one ordained and chosen of God to stand in that right he inherits from his ancestors -- even our brother William Smith, the Patriarch, First President, &c., a man like unto Joseph and Hyrum his Elder brothers, a man filled with wisdom, knowledge, understanding, humility, meekness, charity, kindness, forbearance, chastity, virtue, peace, easy to be entreated, merciful, suffering anything and all things for the cause of Christ, patient in adversity, moderate and humble in prosperity, prayerful and pious at all times, endowed with mighty faith, filled with the Holy Ghost, and blessed with the Spirit of Revelation, bringing forth the word of the Lord for the redemption of Zion, restoration of Israel and salvation of the Gentiles. Seeing, dear brethren, that the Church is blessed with a Patriarch and First President in the person of our loved William Smith, by the grace mercy and love of our Heavenly Father, distinguished by all these good graces, and every other necessary virtue and good quality; let us lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and run the race with patience that is set before us, bearing the cross and despising the shame, let us fight manfully the good the good fight of faith, contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the Saints.

    "Brethren -- shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward, and not backward! Courage, brethren, and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to King Emanuel, who hath ordained before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prisons; for the prisoners shall go free."
    "For we are the true born sons of Zion, none with us they can compare."
    We teach the truths given by Joseph, "the bright and glorious" Mormon Star:
    For we are the true born sons of Zion.
    The false Prophets Brigham Young, Jim J. Strang, and other minor impostors, apostates and knaves, minions of the devil, partakers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places, cease not to follow the spirit of that evil one who rules in them, in propagating lies and slanders against President William Smith; wicked ungodly wretches; they are foaming out their own shame. We are sorry for them. Why do they choose death and the pains of hell to life and immortal felicity!

    There is a stake or place of gathering at Palestine grove, rocky ford of the inlet, near Shelbourn, Lee County, Illinois. This is a beautiful, healthy situation; the gentiles are very friendly; the brethren own considerable land at this stake. The First President, Spokesman, and President Aaron Hook and two of the Twelve reside here; two of the Twelve reside at Voree, Wisc., but will, as soon as convenient, remove to this place. The other eight of the Twelve reside in the Cordilleras. Brethren are invited to gather to this stake as fast as the way opens before them. Either the First President, Spokesman, or President A. Hook, (unless in cases of absolute necessity,)

    [ 22 ]

    will be at this stake at all times. The First President and Spokesman intend visiting President Lyman Wight and the Saints with him, at the Cordilleras, as soon as they are permitted to do so.

    The Annual Conference will commence on the 6th day of April, A. D. 1851, at Palestine stake (grove,) Lee County, Illinois. The Quorum of Twelve Apostles are confidently expected to be present, and perhaps, brother Lyman Wight will be present. Brethren, do not neglect attending the conference; be sure ye elders of Israel to attend. (There is now gathered with President Wight, perhaps between 500 and 1000 families.)

    Extracts from a Letter written from President Lyman Wight to
    Mother Smith, the First President's Mother:

    "MOTHER SMITH: -- "I received a copy of a letter last evening, written by your son, William, and handed me from William P. Eldridge in answer to a letter written by Almon Babbit and others. The answer was sweet to my taste, and the most consoling that I have had for many years." * * * * "Mother Smith: -- I am well aware of the tribulations you had in losing your eldest son, about the time that Joseph, in his infancy, was striving to bring forth salvation for this, the seventh and last dispensation of God on Earth. Then your companion of seventy years of age, one of the greatest Patriarchs that ever lived on the face of the Earth. You have since, in an hour, been deprived of your youngest son by a mortal disease. Not more than two years from that time you were deprived of Joseph, the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of this dispensation, and Hyrum who was the Patriarch under his father's hands. In a few weeks after that you were deprived of Samuel, one of the most noble sons among the children of men. Alas! shall I say in the space of a few years, is it possible that you were deprived of sons the most noble of all the Earth, and left with one son and three daughters to mourn the loss of five of the most affectionate sons that were ever born of a woman. And after all, Mother Smith, you have been asked to turn the last son you have on earth, who was appointed an apostle of Joseph, who is the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, (and Translator) of the last dispensation of God on Earth, from your door and forbid him a home. From whom was you asked to do this; from aspirants from monarchs, or from the most abusive of all men on earth? * * * Orson Hyde, a poor little pusillanimous, know-nothing, has endeavored to write largely against me. Who is Orson Hyde? He is a man whom Joseph sent with John Gould to Independence to see about our internal affairs. They stopped with us a day or two when the mob broke out. Orson Hyde immediately repaired to a boat at the Independence landing, three miles from Independence, where we had concentrated to meet the mob. * * * He wrote an inflammatory letter concerning a heavy fight having taken place, in which he thought there was two or three hundred killed, when there had not been a gun fired on either side. * * * When did we next hear from Orson Hyde? It was when Tom B. March had written a letter to the Governor of Missouri, informing him that the Mormons were hacking, hewing and destroying everything before them, burning houses and turning the inhabitants out of doors, which was a lie!" "Where is Orson Hyde now? In the eastern States

    [ 23 ]

    begging coppers from dead negroes' eyes to support his claim of infamous rascality, while he pretends to be a Saint of the Most High God, and reproaching the Smith family who have most gloriously and triumphantly brought forth the seventh and last dispensation of God on earth for the salvation of the human family."  *  *  * To my son Orange. (Now one of the Twelve Apostles) I glory in your spirit to do the will of God on earth, never cease to do his will, neither cease to labor with the Smith family, as long as there is one remaining on the face of the earth."

    Extracts of a letter from President Lyman Wight to
    President William Smith.

    "No, no. Brother William -- I was never called to sit in judgment upon your head; but as the survivor of the seven Patriarchs, it is my duty and privilege, to seek for the whisperings of the spirit of eternal truth at your hand; and as Patriarch, to seek for your blessings upon my head, that I may faithfully and carefully perform my mission, given to me by your ever and ever to be remembered brothers, Joseph and Hyrum."  *  *  * "You say that the Frontier Guardian has an article in it, (saying) that I am cut off. I would ask from what? from the Brighamites? This can never be, for I here swear in the presence of Almighty God, Joseph Smith and all holy men, that I never belonged to them; neither did I ever have any thing to do with them, directly or indirectly. I can say they have spoken most disrespectfully of my character than I would wish any man to do, even by indicating that I ever belonged to them. I had much rather they had published me a liar, a thief, and murderer, to have accomplished my end in gaining some high seat, to which I had unlawfully aspired, than to have intimated that I ever belonged to such a clan."  *  *  * "Many were the times that brother Joseph said, while we were stretched upon a solid mass of hewn timber in the solitary dungeon, bound ankle to ankle, and arm to arm, in a strong, firm chain, so should we never be separated in the principles of the pure love of Christ Jesus, our Lord. And in vain would it be for these heaven-daring, hell-deserving, and damnable, loathsome, wretches of hell, ever to separate me from that bond of love, by cutting me off from the Brighamite hellites, nor from that pure and unfeigned love that I have for the whole Smith family; and I deeply regret that uncles John and Asahel, and their posterity, have run greedily after Brigham, and thereby dishonored their most Noble brother, and injured the character of that martyred Prophet, their nephew, and plunged themselves into the vortex of delusion; dishonored the lineal priesthood, submitted themselves to a reign of unrighteousness, tolerated the most intolerant of all principals under heaven; and I pray God in his infinite wisdom, that they may vomit out their own shame, purge out their damnable and loathsome principles of Brighamism, and return from that hellish dynasty, having their stomachs cleansed, feed on angels food, and sing the song of deliverance forever."

    Brethren, may the grace of God be with you. Amen.

    [ 24 ]


    1. Come ye Saints with me rejoice,
    Who have made the Lord your choice,
    Who have bid this world farewell,
    Determined with the Saints to dwell,
    Then when the Savior comes again,
    With Saints we値l rise, with him we値l reign.

    2. Let the wicked scoff and frown,
    In God痴 name we値l still go on,
    Till our persecutors all
    Beneath His wrath and judgments fall;
    Then when the Savior comes again,
    With Saints we値l rise, with him we値l reign.

    3. Then let us all united be,
    In time and in eternity,
    A band of Brothers Sisters too,
    The righteous way we will pursue;
    Then when the Savior comes again,
    With Saints we値l rise, with him we値l reign.

    4. Faithful be a few more years,
    Bid sorrow flee, dry up your tears,
    Zion will arise and shine,
    In majesty and truth divine;
    Then when the Savior comes again,
    With Saints we値l rise, with him we値l reign.

    5. Prophet William is the man,
    The Elijah of the Gospel plan,
    Like as Joseph who was slain,
    The faith of Saints remains the same;
    Then when the Savior comes again,
    With Saints we値l rise, with him we値l reign.

    6. With our Prophets we will meet,
    And our joys will be complete;
    When the earth shall be restored,
    We値l reign with martyrs of our Lord;
    Then when the Prophet comes again,
    With Saints we値l rise, with him we値l reign.

    PRESIDENT WILLIAM SMITH was ordained by his brother JOSEPH SMITH.

    Previous to President William Smith's leaving Nauvoo, on his mission to the East, for the last time during the earthly existence of his brothers, President Joseph Smith ordained him a Prophet, Seer, Revelator and Translator, and then informed him that he had all the necessary ordinations to lead the church, (in his time,) then leaped, smote his feet together, and observed that it was done; in a few days Brother William started on his mission and saw his Brothers no more. He returned to Nauvoo in about a year after they were murdered.

    THE ELIJAH. -- by W. S.

    1. The Prophet Elijah at last has appeared,
    With gifts, and with blessings, which Saints have rever壇,
    His plan of redemption in fulness is given,
    With power to save both the dead and the living.

    2. The mystery of God begins now to unfold,
    As declar壇 by the Prophets and Apostles of old;
    While 池apt in the vision of glory they see,
    The prison doors open, the captives go free.

    3. With the keys of this ministry, Elias was sent,
    On a mission of mercy, that all might repent,
    Endow壇 with the same spirit the Prophet has come.
    Baptising for the fathers that all may be one.

    4. Glad tidings of great joy, a great revelation,
    To preach壇 to the kindred of every nation,
    For the sick, the poor, the aged, and despis壇,
    This plan of redemption, our Savior devis壇.

    5. The gifts of the gospel, God痴 order and plan,
    Will now be restor壇 to His church again;
    For such is the power, the keys are revealing,
    That the doom of this world, Elijah is sealing.

    [ 25 ]


    1. Oh may, I always serve my God,
    Walk in His holy way,
    Revere His name, do what is good,
    Live for Him day by day.
    Jesus, my Lord, always the same,
    Thy grace is all my boast,
    Preserve, O Lord, my soul from shame,
    Nor let my hopes be lost.

    2. Thy servant, Lord, endow with power,
    To speak Thy truth and love;
    Oh! give him grace for every hour,
    To tell of things above;
    Oh! spread Thy kingdom here below,
    Let Zion quickly shine,
    Thy Holy Spirit now bestow
    For truly we are Thine.

    3. Hast Thou not promised good to us?
    Oh! keep us by Thy grace,
    The arm of flesh we cannot trust;
    But seek Thy glorious face.
    Thy Seer, O Lord, preserve his life,
    To lead Thy church aright,
    From wicked men, with malice rife,
    Walking in Sin痴 dark night.

    4. His Counselors, O Lord, keep clean,
    With wisdom fill their mind,
    Such light on earth was never seen,
    Let glory through them shine.
    Uphold Thy Spokesman through Thy love,
    To expound Thy word aright,
    With power Divine, sent from above,
    Fill him with Heavenly light.

    5. The Twelve Apostles make a flame,
    As minist池ing spirits are,
    To bear abroad Thy Holy name,
    Thy sacred truths declare.
    Make them Lions in Thy cause,
    Like thunder bolts in power,
    To demonstrate Thy Holy Laws,
    The glories of this hour.

    6. The High Priesthood, fill with holy love,
    Help them preside in grace.
    Holy Ghost, sent from above,
    Fill them with power and peace,
    Help them defend Elijah痴 God,
    Them grace and wisdom show,
    Keep Thou them safe in all that痴 good,
    As they the trumpet blow.

    7. The Bishops, Lord, they are Thy own,
    To execute Thy will.
    God痴 seed in them, Thyself hast sewn,
    They cannot now be still.
    Fill them with power and grace divine,
    Love, peace, devotion too,
    O, may they rise, in glory shine,
    They致e bid this world adieu.

    8. The Seventies are Thy chosen bands,
    To travel o弾r the earth;
    To preach the truth in distant lands,
    And call the world from mirth.
    Inspire them with the Holy Ghost,
    Fill them with holy zeal.
    Let not their works in Thee by lost,
    Thou are their only weal.

    9. The Elders, Priests, and Teachers, too,
    And Deacons, are Thy own;
    O! may their members not be few,
    The Truth in them is sewn.
    Grace, truth, and peace, be their regard,
    The Spirit to them is given,
    And crowns celestial their reward,
    When they arrive in Heaven.

    10. Thy Church, Thy Zion, Oh, my God,
    The Savior of my race,
    Show them the path the fathers trod,
    And save them by Thy grace.
    Thou art the God in whom we trust,
    Like Abraham of yore,
    Thou art our Christ, and Thee we must,
    And Thee we will adore.

    11. The Seer, William, God doth call,
    His brothers to succeed,
    He welcomes home good Mormons all,
    He痴 of the promised seed.
    Come Zion痴 children, come away,
    The Spirit bids you come.
    And live for Jesus day by day,
    Say, will you longer roam?

    12. Glory to God, e弾n Joseph痴 God,
    And Jesus Christ His Son;
    We値l praise them while on earth we [daily] plod,
    Holy Spirit three in one,
    Thy praises sound from every tongue
    Forever may they ring,
    We'll complete the work He has begun,
    Then should not Zion sing!

    [ 26 ]

    The following verses were composed by the Apostle Ira J. Patten, as a farewell to President William Smith, when he deported to Palestine stake at the conclusion of the Conference in Newark Township, Rock County, Wisc., in Feb., 1851:

    1. Farewell Brother William,
    Farewell for a while,
    We part with reluctance,
    We値l meet with a smile.
    May Jehovah protect you,
    Wherever you go,
    Preserve you from evil,
    From sorrow and woe!

    2. With your Priesthood from Heaven,
    From God it was sent,
    Through the loins of your father,
    By lineal descent,
    'Tis the great link connecting,
    The Earth with the Heaven;
    Given great joy and gladness,
    To dead and the living!

    3. In the great war in Heaven,
    'Tis plain to my mind,
    Your father, six brothers,
    All straight in a line;
    In defense of King Jesus,
    All valiantly stood,
    Your watchword was order,
    Through the Priesthood of God.

    4. For the last dispensation,
    In the fulness of times,
    When the glory of Jesus,
    Refulgently shines.
    This Priesthood is given,
    The war is began,
    King Jesus will conquer,
    We believe it. Amen.

    [ 27 ]


    [ 28 ]

    B Y   T H E   A P O S T L E

    J A S O N   W.   B R I G G S.
        O Thou, First, Great Cause,
    From whom emanates,
    All creations and their laws;
    To whom this epic relates. 
        *    *    *    *    *    *
    Intelligence exists and must remain
    In every possible degree.
    From the nature of the elements 
    Hence the divers talents given,
    For there was an epoch when
    Was found in a common mass:
    And in its essence was
    One property, whose tendency was
    To appropriate to itself
    Those other properties of intelligence
    And thus a nucleus was form'd,
    From which sprang personalities
    Of spirit substance, to act
    In independent spheres:
    Thus came a race
    Of spiritual embodiments,
    Jealous of their identity,
    Active according to the 
    Of the excellent quality
    Found in their combination.
    It must the follow of course,
    That among the varieties
    There are pre-eminences:
    Among excellences
    There must be one most excellent
    Who being superior, presides o'er
        all the rest;
    Him we call God, who taking to 
    Two excellent Spirits
    Named them sons of the morning,
    And made them counsellors
    In the presidency of all worlds.
    After which, begetting himself a Son,
    The legal heir received a tabernacle,
    And became a spokesman for his
    Which two, to our system are
    The only wise God, a union manifest
    By the Holy Ghost, which is the
        mind of both!
    This exaltation of the Son
    Those Counsellors beheld:
    And one of them whose name was
    Demurred, and forthwith rebell'd
    Against this first decree
    Of the Council of the Gods.
    Who establish'd the everlasting order
    Of right by lineage
    And said, I (instead of the son)
    Will ascend and be like the Most 
    Claiming by appointment to
    The lineal heir, and thus destroy
    The harmony of Heaven!
    At this direful epoch
    All eternity was pain'd,
    And its terrific Myriads
    Held their breath in doubt,
    Aw'd by the magnitude
    Of the threatn'd evil.
    A moody silence, and dread suspense
    Threw its sable gloom
    O'er all the shining throng,
    While the Council sat.
    But hark, the sentence of the Highest
    Salutes their list'ning ears,
    To banish the rebels from his sight;
    And when the Son suddues all else,
    Then Lucifer himself, and all that
        follow him,
    Shall feel his power, and be subdued.


    Transcriber's Comments

    Elder William Smith
    (The 1851 Epistle's Ghost-Writer?)

    William Smith's nephew, Joseph Smith III, made a tentative identification of Joseph Wood, Esq. as being one of the lawyers who facilitated his father's release when Joseph Smith, Jr. was taken into custody at Palestine Grove, Lee Co., Illinois in 1843. This guess was almost certainly incorrect, since the "Esquire Wood" practicing law at that time at Dixon, in Lee county, was Lorenzo Wood. See the mention of Lorenzo's employment by the Illinois Central Railroad, in the Dixon Telegraph of Oct. 30, 1852.

    Joseph Wood was evidently a practicing polygamist -- or, at least a Mormon leader who engaged in the casual sexual affairs, a practice which in those days was termed "spiritual wifery," "the blessings of Jacob," or conforming to the "celestial law." In a latter dated "Palestine Stake of Zion," Dec. 25, 1851 "President" William Smith wrote:
    No priesthood is taken from Hyrum's children; it is the office of spokesman conferred on Br. Wood. Jason makes another brush at the order, by placing the spokesman on the right hand of the Father. Will Jason tell us where Brother Wood (Joseph Wood) will be seated after his work is done? And as to certain parts of that celestial law, it was referred to future generations. If Brother Wood has done wrong, Jason should have given him the extent of the rule, if he repents.

    It is doubtful that William Smith cared much about Joseph Wood's seductions of female members, or that either man saw repentance for such affairs as anything more than a means by which to pacify objecting members of William's little sect. As late as the spring of 1853 William was still offering cynical apologies for Elder Wood's promiscuous "exalting" of certain female members:
    Now brother W[ood] has intended until lately to make Sister C____ one of his Queens, but it is doubtful in my mind whether he ever told her so or not; he seldom tells when he intends to exalt those whom he desires exalting until he does so; but I know that he holds Sister C____ in high estimation. I would advise her to seek a reconciliation. If she would write to him a letter acknowledging her error, he is very lenient and will forgive her.

    The Mormon splinter group leader James J. Strang made a passing mention of William Smith and Joseph Wood, in his Beaver Island, Michigan Northern Islander of July 31, 1851:
    But what of the pamphlet? It is entitled "Epistle of the Twelve," but written by J. Wood, not one of the Twelve. I suppose, however, that Wood is spokesman for the Twelve also. If so, it is a good thing, for some of them, being dead, are not able to speak for themselves. And others, who are living, never speak of William, only by declaring they have no connection with him. -- And the company which, "perhaps," consists of from 500 to 1,000 families, simply consists of about 150 persons; and they are preparing to move to Jackson county, Missouri; and, further, that the man and woman whom William sent there came nigh breaking up their settlement, and they did not fellowship them.

    But Wood, yes, even Jo. Wood, who is counsellor for the said Wm. Smith, and also prophet, seer and revelator, holding the keys of the ministry equal and jointly with the said Wm. Smith (only Jo. acts without counsellors and William with,) even Joseph Wood...

    In order to identify the Joseph Wood who associated himself with William Smith during the early 1850s, it is useful to consult page 88 of H. H. Hill's 1881 History of Lee County:
    Heresy. -- Lee county has been visited by religious heresy and fanaticism under the banner of Mormonism. After the murder of the great Mormon high priest, Joe Smith, his brother, William Smith, with a small band of followers, took up their residence in Lee county, about twelve miles south of Dixon, where they kept up their organization and meetings for some time. -- At the April term of circuit court in 1853, on the trial of the application of William Smith for a divorce, the jury found a verdict for the lady. -- The following is part of a letter showing the " mind of the Lord" as revealed to his servant William Smith:

    "Behold, verily, this is the mind of the Lord concerning those females who have received the priesthood by being sealed to my servants William Smith and Joseph Wood [for many years a lawyer at Paw Paw, this county], and have been washed, anointed and ordained under their hands, having been received into the priestess' lodge having taken the covenant thereof; if they, or either of them, shall fall, or turn altogether therefrom, she or they shall be excluded therefrom and from my church also, and shall not come forth in the resurrection of the just. * * *

    "Therefore, I, Jesus Christ, who am your Father and God, say unto you, if your wives be treacherous and sin against you and repent not, I will reveal it unto you. Therefore confide in me, and I will be your God and you shall be my servants. Amen.   Yours truly, William Smith."

    It is difficult to determine just which of the stated "many years" were the years that Joseph Wood was "a lawyer at Paw Paw," in what is now Lee county's Wyoming township. His name can be found on the 1855 Illinois state census list for Paw Paw, but not on the 1850 or 1860 federal lists for that place. During the 1840s and 1850s there was a notable tavern at Paw Paw crossroads called the "Wirick House," which was operated by a Mormon named Jacob Wirick. His establishment there caused the crossroads to be called "Mormon Corners" by the local folk. It is probable that Joseph Wood lived in close proximity to the Wirick family, for a few years between 1851 and 1859.

    (under contruction)

    Back to top of this page.

    The Vault   |   The Bookshelf   |   Spalding Library   |   Mormon Classics   |   Newspapers

    last updated: June 22, 2012