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Lucy Mack Smith on the Organization of the Church


ABOUT the first of April of the same year in which the Book of Mormon was published, Joseph came again from Pennsylvania, preached to us several times. My husband and Martin Harris were baptized. When Mr. Smith came out of the water, Joseph stood upon the shore, and taking his father by the hand, he exclaimed, with tears of joy, "Praise to my God! that I lived to see my own father baptized into the true Church of Jesus Christ!" On April 6, 1830, the Church was organized.

Shortly after this, my sons were all ordained to the ministry, even Don Carlos, who was but fourteen years of age. Samuel was directed to take a number of the Books of Mormon, and go on a mission to Livonia, to preach, and make sale of the books, if possible. Whilst he was making preparations to go on this mission, Miss Almira Mack arrived in Manchester from Pontiac. This young woman was a daughter of my brother, Stephen Mack, whose history I have already given. She received the Gospel as soon as she heard it, and was baptized immediately, and has ever since remained a faithful member of the Church.

On the thirtieth of June, Samuel started on the mission to which he had been set apart by Joseph, and in traveling twenty-five miles, which was his first day's journey, he stopped at a number of places in order to sell his books, but was turned out of doors as soon as he declared his principles. When evening came on, he was faint and almost discouraged, but coming to an inn, which was surrounded with every appearance of plenty, he called to see if the landlord would buy one of his books. On going in, Samuel enquired of him, if he did not wish to purchase a history of the origin of the Indians.

"I do not know," replied the host; "how did you get hold of it?"

"It was translated," rejoined Samuel, "by my brother, from some gold plates that he found buried in the earth."

"You liar!" cried the landlord, "get out of my house—you shan't stay one minute with your books."

Samuel was sick at heart, for this was the fifth time he had been turned out of doors that day. He left the house, and traveled a short distance, and washed his feet in a small brook, as a testimony against the man. He then proceeded five miles further on his journey, and seeing an apple tree a short distance from the road, he concluded to pass the night under it; and here he lay all night upon the cold, damp ground. In the morning, he arose from his comfortless bed, and observing a small cottage at no great distance, he drew near, hoping to get a little refreshment. The only inmate was a widow, who seemed very poor. He asked her for food, relating the story of his former treatment. She prepared him victuals, and, after eating, he explained to her the history of the Book of Mormon. She listened attentively, and believed all that he told her, but, in consequence of her poverty, she was unable to purchase one of the books. He presented her with one, and proceeded to Bloomington, which was eight miles further. Here he stopped at the house of John P. Greene, who was a Methodist preacher, and was at that time about starting on a preaching mission. He, like the others, did not wish to make a purchase of what he considered at that time to be a nonsensical fable, however, he said that he would take a subscription paper, and, if he found anyone on his route who was disposed to purchase, he would take his name, and in two weeks, Samuel might call again, and he would let him know what the prospect was of selling. After making this arrangement, Samuel left one of his books with him, and returned home. At the time appointed, Samuel started again for the Rev. John P. Greene's, in order to learn the success which this gentleman had met with in finding sale for the Book of Mormon. This time, Mr. Smith, and myself accompanied him, and it was our intention to have passed near the tavern, where Samuel was so abusively treated a fortnight previous, but just before we came to the house, a sign of small-pox intercepted us. We turned aside, and meeting a citizen of the place, we enquired of him, to what extent this disease prevailed. He answered, that the tavern keeper and two of his family had died with it not long since, but he did not know that any one else had caught the disease, and that it was brought into the neighborhood by a traveler, who stopped at the tavern over night.

This is a specimen of the peculiar disposition of some individuals, who would sacrifice their soul's salvation rather than give a Saint of God a meal of victuals. According to the word of God, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than for such persons.

We arrived at Esquire Beaman's, in Livonia, that night. The next morning Samuel took the road to Mr. Greene's, and, finding that he had made no sale of the books, we returned home the following day.

pp. 151-153


IN THE summer after the Church was organized, my husband set out, with Don Carlos, to visit his father, Asael Smith. After a tedious journey, they arrived at the house of John Smith, my husband's brother. His wife Clarissa had never before seen my husband, but as soon as he entered, she exclaimed, "There, Mr. Smith, is your brother Joseph." John, turning suddenly, cried out, "Joseph, is this you?"

"It is I," said Joseph; "is my father yet alive? I have come to see him once more, before he dies."

For a particular account of this visit, I shall give my readers an extract from brother John Smith's journal. He writes as follows:

"The next morning after brother Joseph arrived, we set out together for Stockholm to see our father, who was living at that place with our brother Silas. We arrived about dark at the house of my brother Jesse, who was absent with his wife. The children informed us that their parents were with our father, who was supposed to be dying. We hastened without delay to the house of brother Silas, and upon arriving there, were told that father was just recovering from a severe fit, and, as it was not considered advisable to let him or mother know that Joseph was there, we went to spend the night with brother Jesse.

"As soon as we were settled, brothers Jesse and Joseph entered into conversation respecting their families. Joseph briefly related the history of his family, the death of Alvin, etc. He then began to speak of the discovery and translation of the Book of Mormon. At this Jesse grew very angry, and exclaimed, 'If you say another word about that Book of Mormon, you shall not stay a minute longer in my house, and if I can't get you out any other way, I will hew you down with my broad axe.'

"We had always been accustomed to being treated with much harshness by our brother, but he had never carried it to so great an extent before. However, we spent the night with him, and the next morning visited our aged parents. They were overjoyed to see Joseph, for he had been absent from them so long, that they had been fearful of never beholding his face again in the flesh.

"After the usual salutations, enquiries, and explanations, the subject of the Book of Mormon was introduced. Father received with gladness that which Joseph communicated; and remarked, that he had always expected that something would appear to make known the true Gospel.

"In a few moments brother Jesse came in, and on hearing that the subject of our conversation was the Book of Mormon, his wrath rose as high as it did the night before. 'My father's mind,' said Jesse, 'is weak; and I will not have it corrupted with such blasphemous stuff, so just shut up your heads.' Brother Joseph reasoned mildly with him, but to no purpose. Brother Silas then said, 'Jesse, our brother has come to make us a visit, and I am glad to see him, and am willing he should talk as he pleases in my house.' Jesse replied in so insulting a manner, and continued to talk so abusively, that Silas was under the necessity of requesting him to leave the house.

"After this, Brother Joseph proceeded in conversation, and father seemed to be pleased with every word which he said. But I must confess that I was too pious, at that time, to believe one word of it.

"I returned home next day, leaving Joseph with my father. Soon after which Jesse came to my house and informed me that all my brothers were coming to make me a visit, 'and as true as you live,' said he, 'they all believe that cursed Mormon book, every word of it, and they are setting a trap for you, to make you believe it.'

"I thanked him for taking so much trouble upon himself, to inform me that my brothers were coming to see me, but told him that I considered myself amply able to judge for myself in matters of religion. 'I know,' he replied, 'that you are a pretty good judge of such things, but I tell you that they are as wary as the devil. And I want you to go with me and see our sister Susan and sister-in-law Fanny, and we will bar their minds against Joseph's influence.'

"We accordingly visited them, and conversed upon the subject as we thought proper, and requested them to be at my house the next day.

"My brothers arrived according to previous arrangement, and Jesse, who came also, was very careful to hear every word which passed among us, and would not allow one word to be said about the Book of Mormon in his presence. They agreed that night to visit our sisters the following day, and as we were about leaving, brother Asael took me aside and said, 'Now, John, I want you to have some conversation with Joseph, but if you do, you must cheat it out of Jesse. And if you wish, I can work the card for you.'

"I told him that I would be glad to have a talk with Joseph alone, if I could get an opportunity.

"'Well,' replied Asael, 'I will take a certain number in my carriage, and Silas will take the rest, and you may bring out a horse for Joseph to ride, but when we are out of sight, take the horse back to the stable again, and keep Joseph over night.'

"I did as Asael advised, and that evening Joseph explained to me the principles of 'Mormonism,' the truth of which I have never since denied.

"The next morning, we (Joseph and myself) went to our sisters, where we met our brothers. Jesse censured me very sharply for keeping Joseph over night-"In the evening, when we were about to separate, I agreed to take Joseph in my wagon twenty miles on his journey the next day. Jesse rode home with me that evening, leaving Joseph with our sisters. As Joseph did not expect to see Jesse again, when we were about starting, Joseph gave Jesse his hand in a pleasant, affectionate manner, and said, 'Farewell, brother Jesse.' 'Farewell, Jo, forever,' replied Jesse, in a surly tone.

"'I am afraid,' returned Joseph, in a kind, but solemn manner, 'it will be forever, unless you repent.'

"This was too much for even Jesse's obdurate heart. He melted into tears; however, he made no reply, nor ever mentioned the circumstance afterwards.

"I took my brother twenty miles on his journey the next day, as I had agreed. Before he left me, he requested me to promise him that I would read a Book of Mormon, which he had given me, and even should I not believe it, that I would not condemn it; 'for,' said he, 'if you do not condemn it, you shall have a testimony of its truth.' I fulfilled my promise, and thus proved his testimony to be true."

Just before my husband's return, as Joseph was about commencing a discourse one Sunday morning, Parley P. Pratt came in, very much fatigued. He had heard of us at considerable distance, and had traveled very fast, in order to get there by meeting time, as he wished to hear what we had to say, that he might be prepared to show us our error. But when Joseph had finished his discourse, Mr. Pratt arose, and expressed his hearty concurrence in every sentiment advanced. The following day he was baptized and ordained. In a few days he set off for Canaan, N. Y., where his brother Orson resided, whom he baptized on the nineteenth of September, 1830.

After Joseph ordained Parley, he went home again to Pennsylvania, for he was only in Manchester on business. About this time his trouble commenced at Colesville with the mob, who served a writ upon him, and dragged him from the desk as he was about taking his text to preach. But as a relation of this affair is given in his history, I shall mention only one circumstance pertaining to it, for which I am dependent upon Esquire Reid, Joseph's counsel in the case, and I shall relate it as near in his own words as my memory will admit:

"I was so busy at that time, when Mr. Smith sent for me, that it was almost impossible for me to attend the case, and never having seen Mr. Smith, I determined to decline going. But soon after coming to this conclusion, I thought I heard someone say to me, 'You must go, and deliver the Lord's Anointed!' Supposing it was the man who came after me, I replied, 'The Lord's Anointed? What do you mean by the Lord's Anointed?' He was surprised at being accosted in this manner, and replied, 'What do you mean, sir? I said nothing about the Lord's Anointed.' I was convinced that he told the truth, for these few words filled my mind with peculiar feelings, such as I had never before experienced; and I immediately hastened to the place of trial. Whilst I was engaged in the case, these emotions increased, and when I came to speak upon it, I was inspired with an eloquence which was altogether new to me, and which was overpowering and irresistible. I succeeded, as I expected, in obtaining the prisoner's discharge. This the more enraged the adverse party, and I soon discovered that Mr. Smith was liable to abuse from them, should he not make his escape. The most of them being fond of liquor, I invited them into another room to drink, and thus succeeded in attracting their attention until Mr. Smith was beyond their reach. I knew not where he went, but I was satisfied that he was out of their hands."

Since this circumstance occurred, until this day, Mr. Reid has been a faithful friend to Joseph, although he has never attached himself to the Church.

After escaping the hands of the mob, Joseph traveled till daybreak the next morning, before he ventured to ask for victuals, although he had taken nothing save a small crust of bread, for two days. About daybreak he arrived at the house of one of his wife's sisters, where he found Emma, who had suffered great anxiety about him since his first arrest. They returned home together, and immediately afterwards Joseph received a commandment by revelation to move his family to Waterloo.

We had at this time just completed a house, which Joseph had built on a small farm, that he had purchased of his father-in-law; however, he locked up his house with his furniture in it, and repaired with Emma, immediately to Manchester. About the time of his arrival at our house, Hyrum had settled up his business, for the purpose of being at liberty to do whatever the Lord required of him, and he requested Joseph to ask the Lord for a revelation concerning the matter. The answer given was, that he should take a bed, his family, and what clothing he needed for them, and go straightway to Colesville, for his enemies were combining in secret chambers to take away his life. At the same time, Mr. Smith received a commandment to go forthwith to Waterloo and prepare a place for his family, as our enemies also sought his destruction in the neighborhood in which we then resided, but in Waterloo he should find favor in the eyes of the people. The next day, by ten o'clock, Hyrum was on his journey. Joseph and Emma left for Macedon, and William went away from home in another direction, on business. Samuel was absent on a third mission to Livonia, for which he had set out on the first of October, soon after the arrival of my husband and Don Carlos from their visit to father Smith. Catherine and Don Carlos were also away from home. Calvin Stoddard and his wife, Sophronia, had moved several miles distant, some time previous. This left no one but Mr. Smith, myself, and our little girl, Lucy, at home.

pp. 154-159


ON THE same day that Hyrum left for Colesville, which was Wednesday, the neighbors began to call, one after another, and inquire very particularly for Hyrum.

This gave me great anxiety, for I knew that they had no business with him. The same night my husband was taken rather ill, and, continuing unwell the next day, he was unable to take breakfast with me. About ten o'clock I commenced preparing him some milk porridge, but, before it was ready for him, a Quaker gentleman called to see him, and the following is the substance of their conversation:

Quaker—"Friend Smith, I have a note against thee for fourteen dollars, which I have lately bought, and I have come to see if thou hast the money for me."

Mr. Smith—"Why, sir, did you purchase that note? You certainly was in no want of the money?"

Quaker—"That is business of my own; I want the money, and must have it."

Mr. Smith—"I can pay you six dollars now—the rest you will have to wait for, as I cannot get it for you."

Quaker—"No, I will not wait one hour; and if thou dost not pay me immediately, thou shalt go forthwith to the jail, unless (running to the fireplace and making violent gestures with his hands towards the fir) thou wilt burn up those Books of Mormon; but if thou wilt burn them up, then I will forgive thee the whole debt."

Mr. Smith (decidedly)—"That I shall not do."

Quaker—"Then, thou shalt go to jail."

"Sir," I interrupted (taking my gold beads from my neck and holding them towards him), "these beads are the full value of the remainder of the debt. I beseech you to take them and give up the note."

Quaker—"No, I will not. Thou must pay the money, or thy husband shall go straightway to jail."

"Now, here, sir," I replied, "just look at yourself as you are. Because God has raised up my son to bring forth a book, which was written for the salvation of the souls of men, for the salvation of your soul as well as mine, you have come here to distress me by taking my husband to jail; and you think, by this, that you will compel us to deny the work of God and destroy a book which was translated by the gift and power of God. But, sir, we shall not burn the Book of Mormon, nor deny the inspiration of the Almighty."

The Quaker then stepped to the door and called a constable, who was waiting there for the signal. The constable came forward, and, laying his hand on Mr. Smith's shoulder, said, "You are my prisoner."

I entreated the officer to allow me time to get someone to become my husband's security, but he refused. I then requested that he might be permitted to eat the porridge which I had been preparing, as he had taken no nourishment since the night before. This was also denied, and the Quaker ordered my husband to get immediately into a wagon which stood waiting to convey him to prison.

After they had taken him to the wagon, the Quaker stood over him as guard and the officer came back and ate up the food which I had prepared for my husband, who sat in the burning sun, faint and sick.

I shall make no remarks in regard to my feelings on this occasion. Any human heart can imagine how I felt. But verily, verily, those men will have their reward.

They drove off with my husband, leaving me alone with my little girl. The next morning I went on foot several miles to see a friend by the name of Abner Lackey, who, I hoped, would assist me. I was not disappointed. He went without delay to the magistrate's office, and had my papers prepared, so that I could get my husband out of the prison cell, although he would still be confined in the jail yard.

Shortly after I returned home, a pert young gentleman came in and asked if Mr. Hyrum Smith was at home. I told him, as I had others, that he was in Colesville. The young man said that Hyrum was owing a small debt to Dr. McIntyre, and that he had come to collect it by the doctor's orders, as he (McIntyre) was from home. I told the young man that this debt was to be paid in corn and beans, which should be sent to him the next day. I then hired a man to take the produce the following day to the doctor's house, which was accordingly done, and, when the man returned he informed me that the clerk agreed to erase the account. It was now too late in the day to set out for Canadaigua, where my husband was confined in prison, and I concluded to defer going till the next morning, in hopes that some of my sons would return during the interval. The night came on, but neither of my sons made their appearance. When the night closed in, the darkness was hideous, scarcely any object was discernible. I sat down and began to contemplate the situation of myself and family. My husband, an affectionate companion and tender father as ever blessed the confidence of a family, was an imprisoned debtor, torn from his family and immured in a dungeon, where he had already lain two dismal nights, and now another must be added to the number before I could reach him to render him any assistance. And where were his children? Alvin was murdered by a quack physician; but still he lay at peace. Hyrum was flying from his home and why I knew not; the secret combinations of his enemies were not yet fully developed. Joseph had but recently escaped from his persecutors, who sought to accomplish his destruction. Samuel was gone, without purse or scrip, to preach the Gospel, for which he was as much despised and hated as were the ancient disciples. William was also gone, and, I had not, unlike Naomi, even my daughters-in-law, to comfort my heart in this the hour of my affliction.

While I was thus meditating, a heavy rap at the door brought me suddenly to my feet. I bade the stranger enter. He asked me, in a hurried manner, where Hyrum was. I answered the question as usual. Just then a second person came in, and the first observed to a second, "Mrs. Smith says her son is not at home." The person addressed looked suspiciously around and remarked, "He is at home, for your neighbors have seen him here today." "Then, sir, I replied, "they have seen what I have not." "We have a search warrant," rejoined he, "and if you do not give him up, we shall be under the necessity of taking whatever we find that belongs to him." Finding some corn stored in the chamber above the room where Hyrum had lived, they declared their intention of taking it, but I forbade their meddling with it. At this instant a third stranger entered, and then a fourth. The last observed, "I do not know, but you will think strange of so many of us coming in, but my candle was out, and I came in to relight it by your fire." I told him I did not know what to think. I had but little reason to consider myself safe either day or night, and that I would like to know what their business was, and for what cause they were seizing upon our property. The foremost replied that it was wanted to settle a debt which Hyrum was owing to Dr. McIntyre. I told him that it was paid. He disputed my word, and ordered his men to take the corn. As they were going up stairs, I looked out of the window, and one glance almost turned my head giddy. As far as I could see by the light of two candles and a pair of carriage lamps, the heads of men appeared in every direction, some on foot, some on horseback, and the rest in wagons. I saw that there was no way but for me to sit quietly down, and see my house pillaged by a banditti of blacklegs, religious bigots, and cutthroats, who were united in one purpose, namely, that of destroying us from the face of the earth. However, there was one resource, and to that I applied. I went aside, and kneeled before the Lord, and begged that he would not let my children fall into their hands, and that they might be satisfied with plunder without taking life.

Just at this instant, William bounded into the house. "Mother," he cried, "in the name of God, what is this host of men doing here? Are they robbing or stealing? What are they about?"

I told him, in short, that they had taken his father to prison, and had now come after Hyrum, but, not finding him, they were plundering the house. Hereupon, William seized a large handspike, sprang up stairs, and, in one instant, cleared the scoundrels out of the chamber. They scampered down stairs; he flew after them, and, bounding into the very midst of the crowd, he brandished his handspike in every direction, exclaiming, "Away from here, you cut-throats, instantly, or I will be the death of every one of you."

The lights were immediately extinguished, yet he continued to harangue them boisterously, until he discovered that his audience had left him. They seemed to believe what he said, and fled in every direction, leaving us again to ourselves.

Between twelve and one o'clock, Calvin Stoddard and his wife, Sophronia, arrived at our house. Calvin said he had been troubled about us all afternoon, and, finally, about the setting of the sun, he told Sophronia that he would even then start for her father's if she felt inclined to go with him.

Within an hour after their arrival, Samuel came. He was much fatigued, for he had traveled twenty-one miles after sunset. I told him our situation, and that I wished him to go early the next morning to Canadaigua, and procure his father's release from the dungeon. "Well, mother," said he, "I am sick; fix me a bed, that I may lay down and rest myself, or I shall not be able to go, for I have taken a heavy cold, and my bones ache dreadfully."

However, by a little nursing and some rest, he was able to set off by sunrise, and arrived at Canadaigua at ten o'clock. After informing the jailor of his business, he requested that his father might be immediately liberated from the cell. The jailor refused, because it was Sunday, but permitted Samuel to go into the cell, where he found my husband confined in the same dungeon with a man committed for murder. Upon Samuel inquiring what his treatment had been, Mr. Smith replied as follows:

"Immediately after I left your mother, the men by whom I was taken commenced using every possible argument to induce me to renounce the Book of Mormon, saying, 'how much better it would be for you to deny that silly thing, than to be disgraced and imprisoned, when you might not only escape this, but also have the note back, as well as the money which you have paid on it.' To this I made no reply. They still went on in the same manner till we arrived at the jail, when they hurried me into this dismal dungeon. I shuddered when I first heard these heavy doors creaking upon their hinges; but then I thought to myself, I was not the first man who had been imprisoned for the truth's sake; and when I should meet Paul in the Paradise of God, I could tell him that I, too, had been in bonds for the Gospel which he had preached. And this has been my only consolation.

"From the time I entered until now, and this is the fourth day, I have had nothing to eat, save a pint basin full of very weak broth; and there (pointing to the opposite side of the cell) lies the basin yet."

Samuel was very much wounded by this, and, having obtained permission of the jailor, he immediately went out and brought his father some comfortable food. After which he remained with him until the next morning, when the business was attended to, and Mr. Smith went out into the jail yard to a cooper's shop, where he obtained employment at coopering, and followed the same until he was released, which was thirty days. He preached during his confinement there every Sunday, and when he was released he baptized two persons whom he had thus converted.

pp. 159-165