1831

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William McLellin Journal

July 18, 1831- November 20, 1831

Commenced the 18th of July 1831

At this time I was living in Paris, Illinois. Teaching school--- This morning I heard very early that two men ( who said they were traveling to Zion which they said was in upper Missouri. They had also a book with them which they sd was a Revelation from God. calling it the book of Mormon) were to preach 2 1/2 miles below Paris at N. W. Nunally's. I taught school until 12 o'clock. I saddled Tom and rode there with speed, Anxious to see and hear those quear beings. Their names were Harvy Whitlock & David Whitmer-- The people wer assembled in a beautiful sugartree grove. Mr. Whitlock arose and gave some particulars respecting the book and some reasons why he believed it to be a divine revelation. Spoke some of the Signs of the times then he expounded the Gospel the plainest I thot that I ever heard in my life, which astonished me. David Whitmer then arose and bore testimony to having seen an Holy Angel who had made known the truth of this record to him. all these strange things I pondered in my heart.

I invited them to go and preach in Paris, which they did next day. Though it had but little effect. I then went with them about 5 ms to T. Hicklin's and staid with them all night. I made many enquiries and had much conversation with them thence I went them to their appointment it being Sundy. A large congregation attended. And from the solemnity which attended those men in giving their testimony and the plainness of the truths which they declared I was induced to believe something in their mission. People seemed to be anxious for them to stay longer & they told me that Joseph Smith, the man who translated the book and a number of others had gone to Jackson Co. Mo. and if I would go there I could see them. They said also that Smith was a Prophet. Finally I told them if they would stay one week longer that I would go with them. They agreed to stay. Then Harvey Whitlock arose and spoke about three hours. I never heard such preaching in all my life. The glory of God seemed to encircle the man and the wisdom of God to be displayed in his discourse. Some of the people seemed to be much affected. The meeting was closed by a few observations of David Whitmer a solemn testimony of the truths which they had just heard. They made some other appointments and filled them that week. I returned home and taught school and settled some business during the week.

On Friday I closed my school and on Saturday the 30th after being much hurried during the day, I left Parid Edgar Co. Ill. about 6 o'clock P.M. & started for Jackson Co. Mo. I rode 14 ms. to a Mr. Wilhites. I reached there about 10, at night. I had my supper, bed and horse fed.

Monday the 1st day of August I rose early felt well, took breakfast and went to Col. Fleener's to an Election. I settled some business, returned and took dinner with Uncle Nathan Wood who was much taken with those young men. I then took with me about 5 ms to my good old friend Jesse Fuller's, we staid all night with them. had a pleasant visit- I also took them with me to the grave of my departed and dear companion Cinthia Ann and there they seemed to mourn with me for the loss of my dearest friend and her blessed little infant.

August 2nd We took breakfast and pursued our course to about 3 ms to Esqr. G. M. Hansons (a Methodist Preacher) and took dinner, thence 9 ms. and called on John Price, the neighbours collected and Harvey Whitlock spoke to them about an hour.

A. 3rd. we rose early and took breakfast, thence 10 ms to Esqr Wm T. Bennetts in Shilby Co. and took dinner. Here I bought from them the last book of Mormon which they had. Here we parted. They intended to go throu Vandalia, St. Louis &c. and I intended to go through Springfield &c. My object was to get to Independence before them and see if the tesimony of other witnesses would agree with theirs. Thence I rode on 3ms. to Shlbyville. Thence 5 ms. to the widow South's and staid all night. I read some in the book of Mormon to them and told them what I knew about it. They seemed to be some what interested about it.

Aug. 4th I rode on 26 ms to a Mr Dolson's and took breakfast and fed Tom & paid 25 cts. Thence 30 ms to Uncle Wm Moore's and staid all night. In Sangamon Co.

August 5 I went to Springfield and gave 2 dollars for a pocket Bible and 75 cts for the repairing of my watch. I returned and talked considerable with my Uncle and my brother Israel concerning the book, the people and what they believed. My uncle gave me some very good advice and seemed to be anxious to know the truth of what I had told him.

August 6th I rose early, took breakfast, though I felt some unwell yet I pursued my course. My brother rode with me about 10 or 12 ms. Thence I rode on Westerly about 30 ms. to Mr Reeves in Morgan Co. I was so unwell it seemed to me I could not get any further. I took but little supper and went to bed. I was very sick had high fevers and I also had some very singular dreams about my journey (which afterward proved true). I lay here until the 11th. I called on two Doctors, took considerable medicine. The fever abated some and I was so anxious to go forward that I paid Mrs Reeves $2 for their trouble and paid the physicians $2.50.

And August 11th I rode on 4 ms to Jacksonville Morgan Co. thence 12 ms. I stopped to take a little refreshment and feed my horse. I paid 25 cts. thence 10 ms to the Illinois River. I crossed paid 12 cts and staid all night on the west bank.

A. 12. I rose early and took breakfast and paid 25 cts and rode on 23 ms and fed Tom (I did not feel to eat myself) and paid 12 cts. and rode on 3 ms to Atlas, Pike co. Thence 6 ms to the Mississippi River. I crossed in a horse boat, pd 50 cts and landed in Misouri Pike Co. in Louisiana a little town on the bank. Thence 12 ms through a dreary region all alone and it dark, to Esqr McCune's & staid all night and until after breakfast, pd 50 cts and rode on (though yet weak) 31 ms to Mr. Rogerses, staid all night.

Augst 14 I rose early paid 50 cts and rode on 3 ms to a Mr Ivey's and fed my horse and took breakfast. Here two Elders had staid about week (viz) Hiram Smith and John Moredock though they were gone. They had no book with them and when Mrs Ivy found out that I had a book she said she must see it and when she was it she said I must sell it to her which I did and then pursued my course toward the western horizon 32 ms to Mr. Milligin's and took dinner in Monroe. Co. paid 12 cts. Thence 13 ms to S. Brockmans in Randolph Co. Staid all night.

Agst 15. pd 31 cts. and rode on 13 ms. to G. S. Forster's and took breakfast and fed Tom. Here I heard of two more Elders Simeon Carter & and Solomon Hancock. They had preached here some and baptized one or two--I pd 37 cts. (This was in Howard Co) and rode on 12 ms. to old Charatin, Thence on ml. to Mount Pleasant ferry. Here I heard that Joseph, Sydney,Oliver and about a dozen of others, had left there the day before and gone to the East. Now I was very much disappointed. Yet Mr Thornton told me that Harvey Whitlock David Whitmer Hiram Smith and others had gone on to the west. consequently I crossed paid 25 cts. and pursued my course 16 ms to a widow McCafferty's Saline Co and staid all night.

Augst 16. I rose early pd 50 cts and rode on through the prairies 19 ms to Mr Demoss' and I stopped fed my horse, took breakfast. I felt some fatigued. Therefore I rested about 4 hours. pd 37 cts. Thence 17 ms to Mr Fulkersons and staid for the night.

Agst 17 I rose early paid 35 C. and rode on 9ms to Lexington Lafayette Co. had my breakfast and horse fed pd 50 C. Thence 30 ms. to Mr. Patton's staid for the night.

A. 18th I rose and paid 37 C. and rode on 10 miles to Independence---Jackson Co. I stopped and took breakfast and fed my horse and rested about 5 hours, in which time I conversed with a number in the villagers about those people that they called Mormonites. They thought they were generally a very honest people but very much deluded by Smith and others. Notwithstanding all I felt anxious to see them and examine for myself. I bought Brown's Concordance for 75 cts. I then started but before I got out of the village I met with David Whitmer & Martin Harris who accompanied me about 10 miles further westward where I found:The Bishop E. Partridge and his council Isaac Morley and John Corrill with several other Elders and a number of private members both male and female. I spent the evening with them and had very agreeable conversation.

Friday 19th I rose early, talked much with those people:Saw Love, Peace, Harmony, and Humility abounding among them. A rare circumstance occured while attending family prayr which convinced me that the Elders had the power of deserning spirits. It affected me so that my weakness was manifest. I took Hiram the brother of Joseph and we went into the woods and set down and talked together about 4 hours. I inquired into the particulars of the coming forth of the record, of the rise of the church and of its progress to one of their prayr meetings. Here I saw the manner of their worship, heard them converse freely upon the things of religion. After metting I returned to Mr J. Lewis and staid all night.

Saturday the 20th I rose early and betook myself to earnest prayr to God to direct me into truth; and from all the light that I could gain by examinations searches and researches I was bound as an honest man to acknowledge the truth and Validity of the book of Mormon and also that I had found the people of the Lord--The Living Church of Christ. consequently as soon as we took breakfast I told Elder H. Smith that I wanted him to baptize me because I wanted to live among a people who were based upon pure principles and actuated by the Spirit of the Living God. I went with the Elders present to the water and was immersed according to the commandments of Jesus Christ by Hiram Smith and was confirmed by the watter's edge by the laying on of the hands. We returned to brother Lewis's. I felt very happy, calm and pleasant during the day until evening, then the Enemy of all the righteousness made a mighty struggle to persuade me that I was deceived until it seemed to me sometimes that horror would overwhelm me. I did not doubt the truth of the things which I had embraced, but my fears were respecting my own salvation. The time for evening prayr came, and I was glad. I told my brethren that I felt bad and they prayed for me. Bro. N. Knight after arising from prayr came and by the spirit of God was enabled to tell me the very secrets of my heart and in a degree to chase darkness from my mind, I went to bed, rested well--

Sunday 21st The Brethren met at brother Lewis's and had a sacrament meeting. bro. J. Corrill Lectured from the 1st Chapter of Gallatians. His remarks were very plain and conclusive. A number of brethren and sisters spoke of the marvelous works of God & their willingness and determinations to serve him & keep all his commandments. I spoke and gave a few among the many reasons which induced me to join with them in religious faith. Te meeting was dismissed and we assembled again at a schoolhouse, near, that evening and held a prayrmeeting, Where I was much disappointed, instead of shouting, screaming, jumping or shaking of hands in confusion. Peace order, harmony and the spirit of God seemed to cheer every heart, warm every bosom and animate every Tongue. I really felt happy that I had seen the day that I could meet with such a people and worship God in the beauty of Holiness, For I saw more beauty in Christianity now that I ever had seen before.

Monday and Tuesday I spent in reading and in social conversation with my brethren. Brother Simeon Carter and others told me that it was my duty to become an Elder in the church and go and preach the Gospel. Tuesday night I staid at the schoolhouse with a number of my brethren and sisters who were living there.

Wednesday 24th I rose quite early and walked out and seated myself in a cluster of bushes which grew near the house. There while the stars were yet twinkling I set pleasantly musing until my meditations were interupted by a faint yet plaintive and Solemn voice which was articulated in the grove not many paces from me. And while silently listening, my ear was caught on a different direction by another Similar Sound. But here I have to pause because I cannot give the reflections which I had nor describe the solomnity which rolled over my mind, when I knew it was those whom the world called so much deluded enjoying Sweet communion with their God. Certainly said I, here is a reality if the experiance of the world has ever given One--! The Elders and brethren met today to hold a conference and offer a sacrament to the Most High to fill the commandment which they received at Charatin. And for the first time I went to the grove and made it a subject of solemn Prayr respecting my ordination to the ministry. When I arose my prayr this question suggested itself to my mind "What is your motive?" And this answer seemed to be whispered into my heart. (viz) The glory of God, The Salvation of my own soul, and The welfare of the human family. I returned to the house perfectly resigned to the will of God and seated myself in conference with my brethren, which was opened by prayr, and after doing some church business and partaking of the Lords Supper, they called on me to know if I had any thing to offer. I arose and told them that I was resigned to the will of God in the matter and I believed that God would make my duty known to them if they would inquire. I then sat down--Brother Hiram Smith immediately arose & said he had recd a witness of the Spirit that I should be ordained an Elder. This agreed with the minds of all present and Elder H. Smith and Bishop E. Partridge ordained me to be an Elder in the Church of Christ. I felt very solemn while taking this charge upon me. Yet I was willing to proclaim, in my weakness, the glorious Gospel of the great Redeemer which I had received and I trust in an honest heart--

August 25th We arose and made preparations for to start the east again. I pd 50 cts for 2 1/2 lbs Coffee which I had sent to Indp. for, also $1.25 to E. Partridge for a book of Mormon. Then Martin Harris, David Whitmer, Harvey Whitlock, Hiram Smith, Simeon Carter, and myself bid farewell to our precious brethren and sisters in the Lord, (it was truly an affecting time) and we walked on to Independence. Here I paid 75 cts at the tavern for the keeping of Tom 3 days. Thence 10 ms to Mr Pattons and staid all night. They were very hard, the truth had but little effect on their minds.

Friday 26. We traveled on all day and staid all night with a Mr. Jennings.

Saturday 27 Here we heard that brother Harvey's wife was coming on. And this morning he bid us farewell and returned to Zion. And we pursued our journey 11 ms. to Mr Easter's and took dinner. Here we proposed to preach the next day. They were willing and sent out and informed their neighbours--

Sunday 28. The people collected for to hear preaching, brother Hiram opened the meeting & addressed them about and hour "on the Gospel." I then arose for the first time to attempt to preach. Now I can give but a faint description of this scene Though one thing I know. I had some desire to address the people and with prayr in my heart, I arose: and it seemed to me that the whole volumn of Truth was opened before me. My heart was animated and burning; and my tongue seemed to be untied. I spoke about an hour and a half. Many hearts were affected and many eyes filled with tears. I ceased to proclaim and seated myself. Filled with astonishment to behold the wonderful works of the Mighty God while wrapped in his Eternal Spirit.--- Here we sold 5 books of Mo. and answered many queries, Mr Demoss invited us and we traveled on 6 ms. and staid with him all night and until after breakfast. Without charge. brother Carter had left us and gone on.

McLellin Journal pp. 29-36