1842

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Joseph Smith-Personal Writings

Reflections, August 16, 23, 1842

On August 16, the same day Joseph Smith wrote to Emma from his place of seclusion at Sagers's north of Nauvoo, he also began dictating a lengthy expression of his feelings to his clerk William Clayton as he reflected upon the loyalty of trusted friends who had rallied to his support in times of crisis. Then, suddenly forced to leave amid rumors that his hiding place had been discovered, Joseph eventually returned to his home and secreted himself in his office where, on August 23 he continued dictating the sentiments he had begun on the sixteenth. Although William Clayton concluded his writing on the twenty-third with the notation that Joseph would "continue the subject again," nothing more was ever added.

August 16, 1842.

Brother Erastus H. Derby is one among the number of the faithful souls, who have taken as yet the greatest interest that possibly could have been imagined for the welfare of President Joseph. I therefore record the following blessing from the mouth of the President himself.

Blessed is Brother Erastus H. Derby, and he shall be blessed of the Lord; he possesses a sober mind, and a faithful heart; the snares therefore that are subsequent to befall other men, who are treacherous and rotten-hearted, shall not come nigh unto his doors, but shall be far from the path of his feet. He loveth wisdom, and shall be found possessed of her. Let there be a crown of glory, and a diadem upon his head. Let the light of eternal Truth shine forth upon his understanding; let his name be had in everlasting remembrance; let the blessings of Jehovah be crowned upon his posterity after him, for he rendered me consolation, in the lonely places of my retreat: How good and glorious, it has seemed unto me, to find pure and holy friends, who are faithful, just and true, and whose hearts fail not; and whose knees are confirmed and do not faulter; while they wait upon the Lord, in administering to my necessities; in the day when the wrath of mine enemies was poured out upon me. In the name of the Lord, I feel in my heart to bless them, and to say in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that these are the ones that shall inherit eternal life. I say it by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and by the ministering of Holy Angels, and by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost. How glorious were my feelings when I met that faithful and friendly band, on the night of the eleventh on thursday, on the Island, at the mouth of the slough, between Zarahemla and Nauvoo. With what unspeakable delight, and what transports of joy swelled my bosom, when I took by the hand on that night, my beloved Emma, she that was my wife, even the wife of my youth; and the choice of my heart. Many were the reviberations of my mind when I contemplated for a moment the many passt scenes we had been called to pass through. The fatigues, and the toils, the sorrows, and sufferings, and the joys and consolations from time to time [which] had strewed our paths and crowned our board. Oh! what a comingling of thought filled my mind for the moment, again she is here, even in the seventh trouble, undaunted, firm and unwavering, unchangeable, affectionate Emma. There was Brother Hyrum who next took me by the hand, a natural brother; thought I to myself, brother Hyrum, what a faithful heart you have got. Oh, may the eternal Jehovah crown eternal blessings upon your head, as a reward for the care you have had for my soul. O how many are the sorrows have we shared together, and again we find ourselves shackled with the unrelenting hand of oppression. Hyrum, thy name shall be written in the Book of the Law of the Lord, for those who come after thee to look upon, that they may pattern after thy works. Said I to myself here is brother Newel K. Whitney also, how many scenes of sorrow, have strewed our paths together; and yet we meet once more to share again. Thou art a faithful friend in whom the afflicted sons of men can confide, with the most perfect safety. Let the blessings of the eternal be crowned also upon his head; how warm that heart! how anxious that soul! for the welfare of one who has been cast out, and hated of almost all men. Brother Whitney, thou knowest not how strong those ties are, that bind my soul and heart to thee. My heart was overjoyed, as I took the faithful band by hand, that stood upon the shore one by one. Wm. Law, Wm. Clayton, Dimick B. Huntington, George Miller, were there. The above names constituted the little group. I do not think to mention the particulars of the history of that sacred night, which shall forever be remembered by me. But the names of the faithful are what I wish to record in this place. These I have met in prosperity and they were my friends, I now meet them in adversity, and they are still my warmer friends. These love the God that I serve; they love the truths that I promulge; they love those virtuous, and those holy doctrines that I cherish in my bosom with the warmest feelings of my heart; and with that zeal which cannot be denied. I love friendship and truth; I love virtue and Law; I love the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, and they are my brethren, and I shall live; and because I live, they shall live also. These are not the only ones, who have administered to my necessity; whom the Lord will bless. There is Brother John D. Parker, and Brother Amasa Lyman, and Brother Wilson Law, and Brother Henry G. Sherwood, my heart feels to reciprocate the unweried kindnesses that have been bestowed upon me by these men. They are men of noble stature, of noble hands, and of noble deeds; possessing noble and daring, and giant hearts and souls. There is Brother Joseph B. Nobles also, I would call up in remembrance before the Lord. There is brother Samuel Smith, a natural brother; he is, even as Hyrum. There is Brother Arthur Millikin also, who married my youngest sister, Lucy. He is a faithful, an honest, and an upright man. While I call up in remembrance before the Lord these men, I would be doing injustice to those who rowed me in the skiff up the river that night, after I parted with the lovely group; who brought me to this my safe and lonely and private retreat; brother Jonathan Dunham and the other whose name I do not know. Many were the thoughts that swelled my aching heart, while they were toiling faithfully with their oars. They complained not of hardship and fatigue to secure my safety. My heart would have been harder than an adamantine stone, if I had not have prayed for them with anxious and fervent desire. I did so, and the still small voice whispered to my soul, these that share your toils with such faithful hearts, shall reign with you in the kingdom of their God; but I parted with them in silence and came to my retreat. I hope I shall see them again that I may toil for them and administer to their comfort also. They shall not want a friend while I live. My heart shall love those; and my hands shall toil for those, who love and toil for me, and shall ever be found faithful to my friends. Shall I be ungrateful? verily no! God forbid!

The above are the words, and sentiments, that escaped the lips of President Joseph Smith on the 16th day of August A D 1842, in relation to his friends: and has now quit speaking for the moment, but will continue the subject again.

Wm. Clayton, Clerk