Brigham Young Versus William Smith - 1845
Warsaw Signal – October 22, 1845
PATRIARCH BILL SMITH'S PROCLAMATION.
We have received an extraordinary document,
entitled a 'Proclamation,' signed by William Smith, Patriarch, and one of the
Twelve. The object which Smith appears to have in view, is to expose the conduct
of the present corrupt leaders of the Church; and to put them down, and build up
himself. He speaks of Brigham Young as a tyrant, unsurpassed by any that has
existed since the days of Nero -- complains bitterly of the treatment which he
and the Smith family generally, have received from his hands, and denounces him
as an usurper.
In this document, Smith repudiates the Spritual Wife Doctrine, and accuses Young, Taylor, and Heber C. Kimball, of introducing this doctrine and its corrupt practices, into the Church. He urges his opposition to this doctrine as one of the reasons for the enmity of Young and his associates against him.
He intimates that Toung was concerned in the murder of Irvine Hodges, and that the two Hodges who were hung in Burlington, were no more gulity than the heads of the Mormon Church, who had them given up to save themselves.
Altogether, this expose of Smith's is full of interest, and rich in developments, -- which all tend to confirm the accusations repeatedly brought against the Mormons by their neighbors.
As we propose next week to give it in full to our readers, a more extended notice is at present unnecessary.
Warsaw Signal – October 29, 1845
And faithful Warning to all the Saints
scattered around in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Salem, New Bedford, Jewell,
Peterborough, Gilsom, St. Louis, Nauvoo, and elsewhere in the United
States;.Also to those residing in the different parts of Europe and in the
Islands of the seas.
To all such, your Father and Patriarch sends this Greeting -- He speaks to you in the spirit of love and christian kindness, believing it a duty he owes to his God, to do all he can to save from spiritual ruin the thousands of his friends and fellow mortals, whom misrepresentation and false pretension may contrive to lead astray from the pure and holy paths of righteousness as pointed out by our church.
I take this course towards my brethren in all meekness of spirit, patience, and forbearance, without aught of malice or revenge, that they may understand the true reason of my silent course of conduct during the last summer, and the cause of my present position.
I will state unequivocally at the outset, that it is my firm and sincere conviction, that, since the murder of my two brothers, usurpation and anarchy, and spiritual wickedness in high places, have crept into the church, with the cognizance and acquiescence of those whose solemn duty it was to guardedly watch against such estate of things. Under the reign of one whom I may call a Pontius Pilate, under the reign I say of this B. Young, no greater tyranny ever existed since the days of Nero. He has no other justification than ignorance to cover the most cruel acts -- acts disgraceful to anyone bearing the stamp of humanity; and this being has associated around him, men, bound by oaths and covenants, who are reckless enough to commit almost any crime, or fulfill any command that their self-crowned "head" might give them.
At the time of the death of my two brothers, I was laboring with all my energies in the eastern cities, where I had been busily engaged for about three years, under the direction and advice of my brother Joseph, when a letter reached me from Willard Richards, who was acting as church clerk and one of the Twelve, advising me not to return to the scene of the recent and events in the west, as it might continue the excitement, and endanger not only my own life, but the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the Saints; such also was the advice and counsel of many of my friends. This advice, together with a sick family on my hands, influenced me to remain still a while longer in the east. In the meantime, as all the Saints well know, I was engaged in publishing a paper in New York entitled "The Prophet," got up by my own labors and carried on with as much earnest zeal as I could possibly employ upon it. All at once, early in the spring, whom should I encounter but Mr. Parley P. Pratt, who had come on from the west, with specific authority from the quorum of the Twelve, to take charge of all the printing, etc., without a single provision with respect to my own personal rights, relative to any outlay I had subjected myself to in getting up the paper, materials for printing, etc. etc.; to take charge, also, of the entire presidency of the Eastern Churches; while, at the same time, the right of the presidency was held by a joint occupancy in the quorum of the Twelve. In consequence, however, of my wife's health continuing very precarious, I concluded to leave that scene of action and return to Nauvoo, leaving all in the hands of Parley P. Pratt, and S. Brennan, which latter had been heretofore a friend. I must confess that the whole of this proceeding appeared to me very much like a deep laid plan to get the power of everything under their own control. Still I was extremely reluctant to believe my brethren so ungrateful men with whom I had been associated so long, being more over willing to obey council, I gave all up, and trusted to their own honesty. -- On my return, however, my suspicions were strengthened, for I found that, for some frivolous cause, the "Twelve" had cut off a brother of the name of G. J. Adams, who it was well known was a strong and sincere friend of mine and also S. Brennan. Still I was anxious to get rid of my suspicions, and I set about making the most minute enquiry into the matter, but no substantial reason presented itself for the course taken. Brennan was soon restored. It appeared to me, from these various circumstances, strongly suspicious that these [assumers] of power intended nothing more or less than to render me powerless. Still I struggled on, hoping for the best, and that all things would come out right eventually, and I held my peace, -- when on coming into council with the brethren, I was asked "are you satisfied, brother William?" evidently manifesting thereby a suspicion on their part that it was not likely I could possibly be so, and that all had not been right. Yet I replied that I was willing to abide the council of my brethren and be satisfied for a season. They assumed a friendly feeling and would frequently mention what they intended to do, and what is was in their hearts to do, for me and the rest of the Smith family. Soon I spoke on the stand, but with very oppressed feelings, which, however, I always endeavored not to disclose, while news was arriving from the east, by letters and various other ways, to the Council; and others, containing eulogiums on the boasted righteousness of Parley P. Pratt, and condemning the acts of his predecessors in the preaching and government of the church in that section of the country, when it is well known by all the eastern Saints that when those men went on all was peace and harmony, and that I had labored hard for three years to build up the church, and for the last year to wrest it from the influence of "Rigdonism." And further it can be proved that B. Young and P. P. Pratt were the first to preach and to practice the "spiritual wife" doctrine, in the city of Boston and other places, my descent from any such doctrine of course gave annoyance, as did also my exclaiming against the too common practice among the elders of using profane oaths. I earnestly appealed to them as to whether it could possibly by consonant with the garb of a minister of the gospel, of those who build Temples and Nauvoo Houses, thus to indulge in improper swearing. That the Lord would not prosper their proceedings in such a spirit, nor would they inherit a temporal or spiritual salvation. In this appeal I was opposed by John E. Page. On another occasion I spoke in behalf of sister Emma, and the claims of the Smith family, but this was generally laughed at. I opposed also the whittling, whistling, and beastly anointing, practiced upon strangers, and driving away from Nauvoo the doctors and lawyers, telling them, which I did in a spirit of warning, that such courses must bring swift destruction on the people. In return for these good intentions I was called a dissenter, and the charge brought against me of trying to raise a division in the church. My remarks had little or no effect, for again and again it was repeated on the stand by Kimble, Young, Taylor, and others, that lawyers must leave, for it was then a time of peace, and that if they did not they should be offered as a sacrifice of smoking meat, as was practiced by the heathens in ancient times, to appease the wrath of some evil spirit, and that as for the doctors they were all a perfect nuisance. To all these elevated and charitable thoughts and expressions, the congregation responded "Amen." All this was entirely repugnant to my feelings and I could not avoid manifesting my dissent; the consequence was, that I was informed I had better look out, or I should be cut off from the church. It was a sacrifice indeed to be silent.
It was about this time that the Hodge affair took place, and I verily believe that the very men who were engaged in that horrid murder were the most efficient in doing all they possibly could to get the Hodges' hanged, and to get Amos Hodge into the territory of Iowa, that he might share the fate of his brothers, whether guilty or not. But to return to the matters of the church, I published a short notice on the subject of the office of patriarch: very soon it was scanned and criticised, and without even my knowledge or consent, the office declared to be equal only to any common father over his family; which was all a perfect burlesque on common sense, robbing me of my lawful rights in the Smith family, rights by lineage, etc. The phrase "rights by lineage" become a common byword, a matter of sport on the stand, and in private council a laugh. Mother Smith's mind being greatly wrought upon by these troubles, was carried away in a vision, and on her relation of what she had seen. Brigham Young had the refinement of feeling and consideration to ridicule on the stand the whole matter and marveled that the church could entertain for a moment the crazy manifestations of an old woman. Such remarks, be it borne in mind, proceeded from one who pretends to hold the key of telling where the royal blood is, and claims a standing at the head of a church raised up by a prophet, of whom mother Smith was the parent, and which mother had passed through whole seas of affliction. A copy of this vision will soon appear, and then we shall see and understand the value of the priesthood of that individual who can thus talk of mother Smith, as also of the propriety of a certain John Smith and others who find it to their interest to ridicule rather than reflect. But to return from this digression. I took it upon me to counsel the police of the city, advise them to be more merciful, and not hasten men into Iowa to be hanged, but to give them a chance with others whom I believe to be equally guilty. I received for answer to my advice and counsel, from one of the police, that he did not care a d__n for anything I had to say; that he had received his instructions, and should carry them out. Although some words passed on the occasion, I believe this particular member of the police was innocent of any intentional harm. The result again of this was, that I was cautioned to look out for my life.
A horrid circumstance took place on the following evening, which I must relate. -- Arvine [sic] Hodge was crossing a field-path to his lodgings, when he was waylaid and killed, being cut, beat, and mangled in a most shocking manner, within twenty rods of Brigham Young's house, which at the time was surrounded by his own personal police guard, who, as some of them acknowledged, stood within fifty yards of where the murder was committed, and distinctly heard the murderous blows, and the cries of the victim. Sister Young, also, said that she heard them more than once. Young was not at home when the deed was done, but, it is said that in honor to him the murdered man with cries for help, ran some twenty rods, and fell in the road before the house and expired.
It is said that although he had his senses til the last, he would say no more about his murderer than that he was a friend; and called on Young to lay hands upon him. This story was told by Young's police, who, be it remembered, stood within fifty yards of where this awful murder was perpetrated, who heard the blows given, and also the cries for help, but who, at the same time, saw no man or men, who could have performed the awful deed.
It will be recollected that, on the examination, it was ascertained that Arvine Hodge had received four fatal stabs in the side, each blow sundering a rib, and sufficient to cause instant death, besides the appearance of cruel bruises made by heavy clubs upon the head. It is true no doubt that he struggled hard for life, but is it probable, I would ask, that with such fatal wounds from the knife, and heavy blows from the assassin's clubs, that he could have retained physical strength enough to run for aid, or mental power enough to ask for the laying on of hands? And especially for one whom he had every reason to believe to be his most inveterate enemy? It was at this juncture of these sad proceedings, that the information reached my ears, advising me to keep a good guard about my house, or I might very probably share the fate of Arvine Hodge. In consequence of such information, I summoned my kind friends who watched over my safety for two or three weeks; The necessity of my doing this prompted me to write a letter to B. Young, stating to him that I did not feel my safe in the hands of his police. The answer returned to me was from John Taylor, to the effect that I should meet the council the same day at six o'clock in the evening. Accordingly at the hour specified, I repaired to the place of meeting, not expecting, however, to find any one present save the "Twelve," or the Bishops. But on entering the room on the third story of the Masonic Hall, what was my surprize to find some fifty or sixty policemen all armed with their Bowie knives, pistols, and hickory clubs. How much more too, was my surprize, when after my entrance I found the door guarded, and the man whom I had supposed a particular friend of mine, chuckling with sparkling eyes to think he had me in his power.
I was called upon by Brigham Young to make known my grievances. I answered the call, and in fervent tones both long and loud, spoke of my grievances and of my two brothers' deaths, and of the almost entire desolation of the remnant of my father's family; -- that I had returned from a long mission, and wished to settle in the land of my ancestors, and that where the bodies of my brother's lay, I wished to live in peace, and claim the protection due to me. I told them that I considered my right to teach the church altogether unimpeachable; as was also my right to counsel the police, and to assist in controlling the public sentiment. Further, that if the brethren did not want me or my councils, to announce such a sentiment and I would leave them. Let, said I, the Twelve say so -- Let the Bishops say so -- Let the police say so, and I am gone! But mark it, said I, where I go, there also the Smith family go, and with them also goes the Priesthood.
After I had spoken for nearly an hour to the foregoing purpose, Brigham Young arose, and although when he came into the room he had given me his hand, with a smiling countenance, launched forth in the following strain, with boisterous boldness:
"I will let William Smith know that he has no right to counsel this church, for I am the man! I will let William Smith know also, that he shall not counsel the police; furthermore, that where the Smith family goes the church will not go, nor the priesthood either! And I will let William Smith know that I am the president and head of this church" and strange to say all the police and the bishops, and the "Twelve" who were present, said thereunto, "amen." The conclusion I drew from all this was, that it was an intentional hint to me that I had better leave. Furthermore he stated that Joseph Smith had revealed to him a mystery concerning the Royal Blood, that none of the rest of his brethren knew anything about; that little Joseph his eldest son was not the prophet of the church, nor ever would be, and that if he were to say so, it would be aiming a dagger at his life's blood. What reflection could possibly suggest itself to me, after such a statement? What else then that he was an ambitious and an ungrateful tyrant? It was now almost dark when I arose and made a few corrections -- the brow-storm grew more palpable, not a smile, not a pleasant look greeted me, as I looked around on my old associates. Among those in the house I observed fifty or sixty of my well known brethren, but not one smile, amen, or consoling word reached me. I tempered my remarks as well and as charitably as I could: which forbearance was answered with remarks from Young to the effect that the police were good men, and obedient to the council.
Various circumstances induced me to believe myself hedged in, and I looked at the door, and at the window, but with a very faint hope of escape; it was death to jump from the window, and the armed police prevented all escape from the door, so I sunk back and cried in the very agony of spirit, "Lord have mercy upon me, and deliver me from the evil hands of those who plot against me." At this juncture Brigham Young said, "if brother William agrees to uphold the police, and make himself one with them, why they, the police would uphold him." To this I agreed and obtained a vote for my protection. It was now quite dark, and wagons and carriages were all in readiness, so that with the greatest ease I could have been sent on a long mission, to preach the Gospel. It was at this time that I determined to leave to city as soon as possible, and to preserve peace, and avoid any outbreak of feeling, I cautiously kept my own counsel. Rumors however were again spread about by malcontent rivals, that the saints had better be cautiously on their guard; with respect to me, for that I intended neither more nor less than to bring about a division in the Church. It was to allay the feeling that such reports might excite that I preached the notorious, so called, "spiritual wife" sermon, a discourse so modified however as to be perfectly consonant with my own feelings, and entirely unobjectionable to the pure principles of morality and religion. I had another object in this which was to expose to the light the principles of men who delighted to practice in private that which in public they strenuously deprecated. The talk however still continued 'look out,' 'look out,' and efforts were still made to render my position as disagreeable and unhappy as possible. I still continued on in the consciousness of the purity of my motives, and did not reveal my wounded feelings even to my mother, though all the time the malevolence of my rivals was aiming shafts at me, by spreading tales even so far back as my very boyhood, in connection with my brother Joseph, things which had been passed into oblivion long, long ago. -- Furthermore, so strong was the spirit of prejudice that brethren and sisters were even advised to go to others instead of to me to obtain their spiritual blessings.
A libelous article was published by John Taylor, on my Patriarchal office, which reached my mother's ears and occasioned her much mental trouble, and loss of rest. To such an extent was her mind affected that she sent to find me, and when I entered her room, she exclaimed, "My son, my son, you are alive yet! In a vision I saw you in a room under the guard of enemies, and awoke fearful of some sad result." A singular coincidence with the very situation in which I had been placed, but which had been kept entirely secret from her.
From this time the Saints may understand that the proceedings of those who had assumed the authority were kept entirely hidden from me. The disposition of the Temple funds, counseling with regard to the affairs of the church, I have had nothing to do with. Other men have been sought out to act in my place, without the thought of waiting for "dead men's shoes." All these things combined together served to convince me that a conspiracy had been entered into, to disrobe me of my power, and I learned that all the quorums of the church had agreed to sustain Brigham Young by their votes and influence, as the perpetual head of the church, and sole control of its matters. That the church funds have been misapplied, I have no hesitation in asserting, for of necessity I have been made acquainted with the fact, that several houses have been filled up with women who have been secretly married to Brigham Young, H. C. Kimble, and Willard Richards -- women with little children in their arms, who had no means of support except from the tithing funds.
And now brethren, I leave it to you to say what shall be done? My counsel is that you at once stop tithing; further my sincere and earnest advice is that the brethren locate themselves in all large branches of the church throughout the United States, remembering that America is the land of Zion, the land promised to the seed of Joseph. Furthermore let the brethren content themselves by building up plain and comfortable meeting houses for the worship of the Lord, until we can [inhabit] the temples we have built, and let all honest saints remain at their homes, and not be led astray by false hopes and promises, either to California or elsewhere. I am told that the plans of getting the tabernacle canvas was all concocted in secret, and with the ultimate intention of appropriating the same for the construction of tents to be used in traveling. What think you now my brethren of "Russia Missions?" None so holy as these men, yet nothing too knavish or underhanded for them to perform.
In noticing the claims of Brigham Young to superior power and authority, I would here observe that I heard my brother Joseph declare before his death, that Brigham Young was a man, whose passions, if unrestrained, were calculated to make him the most licentious man in the world, and should the time ever come, said he, that this man should lead the church, he would certainly lead it to destruction. What, my brethren, I would ask you, are the claims of Brigham Young to the keys of the church, above the rest of the Twelve? They are keys which Joseph never conferred on Brigham Young, nor was power ever given to him to lead the church in his place as his successor. The church is hereby warned against any such pretensions, as little Joseph, the son of Joseph Smith is the lawful heir to the officer, being the oldest son of the deceased prophet. I was present with Joseph at the last council that was held previous to the Twelve and others going on their electioneering campaign to the east and various other parts of the United States; it was at this time that I receive my initiation into the highest priesthood lodge, was washed and anointed, and clad with the sacerdotal robe of pure white, and ordained to be priest and king, and invested with all the power that any man on earth ever did possess; power entitling me to preach the gospel, to bind up the kingdom of God on earth, among all nations, and people of every tongue. In consequence of these endowments and ordination received from under the hands of Joseph, I hold as much power and as many keys to seal and bind on earth, as can possibly belong to Brigham Young; this power was conferred equally on all the Twelve, and not therefore bestowed on one. The brethren must understand, too, that Brigham Young holds the presidency over the eleven men by age merely, and not by any legitimate authority, neither has he any superior keys; and the saints will bear in mind that a presidency over twelve men, admitted out of courtesy to age, does not make a man president, prophet, seer revelator, and perpetual head of the church, over a whole dynasty of people, to the exclusion of the lawful heir, the heir by blood and by lineage. Brethren, let my true position be known to you; reflect and you will clearly see that Brigham Young is not lawfully or legally the prophet or head of the church, and that to claim such a right is usurpation and an act of tyranny; it is robbing the innocent -- the widow and the fatherless. Further, the saints are informed that the old pioneers, fathers and founders of this church of Christ in this last dispensation, namely the Smith family, must and will stand at the head, as leaders of this dispensation in time and in eternity. According to our book of covenants, the priesthood must be handed down from father to son.
Again, the position of the "Twelve" is defined in the same book, as merely a "traveling high council" to open and make known the kingdom abroad, and not as a local presidency. Since the death of Joseph and Hiram, the church has never been organized, although the materials have been all on hand. Its present condition is that of a headless body. It cannot be perfect until there are three presidents. It is just as needful that the church have all its members, with a head to govern it, now as in the days of Joseph, or many years ago.
Temples therefore reared up, and endowments given, by usurpers, or by a headless body, can be no other than imperfect. And is not probable, I would ask, that Temples, Nauvoo Houses and other buildings, however richly wrought and gorgeously and sumptuously furnished, such palaces may be reared up in wickedness, by means of cheating and defrauding the poor, by keeping up secret combinations for robbing and plundering the Gentiles -- a Gadiantan Band -- altogether contrary to the book of Mormon, how, I would ask, can it be expected that the Almighty will bless or suffer to prosper. How, I would ask, can it be expected that Divine endowments can be given in such houses, or that God will ever bless such a priesthood or such a people. It is this secret combination that has concocted the California expedition, and that are the present ruling authorities of Nauvoo, and the assumed directors of the church, to whom thousands are looking for their endowments. Mark me, many and honest saint will bitterly rue they ever followed the advice of such counselors, and the more especially should they wander with such men into the wilds of the forest, and there become, as they assuredly would, slaves, yea even more, a prey to the beastly passions of tyrants, deprived altogether of the sweets of liberty and the freedom of speech. I heard Brigham Young say not long since, and the remark made my blood run cold, that, the man that did not comply with the measures established by them in that land his head should come off, or at all events none should return to tell their tales. These men will tell you stories of peace and plenty, but I warn you to believe them not; they will tell you of a land of liberty, and call it the "land of the free, and the home of the brave," they will talk of raising a standard of freedom for the oppressed, and tell you, you will enjoy liberty, sweet liberty; they will tell you all these things and much more, till once they get you within their grasp. Then, my brethren and sisters you will be robbed by them of all that is virtuous and good; also of your property, and if need be, even of your lives.
Less than five or ten years will reveal the sad tale of the utter ruin of all that engaged in this venturesome and hazardous expedition. No matter my brethren, what may be represented to you as boastful perfections and imaginary beauties and qualities, of the self-styled "Archers of Paradise," or "Lions of the Lord," and their building temples in the moon, or in the dark and deep wilderness, thousands of miles away from all the inhabitants or civilized life. All such fanciful notions must necessarily fade away like the airy visions of heathen worshippers, to sink and rise no more; yes, like the crumbled ruins of decayed and burnt up cities -- or like the "golden coin" hid up in the corner stones, or like the deposited parchments of ancient days, declaratory of the greatness of certain self righteous men, seen in Heavenly visions, or more properly in the mental wanderings of filthy daylight dreamers, with their one hundred and one temples; all such things must come as far short of the truth of an eternal reality, as will the power of the evil one in dispossessing the righteousness of God, and possessing the kingdom for ever. Let the Elders understand this, and proclaim against it, in the fear of God, and thus save the souls of men from ruin. Follow no such spirits, my brethren but follow such men as Hyram and Joseph, Peter and Jesus, and all such spirits as do justice, in that respect the rights of all men, and especially of the widow and the fatherless.
It is astonishing indeed to see the religious chicanery and hypocrisy of those men. In the first place Adams comes on east, bearing letters from Willard Richards and the Council of Nauvoo, announcing the deaths of Hiram and Joseph Smith, to the scattering "Twelve" with advice to me not to return at present to Nauvoo, for fear of increasing the excitement; thus by my absence enabling them to use all efforts, to get the Church bound up to Brigham Young, as its president; the rest of the Twelve resigning all their power into his hands, and thereby rendering themselves powerless.
Thus they thought to get a dig at me, having the bishops ready to say "amen!" with a police bound by covenants and oaths to protect the said Brigham Young, as the president and head of the church, and to carry out all his measures. While this Brigham Young was pampering the church with the idea that although little Joseph was the rightful heir to the priesthood, and office of his father as prophet, seer, and revelator, that it was not prudent to mention this for fear of the little child's life. This was the talk to me, and was one reason why I made the declaration of my satisfaction, still being anxious to believe these men honest. At another time I spoke of the church being without a head, three Presidents, etc., etc., but such observations were treated with lightness and as being of no consideration. And although the matter was dropped for a time, I still heard and saw, and every day's proceeding convinced me, that something was radically wrong.
The impression that B. Young was the successor and had even more power than Joseph, that things prospered better, etc., etc., was spread about in all directions. -- And to complete this man's reign of power, there was adopted, as I have before alluded to, the system of spiritual wifery, which was entered into secretly: and directions given to John Taylor and others to proclaim on the stand that all saints should call on Brigham Young for counsel notwithstanding I was by right a counselor of the church. It was, my brethren, in this way, that the cords were drawn tighter and closer. Men's wives and daughters were secretly married at night-time to this Young, H. C. Kimball, William Richards, and others, and, in the dark night, were attending the secret lodges, until most of the "Seventies" were thus sealed and bound under a cloak of adopting children into their kingdoms.
All these measures were profoundly secret, and the actors were bound to protect the noble fathers and lords. In addition to this every exertion was made to ordain every one in the shape of man, and induce them to join the "Seventies" and thus become adopted "Brighamites." As soon as they had been induced to take the step, they soon found a reason for being no longer Smithites. Still while all these iniquitous proceedings were going on, it was the common practice for these wicked plotters to boldly and blasphemously proclaim before people, in the presence, too of hundreds that have been "sealed up" to them, that such a doctrine was false, and he that practiced it was a scoundrel and the woman that admitted it no other than a harlot.
I declare to you, my brethren, that I heard John Taylor proclaim this on one occasion, so vociferously as almost to turn him black in the face, while in a day or two afterwards he was seen sneaking through a garden, to get into a house by the back way to visit his "spiritual wives."
These have been the proceedings at Nauvoo for the last five months, these have been the practices in contradistinction to professions. The very doctrines they would teach and practice in secret, they would make use of to ruin, before the public, those who would not become their servants and their slaves. And now, my brethren and sisters, I again call on you, and especially on those, if there be any, who still remember the claims of little Joseph, and who have still respect for the memory of the martyrs Joseph and Hyrum, who can still sigh when they think of their deaths. I call upon you, I say, to come out of this Brigham Young's power, and to denounce his claims and pretensions, for be assured, they are not of God. Discard, my friends, all such hypocrisy and secret works, all such deeds of darkness. For Gadiantan Bands, secret combinations to murder, and plunder the gentiles, and trespass upon other men's rights, by discarding the marriage contract, can do nothing else than establish licentiousness, and corrupt the mortals of the rising generation. From all such abominations I proclaim myself free and independent, and I implore my friends again and again, especially those of the Smith family, to fly from this sink of iniquity and abomination, and assist in reorganizing the church of God on the old and pure gospel of Mormonism, and in accordance with the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. Bear in mind my friends that all this I speak from the deepest feelings of my heart, as the brother of the murdered martyrs, and the representative of the remaining remnants of the Smith family. It is now more than eighteen years that I have borne the storms of a persecuting world, in the firm and confident belief of the Mormon religion, as taught and practised by my brothers Joseph and Hyrum, and by my father, ever since the hiding of the golden plates from which the book of Mormon was translated. And to be told now that I am to have no control over the church of Christ, but that it is to be controlled and counseled by others, is not only palpable and gross in justice, but wicked in the sight of the Lord. It is my intention to appoint, in due time, a conference for the consideration of these and all other matters, of which due notice will be given to all.
I ought to have mentioned in a former place, that on one occasion, I heard Brigham Young say, on the stand, that he was glad Alvine Hodge was killed, and that he considered those who would follow the assassins even to the Mississippi river, were neither more nor less than fools, and that he hoped all such men would "run against just such snags." That in the territory of Iowa, murderers had been hanged and he knew it, though he did not think proper to tell his hearers how, he knew it. And he said further that it was far better for Alvine [sic] Hodge to die, than to live any longer in sin, for that he might now possibly be redeemed in the eternal world. That his murderers had done even a deed of charity for that such a man deserved to die. This as I before observed was stated on the public stand, and I leave the public to estimate the spirit in which they were made, and to draw their own conclusions as to whose counsel, and by what hands, the Hodges met their death, and their brother Alvine murdered in the streets of Nauvoo -- the victim dying in this noble lord's door-yard.
Another matter may not be omitted, namely: that Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Willard Richards with the appointed bishops have assumed the publishing of the Church Documents, the Book of Covenants, and also Joseph's private history, as their own property entirely regardless of the rights of the Smith family as therewith connected.
Again, in addition to all this assumption of power they have combined themselves into secret lodges, councils, etc., where they concoct all their plans unknown to the common people of the church, out of this have arisen the whitling and whistling societies for disposing of strangers, and the beastly annointing of all who oppose their plans. With this council I am told, the Indians hold a correspondence, and men are frequently rent to colleague with them. Some three or four are now on a visit to the western tribes. Of late, one of their number of the name of Dunham, died among the Indians; he went by the name of "Black Hawk," and was known by that cognomen among many of the Mormons. On the company to which he belonged returning to Nauvoo, a portion of them were sent to the east, for the purpose of raising men for a general campaign among the Indians, to be entitled 'secret braves.' The names of these men can easily be had. The circumstances under which I left Nauvoo are such, that I feel it a duty thus to lay them before my friends and brethren. I did not leave that place too soon, for the very day of my departure it was whispered to me that a secret plot was already concocted for taking away my life.
The saints then, will see from the foregoing, that although it was my privilege to act as counselor to the church, and as patriarch over the whole church, in the place of my brother Hyrum, a fact, with regard to right, which had been over and over again admitted, as the brethren must all well remember. But now how have things changed? All the acts of those who have usurped the power have been most illiberal and uncharitable towards me, and the most flagrant outrage of rights as well as the breaking of sacred covenants have plainly shown their treachery and deceit.
All these things combine with their secret combinations, I conceive to be ample cause to induce me to disfellowship such men, and to denounce all their measures. Deprived of the right of acting as counselor of the saints during the last summer, I have been obliged to sit down in silence, and permit iniquity; anarchy and oppression to go on unrestrained. I feel as though I would even now shrink from the task of exposing these matters, were it not for the promptings of duty, and a hope that good may ultimately result -- I leave the event with God While I write to you, my brethren, the feeling that I have been wronged and abused, is struggling for the mastery. With full confidence however, I leave it to my friends, and the friends of justice to say, whether or not, after all the labors of my father's family, of my brother Joseph in particular, to build up the church of Christ, after all the sacrifices made by them, and the privations and persecutions endured by them, I leave it, I say, to all feeling and honest hearts, to pronounce whether or not men who never saw or knew Joseph Smith, until all such sacrifices have been made; should assume the privilege of casting off the Smith family, and depriving his lineal successors of the right to teach and direct the church and correct its evils. Such a course of proceeding, and by a band of men, too, whose deeds would make "the very heavens blush," and the honest in heart to quake, were they fully exposed to the light. -- Even while I pen these remarks to you I fancy I see the care worn visage of my poor old mother, broken down, as she is and almost worn out with the accumulated troubles of years. I see too, in fancy, three sisters, with their husbands, struggling hard in the midst of poverty; relatives, my friends, who have endured the contumely of the world, and who have had to brave the storm of persecution from the first, in peril, in wretchedness, and in want. To think, I say, of all they have gone through, and that now they should be deprived of all honor and station in the church, have no word of controlment in the affairs of the church, and that those who did seem to have a valor, should be now shut out, cannot possible appear to the brethren as anything else than acts of ingratitude and illiberality. My poor old mother has witnessed (it was not enough) the burial of him who was the partner of her life, of my poor father, the good old patriarch, but his departure to the grave has no effect on the feelings of these usurpers of power, nor has either the melancholy martyrdom of her two sons, my brothers. I feel, brethren, as though I were alone among thousands, and my griefs have remained hidden within my own breast, lest they should disturb the peace of a parent almost within her grave. I have borne these oppressions and wrongs until I feel as though they had eaten into my heart like a devouring worm, and wasted my life away for lack of peace, of rest, and of hope. Night and day prayed I that the bitter cup might pass, but the thought will obtrude itself, of all that has been done, and ungratefully repaid, to my mother, my brethren, and my sisters. I cannot but think of the thousands they have fed and clothed, and of the awful storms of persecution they have waded through, and of the threatenings of death they have boldly faced, in order to build up the church, that now should be imparting spiritual life to millions of souls. I cannot but solemnly think, too, that she who was the mother of the prophet should now, in these evil times, be ridiculed on the public stand. And by the very men over whom she has acted as a mother in the church. These accumulations of sorrow have been to me alone beyond endurance, and my brethren, must pardon any evidence of weakness. Pardon, however, need not be hatred for telling simple and plain truths. "Vincit omnis veritas," is an old and just motto, "truth conquers all things," and respecting it there cannot need excuse. I anticipate nothing more or less than the hatred of these men to whom I have referred in the foregoing remarks, the vials of their wrath will undoubtedly be poured out on my head, and the bitterest anathemas altered against me, to injure and misrepresent my character and motives. But these things will not be done by any fair and honorable means; drowning men, as saith the proverb, always snatch at straws, and this will be in regard to these matters. By vile means will they seek to accomplish their vile purposes, or as the poets say: "Crowns won by blood by blood must be maintained," and that "the God of Justice sanctifies no evil as a step towards good." "Great actions cannot be achieved by wicked means." Treachery and deceit have been the game played by these men until they have congregated around them a large body of people to Nauvoo, bound by covenants, promises, and secret oaths, to such an extent as to prevent them from breaking off or leaving these men. It is this by treachery and deceit, that their purposes have to be maintained Notwithstanding all these things, however, let the storm be ever so rough, I am fully prepared for the worst. By the help of God, I shall outride the tempest. Their mercy or their pity I solicit not; I look upon them as a disorganized body, without power to save, curse, or damn. Without power, also, to "cut off" Their acts, like wicked spirits, (for as such I regard them) will do only to be numbered with such like spirits in hell; and their deeds of cruelty and acts of injustice will assuredly sink them deeper and deeper in impenetrable darkness forever, unless they repent and restore all that they have taken away from the innocent. Not even a prayer of the murdered victims they have so much gloried in shall be theirs, and the candlestick shall be removed. There is, my brethren, not the slightest cause whatever why the church should have so long remained unorganized, and to be, as it now is, a mere headless body; the causes, however, from the foregoing statement, must now be plainly evident; it is usurpation, tyranny, and wickedness of the blackest dye, that have occasioned it all. Let the brethren read the prophets, and there they will plainly see that Samuel, the prophet, was ordained while he was yet only a child, as was also the prophet Noah. For the truth of these remarks, I refer you to our book of covenants, on lineage, ordinations, etc., etc. Even children were named, and their work and destiny appointed them, by the angel of God, while they were still unborn. It appears evident to me that when, hereafter, souls wake upon heaven, or the eternal world, it will be found that God did not lie, when he declared that in the posterity of Joseph all the nations of the earth should be blessed. And if Joseph does not frown upon those who profess that they are carrying out his measures, while at the same time they are robbing his son of his lawful inheritance, then I have but a poor idea of human justice, or of the moral virtues of the angels in heaven. To digress once more, be it remembered that John Taylor fancied he had done a brave thing when he published his false notions and misstatements with regard to my patriarchal office, at a time when he knew I had not the power of defense, in consequence of the rich and liberally installed virtues of the Nauvoo police. Poor simple man! "Christ did not confer the keys upon his brothers, but gave them to Peter!"
So he did, but why? Because he was of the royal blood no doubt. But why, Mr. Taylor, had you not read that Christ was of a branch of the house of Israel of which branch nothing was said concerning the priesthood? And again, it was not expected that Christ's priesthood should come through the lineage of his mother, but from God. Hence the saints will notice the difference. Joseph Smith inherited his priesthood by lineage, he being a descendant of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, and the same priesthood is continued from father to son -- as was, also, my patriarchal office inherited from my father and brother Hyrum.
And now, brethren, permit me to say, that so long as the sun, moon, and stars perform their successive revolutions, so long both on earth and hereafter, shall I have faith in the doctrine of legal descent, lineage & blood. And the 'Twelve' might as well claim to be my father and mother, as to claim to be the authors of my patriarchal priesthood, an office for which I return no thanks to any one on earth, but only to my Father in Heaven. It is an office to which I shall lay claim to the day of my death. It is upon such principles that I take my ground, and hold myself in readiness to meet any fate at the bar of God. The Twelve did not ordain me one of their number, nor decree my lineage in the Smith family, and I shall never suffer myself to be controlled by Brigham Young or any of his coadjutors. It was from a love of peace, my brethren and sisters, and from no other motive, that I have delayed the publication of these remarks. I determined to await till order and quietness were restored to Nauvoo, being unwilling to inflame a wicked and unhallowed mob, to distress the Innocent and unoffending. I well know that there are hundreds of honest Saints, of good and virtuous, and noble spirits, in the city of Nauvoo, respecting whom I hope and pray that they will canvass these things in their minds and snap asunder their present yoke of oppression, and strive to secure to all a just recompense of what is due to them.
God knows I wish to do right and to see the church prosper; to this end I have labored for years. My only desire now is that my friends be calm and devote their minds to the cultivation of the spirit of kindness; to do good to all, to deal justly, and to love mercy. The doctrine that the gentiles are a prey to devouring fire, and under the wrath of God, shews nothings but a malignant spirit, the very reverse of the feeling of the Holy Being that died for us on the cross. Let the saints content themselves in different bodies in the different states, and build churches and school houses, for the edification and education of themselves and children, and thus become a delightful people, clad with Gospel grace.
And now may the God of peace and abundant mercy abide with all the faithful. May He be present with all the honest in heart, and may He deliver the innocent from all fear, and prompt the pure-minded saint, to come out, and assist in building up the kingdom as it was at the beginning. That Zion may put on her beautiful garments, and see no more the wasting and destruction of her borders. Let the feeling of the heart be to bury every weapon of death, and learn war no more. Ever and anon, my friends and brethren, you will hear from me again. In the mean time permit me to assure you that I am in all sincerity of heart and singleness of purpose your affectionate and devoted brother. Also your earnest fellow-laborer in the gospel.
One of the "Twelve," and Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
PROCLAMATION OF BILL SMITH.
But few productions have
appeared, in the history of Mormonism, that have been sought for with more
avidity than the extraordinary Proclamation of Bill Smith, which we publish in
today's paper. It is a document, which taken in connection with the testimony,
previously elicited, establishes beyond a doubt, the utter depravity of the
Mormon Leaders and the dangerous nature of the secret combinations existing in
In relation to the author, Smith, we have but little to say. He is doubtlessly actuated, in this expose, by selfish and interested motives, and were it not for the fact that he has been virtually stripped of power in Nauvoo he, in all probability, would never have appeared before the public.
Smith has the reputation of being a man of candor and generosity, and were it not that he has been so long subjected to the corrupting influences of Mormonism, we should have some confidence that he was really actuated by a desire to expose iniquity.
Notwithstanding we can give Smith but little credit for his motives, we yet believe his statements. The composition bears, on the face of it, the evidence of its truth. There is nothing about it except its religious matter that is overstrained or improbable; but it is a plain narrative, corroborating the statements which have been so repeatedly made by seceders from the Mormon Church.
There is one thing about it which we do not like and that is his opposition to the California Expedition; still, we think, it is highly probable that Smith will be confirmed. If we were called on to give advice to the Saints, in relation to the best course for them to pursue, we would say: First; Hang the Twelve, the Bishops and the City police, and then scatter through those communities, which, in the late difficulties, expressed so much sympathy in your favor.
Note: William Smith first printed his "Proclamation" as a broadside or a tract, at Galena, Illinois, in an edition of 500 copies, a few days prior to its publication in the Signal's as a reprint. No doubt the reprint reached many more readers than did William's original notice.
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