Elders’ Journal, August 1838

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive,—Eph 4; 12–14. And are the above things accomplished? Have the saints need to be perfected at the present day? Is there a necessity for the work of the ministry? Does the body of Christ -[the church]- still need edifying? Is the world of mankind tossed to and fro and carried about with the divers winds of doctrines. To the above questions I must answer in the affirmative.— Are the professed followers of Christ all in the unity of the faith. No; have they all the knowledge of the Son of God. No; we may safely say, because many of them deny the spirit of revelation and prophecy, by which the knowledge of the Son of God cometh.— Has the church become perfect even “into the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” No. Then it follows that the order of the kingdom is still necessary, inasmuch as the purpose is not fully accomplished, for which the order was given. When the heralds of the gospel in the 1st century, went forth acting upon those commissions, which had been respectively given them; there were certain effects followed which have never followed any other order, viz; the spiritual gifts that were placed in the church; or, the signs that Christ said “shall follow them that believe”. Let the reader examine the following passages Acts 8; 14–19 10; 44–46 and 19 5–6 and then consider whether the same effects flow from any order within his knowledge, which has been established between the third and nineteenth centuries. If not, then all such orders are none of them the order of God. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” There was a cause why the gifts were in the church of Christ; he placed them there; he commissioned men to teach repantance and remission of sins in his name, and to baptize those that believed.
They went forth, and taught through Jesus, ‘the resurrection of the dead’ and repentance and baptism for the remission of sins. People believed, were baptized, the apostles laid their hands upon them; ‘they received the Holy Ghost’ ‘spake with tongues and prophesied’. The Savior said signs should follow them that believed; they did follow.— ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits’. Doct. Mosheim says, ‘the sacrament of baptism was administered in this century -[1st]- without the public assemblies, in places appointed and prepared for that purpose, and was performed by an immersion of the whole body in the baptismal font:’ Vol. I. P. 36. ¶ 8. This was according to the teaching of the Savior, and the apostles; John 3; 5, ‘except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God’. Heb. 10; 22, ‘let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water’; Gal. 3; 27, [‘]for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ’. Read also Rom. 6; 35 and 1 Pet. 3; 20, 21. Did the gifts continue with the successors to the apostles. In Mosheims Church History Vol. I Page 29 we have the following, ‘what indeed contributed still farther to this glorious event, -[the spread of the gospel,]- was the power vested in the apostles of transmitting to their disciples these miraculous gifts; for many of the first christians were no sooner baptized according to Christs appointment, and dedicated to the service of God by solemn prayer and the imposition of hands, than they spoke languages which they had never learned before, foretold future events, healed the sick by pronouncing the name of Jesus, restored the dead to life, and performed many things above the reach of human power. One truth is clear. ‘the same cause will always produce the same effect’. A word to the saints and I have done, how can the branches bear fruit except they abide in the vine. How can the members be edified one of another, and the body be edified of the order except they are assembled together.
.
————
Mo. August, 1838.
TO THE PUBLIC.
Whereas a certain letter has been published in the Zions Watchman. (and perhaps in other prints) derogatory of the character of Presidents J. Smith Jr. and , purporting to come from me, I take this opportunity to correct the public mind concerning the matter.
Firstly, the letter as it stands in print, is not a true copy of the one I wrote: but is altered, so as to convey a different idea from the original.
But this much I acknowledge freely; that I did write a letter in great severity and harshness, censuring them both, in regard to certain business transactions but at the same time expressing my entire confidence in the faith of the church of Latter Day Saints the book of Mormon Doctrine and Covenants; this letter was written under feelings of excitement, and during the most peculiar trials. I did not however believe at the time and never have believed at any time before, or since, that these men were dishonest or had wrong motives or intentions, in any of their undertakings, either temporal or spiritual; I have ever esteemed them from my first acquaintance, as men of God, and as mighty instruments in his hands to bring forth, establish, and roll on the kingdom of God. But I considered them like other men, and as the prophets and apostles of old liable to errors, and nistakes, in things which were not inspired from heaven; but managed by their own judgement.
This letter was intended as a private admonition, it was never intended to be made public. But I have been long convinced, and have freely acknowledged both to these men and the public, that it was not calculated to admonish them in the spirit of meekness, to do them good, but rather to injure them and wound their feelings, and that I much regreted having written it, I have asked their forgiveness, and I hereby do it again. I no longer censure them for any thing that is past, but I censure myself for rashness, excitement imprudence, and many faults which I would [p. 50]
Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive,—Eph 4; 12–14. And are the above things accomplished? Have the saints need to be perfected at the present day? Is there a necessity for the work of the ministry? Does the body of Christ -[the church]- still need edifying? Is the world of mankind tossed to and fro and carried about with the divers winds of doctrines. To the above questions I must answer in the affirmative.— Are the professed followers of Christ all in the unity of the faith. No; have they all the knowledge of the Son of God. No; we may safely say, because many of them deny the spirit of revelation and prophecy, by which the knowledge of the Son of God cometh.— Has the church become perfect even “into the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” No. Then it follows that the order of the kingdom is still necessary, inasmuch as the purpose is not fully accomplished, for which the order was given. When the heralds of the gospel in the 1st century, went forth acting upon those commissions, which had been respectively given them; there were certain effects followed which have never followed any other order, viz; the spiritual gifts that were placed in the church; or, the signs that Christ said “shall follow them that believe”. Let the reader examine the following passages Acts 8; 14–19 10; 44–46 and 19 5–6 and then consider whether the same effects flow from any order within his knowledge, which has been established between the third and nineteenth centuries. If not, then all such orders are none of them the order of God. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” There was a cause why the gifts were in the church of Christ; he placed them there; he commissioned men to teach repantance and remission of sins in his name, and to baptize those that believed.
They went forth, and taught through Jesus, ‘the resurrection of the dead’ and repentance and baptism for the remission of sins. People believed, were baptized, the apostles laid their hands upon them; ‘they received the Holy Ghost’ ‘spake with tongues and prophesied’. The Savior said signs should follow them that believed; they did follow.— ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits’. Doct. Mosheim says, ‘the sacrament of baptism was administered in this century -[1st]- without the public assemblies, in places appointed and prepared for that purpose, and was performed by an immersion of the whole body in the baptismal font:’ Vol. I. P. 36. ¶ 8. This was according to the teaching of the Savior, and the apostles; John 3; 5, ‘except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God’. Heb. 10; 22, ‘let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water’; Gal. 3; 27, [‘]for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ’. Read also Rom. 6; 35 and 1 Pet. 3; 20, 21. Did the gifts continue with the successors to the apostles. In Mosheims Church History Vol. I Page 29 we have the following, ‘what indeed contributed still farther to this glorious event, -[the spread of the gospel,]- was the power vested in the apostles of transmitting to their disciples these miraculous gifts; for many of the first christians were no sooner baptized according to Christs appointment, and dedicated to the service of God by solemn prayer and the imposition of hands, than they spoke languages which they had never learned before, foretold future events, healed the sick by pronouncing the name of Jesus, restored the dead to life, and performed many things above the reach of human power. One truth is clear. ‘the same cause will always produce the same effect’. A word to the saints and I have done, how can the branches bear fruit except they abide in the vine. How can the members be edified one of another, and the body be edified of the order except they are assembled together.
.
————
Mo. August, 1838.
TO THE PUBLIC.
Whereas a certain letter has been published in the Zions Watchman. (and perhaps in other prints) derogatory of the character of Presidents J. Smith Jr. and , purporting to come from me, I take this opportunity to correct the public mind concerning the matter.
Firstly, the letter as it stands in print, is not a true copy of the one I wrote: but is altered, so as to convey a different idea from the original.
But this much I acknowledge freely; that I did write a letter in great severity and harshness, censuring them both, in regard to certain business transactions but at the same time expressing my entire confidence in the faith of the church of Latter Day Saints the book of Mormon Doctrine and Covenants; this letter was written under feelings of excitement, and during the most peculiar trials. I did not however believe at the time and never have believed at any time before, or since, that these men were dishonest or had wrong motives or intentions, in any of their undertakings, either temporal or spiritual; I have ever esteemed them from my first acquaintance, as men of God, and as mighty instruments in his hands to bring forth, establish, and roll on the kingdom of God. But I considered them like other men, and as the prophets and apostles of old liable to errors, and nistakes, in things which were not inspired from heaven; but managed by their own judgement.
This letter was intended as a private admonition, it was never intended to be made public. But I have been long convinced, and have freely acknowledged both to these men and the public, that it was not calculated to admonish them in the spirit of meekness, to do them good, but rather to injure them and wound their feelings, and that I much regreted having written it, I have asked their forgiveness, and I hereby do it again. I no longer censure them for any thing that is past, but I censure myself for rashness, excitement imprudence, and many faults which I would [p. 50]
Page 50