On 16 August 1842, while in hiding at ’s house, JS blessed and several others. At the same time, JS reflected on the loyalty demonstrated to him by Derby, , , and many other friends and family members. In accordance with his plan to “continue the subject again,” JS dictated further reflections on 23 August, after he had relocated and was hiding in his in , Illinois.
JS believed it was important to include the names of faithful Latter-day Saints in the Book of the Law of the Lord, which had used to record tithing donations since late 1841 and which had served as JS’s journal since late 1841 or early 1842. The Book of the Law of the Lord had apparently been created in response to direction JS gave in an 1832 letter to , in which he explained that the ’s clerk was appointed “to keep a hystory and a general church reccord of all things that transpire in and of all those who consecrate properties and receive inhertances legally from the and also there manner of life and the faith and works.” The names of faithful Saints, JS emphasized, should be recorded in “the book of the Law of God”; he warned that those whose names were not found there “shall not find an inheritence among th[e] saints.” By 1842, the Book of the Law of the Lord was being used, in part at least, to record the names of those who supported JS during times of trial, as demonstrated in these featured reflections.
JS dictated these reflections while hiding from officers intent on arresting and extraditing him to . An editorial in the 15 August issue of the Times and Seasons placed this extradition attempt within a longer narrative of the Saints’ persecution at the hands of Missourians. This narration of persecution represented a counterpoint to the desire to record the righteous deeds of faithful Saints; in an 1839 letter written from a Missouri , JS had instructed the Saints to record and publish “the names of all persons that have had a hand in their oppressions.”
The entries featured here begin with a blessing for , who was staying with JS while he was in hiding and was carrying letters from JS to and . After pronouncing the blessing, JS transitioned into a wide-ranging reflection on individuals who exemplified loyalty and kindness; he then pronounced blessings upon several of them. The 16 August portion of the reflections begins with those who met with JS on an in the on 11 August and then broadens to others who had supported him during his time in hiding. In the 23 August portion, JS’s reflections and blessings extend to those who had assisted him earlier in his life. JS did not attempt to provide a comprehensive list but rather mentioned those who were “emblematical” of the many friends who had come to his aid. Near the end of these reflections, he turned his attention to those closest to him, dictating nostalgic reminiscences of his deceased father, , and brothers, and . His effort to create a record of faithful friends and family was consistent with other developments in . During this same period, JS introduced and rituals meant to unite the Saints in eternal family bonds and again emphasized the importance of recording the participants’ names.
On 16 August, JS dictated the blessing and the initial portion of the reflections to , who probably inscribed them onto a loose leaf before copying them into JS’s journal after returning to , likely between 16 and 20 August. JS’s scribes had a practice of setting aside pages in the Book of the Law of the Lord for journal entries and tithing donations. As a result, the scribes sometimes ran out of space when recording JS’s journal, forcing them to continue the inscription a number of pages later. Such was the case with the 16 August entry, which is broken up by pages of tithing donations. Clayton inscribed the 23 August portion of the reflections into JS’s journal as JS dictated it.
See Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 421–423, 477–478. Within days of dictating these reflections, JS spoke to the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo regarding baptism for the dead, instructing the members that “all persons baptiz’d for the dead must have a Recorder present. . . . It will be necessary in the grand Council.” In early September, he wrote to the Saints on the same topic, noting that a recorder must be present so that “it may be recorded in heaven.” (Minutes and Discourse, 31 Aug. 1842; JS, Journal, 4 Sept. 1842 [D&C 127:6–7].)
Bushman, Richard Lyman. Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. With the assistance of Jed Woodworth. New York: Knopf, 2005.
Clayton was with JS between 15 and 16 August and presumably did not have the very large Book of the Law of the Lord with him. He probably returned to Nauvoo on 16 or 17 August and likely copied the 16 August reflections in the Book of the Law of the Lord soon after returning and no later than 20 August, as suggested by the content of these and surrounding entries and changes in the ink color. (See Book of the Law of the Lord, 135, 164–167.)
<From Page 135> 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 , 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 , at the mouth of the slough, between and . With what unspeakable delight, and what transports of joy swelled my bosom, when I took by the hand on that night, my beloved , she that was my wife, even the wife of my youth; and the choice of my heart. Many were the re-vibrations 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 had strewed our paths and crowned our board. Oh! what a co-mingling of thought filled my mind for the moment, Again she <is> here, even in the seventh trouble, undaunted, firm and unwavering, unchangeable, affectionate . There was who next took me by the hand, a natural brother; thought I to myself, , 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. , 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 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. , 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. , , , 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 [p. 164]
A later account suggests that on the night of 10 August, JS traveled from Zarahemla, Iowa Territory, to Nauvoo and back again. A group gathered near the edge of the river before JS’s return trip. Thomas R. King recounted that as JS entered the skiff to return to Zarahemla, Hyrum Smith told him to put “his trust in the Lord,” to which JS responded, “Whether I put my trust in the Lord or not remember I am your Brother.” (Thomas R. King, Fillmore, Utah Territory, to George A. Smith, 21 Feb. 1868, Obituary Notices and Biographies, CHL.)
Obituary Notices and Biographies, 1854–1877. CHL. MS 4760.
Newel K. Whitney converted to the church in 1830, allowed JS and his family to live with him at various times in Kirtland, Ohio, and provided land and businesses for the benefit of the church. He was appointed a bishop in the church in December 1831 and had served as a trusted leader in the church since that time. (Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 221–248.)
Staker, Mark L. Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2009.
Thomas R. King later recounted that JS, while avoiding detection, stopped at the home of Newel K. Whitney; this probably occurred on the night of 10 August. (Thomas R. King, Fillmore, Utah Territory, to George A. Smith, 21 Feb. 1868, Obituary Notices and Biographies, CHL.)
Obituary Notices and Biographies, 1854–1877. CHL. MS 4760.