Journal, March–September 1838

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 45
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to be secured, in that vicinity Prest Smith and followed on in their course, but could not find them and consequently returned to the camp in , we next scouted west in order to obtain some game to suply our necessities but found or killed none, we [saw?] some ancient antiquities about one mile West of the camp, which conscisted of stone mounds, appearently laid up in squire [square] piles, though somewhat decayed and obliterated, by the almost continual rains undoubtedly these were made to seclude some valuable treasures deposited by the aborigionees of this land
<​20 3​> The next day we all traveled and located lands East, on and near the city of , towards knight Prest<​s​> smith & went to s and the remainder returned to the tents,
<​24​> The next morning the company returned to to finish the survey, and also returned to the surveying, and Prst smith returned to
<​25​> Friday this day our company went up the and made some locations, in the after part of the day we struck our tents, and mooved to s
<​26​> The next day we surveyed land across the opposite <​27​> sunday was spent principally at s. <​28​> The next morning we started for home . about noon we met <​Prst<​s.​>​> J Smith J and , and Some 15 or 20 others, who were going to seek locations in the north, we continued our way home where we arived Monday evening and found our families well &c, <​30​> th[e] 30 Prest returned <​to​> . Friday 1st of June Prest J Smith Jr on account of s sickness who was

Editorial Note
Though ’s journal keeping lapsed for most of June and July, he did summarize a pivotal month from 4 June through 4 July 1838 in two journal entries. JS spent much of June north of in , Missouri, at the newly designated Mormon settlement of , where he organized a stake on 28 June 1838—one year after some of the first Mormon settlers in Daviess County had been warned by local residents that they must leave. However, on 17 June JS was present at Far West when his counselor preached a provocative sermon. In response to ongoing activities of prominent excommunicated dissenters in that threatened to disrupt the community and undercut church leadership, Rigdon used as his text Matthew 5:13, likening the excommunicants to salt that had lost its savor and was “henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and trodden under foot of men.” According to one observer, JS seconded the thrust of Rigdon’s remarks. Following the “Salt Sermon,” George W. Robinson—the scribe for this journal—and eighty-two other Mormon men signed a letter warning , , , , and to leave Caldwell County within three days or be expelled by force. Later accounts claimed that the letter accused the excommunicants of counterfeiting and other crimes of deceit, stealing, and persecuting the Latter-day Saints through lawsuits. John Whitmer later recounted that Robinson, at the presidency’s instigation, began suing the named men, as well as , “by attachment for debts” and soon seized most of their belongings. All but Phelps, who wrote to the church presidency of his good intentions and willingness to rectify any wrong he had committed, soon left Far West under threats of physical violence. Though driving the men from Far West may have eased tensions within the community, the subsequent agitations of the outcasts increased tension between the Latter-day Saints and Missourians in neighboring counties.
In a 4 July oration at , two and a half weeks after the Salt Sermon, evoked the spirit of the Declaration of Independence by insisting that the Latter-day Saints must be free to act unhampered by persecution and specifically stated that they would not countenance vexatious lawsuits. After reviewing previous outrages suffered by the Latter-day Saints in , Rigdon concluded his speech by declaring that should opponents again use violence against the Latter-day Saints, the Saints would not only defend themselves but also wage “between us and them a war of extermination,” a threat that came back to haunt the Latter-day Saints in coming months. Rigdon’s defiant remarks were understood by adversaries as a declaration of independence from Missouri law.

4–5 June 1838 • Monday–Tuesday • With June–July 1838 Postscript
Monday 4th Prests. J Smith Jr [p. 45]
to be secured, Prest Smith and followed on in their course, but could not find them and consequently returned to the camp in , we next scouted west in order to obtain some game to suply our necessities but found or killed none, we saw some ancient antiquities about one mile West of the camp, which conscisted of stone mounds, appearently laid up in squire [square] piles, though somewhat decayed and obliterated, by the almost continual rains undoubtedly these were made to seclude some valuable treasures deposited by the aborigionees of this land
20 3 The next day we all traveled and located lands East, on and near the city of , towards knight Prests smith & went to s and the remainder returned to the tents,
24 The next morning the company returned to to finish the survey, and also returned to the surveying, and Prst smith returned to
25 Friday this day our company went up the and made some locations, in the after part of the day we struck our tents, and mooved to s
26 The next day we surveyed land across the opposite 27 sunday was spent principally at s. 28 The next morning we started for home . about noon we met Prsts. J Smith J and , and Some 15 or 20 others, who were going to seek locations in the north, we continued our way home where we arived Monday evening and found our families well &c, 30 the 30 Prest returned to . Friday 1st of June Prest J Smith Jr on account of s sickness who was

Editorial Note
Though ’s journal keeping lapsed for most of June and July, he did summarize a pivotal month from 4 June through 4 July 1838 in two journal entries. JS spent much of June north of in , Missouri, at the newly designated Mormon settlement of , where he organized a stake on 28 June 1838—one year after some of the first Mormon settlers in Daviess County had been warned by local residents that they must leave. However, on 17 June JS was present at Far West when his counselor preached a provocative sermon. In response to ongoing activities of prominent excommunicated dissenters in that threatened to disrupt the community and undercut church leadership, Rigdon used as his text Matthew 5:13, likening the excommunicants to salt that had lost its savor and was “henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and trodden under foot of men.” According to one observer, JS seconded the thrust of Rigdon’s remarks. Following the “Salt Sermon,” George W. Robinson—the scribe for this journal—and eighty-two other Mormon men signed a letter warning , , , , and to leave Caldwell County within three days or be expelled by force. Later accounts claimed that the letter accused the excommunicants of counterfeiting and other crimes of deceit, stealing, and persecuting the Latter-day Saints through lawsuits. John Whitmer later recounted that Robinson, at the presidency’s instigation, began suing the named men, as well as , “by attachment for debts” and soon seized most of their belongings. All but Phelps, who wrote to the church presidency of his good intentions and willingness to rectify any wrong he had committed, soon left Far West under threats of physical violence. Though driving the men from Far West may have eased tensions within the community, the subsequent agitations of the outcasts increased tension between the Latter-day Saints and Missourians in neighboring counties.
In a 4 July oration at , two and a half weeks after the Salt Sermon, evoked the spirit of the Declaration of Independence by insisting that the Latter-day Saints must be free to act unhampered by persecution and specifically stated that they would not countenance vexatious lawsuits. After reviewing previous outrages suffered by the Latter-day Saints in , Rigdon concluded his speech by declaring that should opponents again use violence against the Latter-day Saints, the Saints would not only defend themselves but also wage “between us and them a war of extermination,” a threat that came back to haunt the Latter-day Saints in coming months. Rigdon’s defiant remarks were understood by adversaries as a declaration of independence from Missouri law.

4–5 June 1838 • Monday–Tuesday • With June–July 1838 Postscript
Monday 4th Prests. J Smith Jr [p. 45]
Page 45