Discourse, 6 April 1843–B, as Reported by Times and Seasons

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President Joseph Smith said, I think it best to continue this subject. I want the elders to make honorable proclamation abroad concerning what the feelings of the first presidency is, for stealing has never been tolerated by them. I [p. 183] despise a thief above ground. He would betray me if he could get the opportunity. I would know that he would be a detriment to my cause, and if I were the biggest rogue in the world, he would steal my hourse when I wanted to run away.
It has been said that some were afraid to disclose what they know of these secret combinations, consequently I issued a proclamation which you may read in the Wasp, No. 48, which the president read,
To the Citizens of .
Whereas it appears by the re-publication of the foregoing proceedings and de[c]laration, that I have not altered my views on the subject of stealing: And whereas it is reported that there now exists a band of desperadoes, bound by oaths of secrecy, under severe penalties in case any member of the combination divulges their plans of stealing and conveying properties from station to station, up and down the and other routes: And whereas it is reported that the fear of the execution of the pains and penalties of their secret oaths, on their persons, prevents some of the members of said secret asociation, (who have, through falsehood and deceit, been drawn into their snares,) from divulging the same to the legally Constituted authorities of the land:
Know ye, therefore, That I, Joseph Smith, Mayor of the city of , will grant and ensure protection against all personal mob violence, to each and every citizen of this , who will freely and voluntarily come before me, and truly make known the names of all such abominable characters as are engaged in said secret combination for stealing, or are accessary thereto in any manner; and I would respectfully solicit the co-operation of all ministers of Justice, in this and the neighboring states, to ferret out a band of thievish outlaws from our midst.
Given under my hand at , this 25th day of March, A. D. 1843.
Mayor of said .
If any man is afraid to disclose what he knows about this gang of thieves let him come to me, and tell me the truth, and I will protect him from violence. Thieving must be stopped.
Opportunity was then offered to the elders to bring forward their appeals from other conferences, but no case was presented.
President Joseph continued his remarks and said; it is necessary that I make a proclamation, concerning ; and also in relation to the economy of the church on that side of the
It has been supposed that I made a great bargain with a certain great man at . He came to my house about the 1st of August 1842, a stranger, and put on a long face, and said he was “a stranger in the place, and he was in distress; and having understood that I was very benevolent, he had come to me for help. He said that he was about to loose $1400 at Sheriff’s sale for $300 cash. I have money in , which I expect in two or three days; but the sale takes place to-morrow, and I want to hire money for two or three days.” I thought of this subject over night. I did not like the looks of the man, but thought I, he is a stranger. I have been a stranger in a strange land, and whenever I have asked for assistance I have obtained it. It may be he is an honest man, and if I turn him away I shall be guilty of the sin of ingratitude, and I had better loose $200 in good faith, than be guilty of ingratitude. So I let him have the money and he gave me his note payable on demand, saying “whenever you call on me you shall have the money.”
When I was taken with ’s writ, I asked him for the money. “You ought to have it,” said he, “but I have not got my money from , I shall have it in a few days.” He then stated, I have a curious plan in my mind which I think may be profitable both for you and me. It is this, “I will give you a deed of all the land you bought of ; which is 20,000 acres: you paid the notes, and ought to have them; they are in my hands as his agent, and I will give them up.” I also propose deeding to you one half of my right to all my land in the ; and all I ask in return, is for you to give your influence to help to build up .”
I replied I have not asked for your property, and do not want it. I would not give a snap of my finger for it; but I will receive the papers, and if I find things as you say I will use my influence to build up ; but I will give you nothing for the land, and I want the $200 which is due me. He made out the deeds and gave them to me, and I got them recorded. He also gave up the most of the notes. I then said to , if you will go there, with the brethren, I will give you the property; but he would not accept it.
This man called for some more favors, and I let him have some cloth, &c. to the amount of six or seven hundred dollars. I have offered this land to many if they would go and settle there; but nobody will go. He began soon after to say to the brethren what obligations I was under to him. I wrote him a letter on the subject, but I have since found he is swindling, [p. 184] and there is no prospect of getting any thing from him.
He is owing me about $1100, and I thought it my duty to publish his rascality, that the elders might do the same in that , and prevent the brethren from being imposed upon.— He has got a writing to this effect, that if he owned as much as he pretended, and would do as he said, I would give my influence to build up , and on other terms.
His name is , he took this plan to swindle me out of money, cloth, boards, &c. I want all the congregation to know it. I was not going to use any influence to have the brethren to go to be swindled. My advice is, if they choose, that they come away from and not go there more; it is not a good location.
I am not so much a christian as many suppose I am, when a man undertakes to ride me for a horse, I feel disposed to kick up and throw him off, and ride him. David did so, and so did Joshua. My only weapon is my tongue. I would not buy property in the : I considered it stooping to accept it as a gift. [p. 185]