Minutes and Discourses, 11 April 1844

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Thursday April 11th. 1844 9 o clock A.M. Council met pursuant to adjournment in the , Prest. J. Smith in the chair.
The chairman read the following letter from , viz.
April 10th. 1844. To the Honorable president and councillors of the kingdom of God, Sirs, Circumstances that is not in my power to controll prevent me from meeting with you on the 11 Inst. I will therefore say from the confidence which I have in your deliberation, I will most cheerfully give my sanction to all measures which may receive your sanction.
Yours very respectfully
[p. [94]]
On motion was excused.
Er said Uncle was detained by sickness.
On motion he was also excused.
Some members yet being absent, a messenger was sent to request their immediate attendance, inasmuch as no motion could become a law without the vote of all the members of the Council, except they were sent away on business for the council.
The chairman vacated his seat and called to the chair.
The absent members arrived & was seated.
On motion the minutes of the last meeting was read and accepted, after which
Prest J. Smith introduced [p. [95]] and Mr to the council and requested the to give a history of the nature of the council.
The said “he arose with pleasure to explain the nature & object of the council. The design was to form a Theocracy according to the will of Heaven, planted without any intention to interfere with any government of the world. We wish to have nothing to do with them. We have no violence to offer to governments, no rights to infringe. The object is to live so far above their laws that they cannot interfere with us, unless by violence. We will hunt a spot somewhere on the earth where no other government has jurisdiction and cannot [p. [96]] interfere with us and there plant our standard. You need not fear that we design to trample on the rights of any man or set of men, only to seek the enjoyment of our own rights. It is nevertheless necessary to be careful and prudent inasmuch as there is so much disposition in the minds of men to cry treason at every thing we do. We may expect to have every specie of iniquity and mobocracy practised upon us that can be; hence the necessity of the utmost confidence & integrity amongst ourselves”. He then referred to the rule that was adopted in the organization of the council respecting those who might turn traitor. He continued and said “We have been betrayed in times [p. [97]] past, and we consider it wisdom to be careful, lest some pervert the truth and make trouble. We do not intend to make fools of ourselves, of each other or of our God, but when we make a covenant we intend to keep it”.
Those brethren were called upon to say if they assented to the regulations of the council. They answered in the affirmative.
Prest. J. Smith followed on the same subject. He said there was nothing to require a man to submit to the order of the council unless he was so disposed. Any man who did not acquiesce with our regulations could withdraw & say nothing about it. He could either go or tarry as he saw proper.
The brethren further signified their [p. [98]] entire assent separately
The said further that we had chosen our beloved Prest. Joseph Smith as our standing chairman, and our mouth between us and our God
On motion the candidates were received by unanimous vote and were seated in order.
On motion of Er it was Resolved, that whenever convenient, our councils shall be opened by prayer, beginning at the oldest and down through the council in order to the youngest.
Prest. J. Smith further suggested the propriety of reading a chapter on opening our councils—agreed to unanimously
the chairman pro. tem. [p. [99]] read Isaiah chap 40 & offered prayer.
On motion the name of the council was read for the benifit of the new members & cheerfully accepted by them.
Er called for the report of the Committee.
Prest. J. Smith offered some remarks of a political character and referred to a discourse between him & in relation to our political name. He said that had asked the question as to our political title and he had told him it should be, “Jeffersonianism, Jeffersonian Democracy, free trade and Sailors rights, protection of person & property[”]
On motion the name was unanimously adopted [p. [100]]
Er arose to say that the first edition of “General Smiths views of the powers and policy of the Government of the U.S.” was near all sold and he motioned that a new edition be published with the foregoing “namefor its caption
Er asked whether “Jeffersonian” or “Jefferson” Democracy was most proper.
Prest. J. Smith said one was proper as the other.
The question was called for and the motion adopted unanimously
The call for the report of the Committee was renewed, whereupon arose and said that in consequence [p. [101]] of public engagements during conference which was indispensible they had had no opportunity to meet since last council and on behalf of the committee requested further time
On motion further time was given
Er of the committee arose to say that probably the document in progress was the most important ever undertaken by any committee and required time; and as the conference was important, they had considered it wisdom to give all the impetus they could to the conference. He said that inasmuch as we have a lawgiver appointed of heaven he was anxious that the committee could have his assistance to prepare the document. [p. [102]]
Er said that he had learned that inasmuch as we had a man appointed to guide us, that no undertaking seems to go right without his assistance, and they would finally have to call his assistance after all. The savior said without me ye can do nothing. He thinks the shortest way is to have the prest. come to it first as last
Er motioned that Prest. J. Smith be added to the Committee which was seconded by Er
Prest. J. Smith arose and said that the committee were first appointed to bring forth all the intelligence they could, and when their productions were presented to him he could correct the [p. [103]] errors and fill the interstices where it was lacking. He had considered that a Theocracy consisted in our exercising all the intelligence of the council, and bringing forth all the light which dwells in the breast of every man, and then let God approve of the document & receiveing the sanction of the council it becomes a law. Theocracy as he understands it is, for the people to get the voice of God and then acknowledge it, and see it executed. It is necessary for the council to exhaust their wisdom, and except they do they will never know but they are as wise as God himself, and ambitious men will, like Lucifer think they are as wise as God and will try to lift themselves up and put their foot [p. [104]] on the necks of others. There has always been some man to put himself forward and say I am the great I &c. I want the council to exert all their wisdom in this thing, and when they see that they cannot get a perfect law themselves, and I can, then, they will see from whence wisdom flows. I know I can get the voice of God on the subject. Vox populi, Vox Dei. The voice of the people assenting to the voice of God. There never has been a man in this age who could tell the people what the true principles of liberty was. Washington did not do it. I dont want to be ranked with that committee I am a committee of myself, and cannot mingle with any committee in such [p. [105]] matters. The station which I hold is an independant one and ought not to be mingled with any thing else. Let the Committee get all the droppings they can from the presence of God and bring it to me, and if it needs correction or enlargement I am ready to give it. The principles by which the world can be governed is the principle of two or three being united. Faith cannot exist without a concentration of two or three. The sun, moon and planets roll on that principle. If God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost were to disagree, the worlds would clash together in an instant. He referred to and his farming & said God would prosper him because he gets [p. [106]] his mind right. When I get any thing from God I shall be alone. I understand the principles of liberty we want. I have had the instructions It is necessary that this council should abide by their instructions. From henceforth let it be understood that I shall not associate with any committee I want every man to get knowledge, search the laws of nations and get all the information they can. There can be no exceptions taken to any thing that any man can say in this council. I dont want any man ever to assent to any thing in this council and then find fault with it. Dont decide in favor of any thing untill you know it. Every man ought to study Geography, [p. [107]] Governments and languages, so that he may be able to go forth to any nation and before any multitude with eloquence
Er said the observations by our Prest. so well accorded with his own feelings that he wanted to say a few words. When Moses was appointed to lead the people, God gave him Aaron to speak for him. When God called Enoch he wanted to know why God had done so inasmuch as he was an illiterate man &c. God told him to go forth and he would justify his words. Enoch went forth in the exercise of faith, not in the exercise of great words. God walked with him 300 years. Moses had power. before him Mount Sinai trembled and shook to the centre. Had Moses [p. [108]] not gone forth in the exercise of faith he would not have accomplished the work which God sent him to do. We stand in the same light. We have greater power and are called to do a greater work. We have more power than Enoch and have a greater work to do than Enoch had and we shall accomplish it.” He then referred to the principles of a Theocracy and hopes every man will get into the spirit of his calling.
Dr said he had thought there was a motion before the house & consequently had seconded it. He did it that we might get instruction on the subject. He knew that Prest. J. Smith would not mingle with the committee
Er arose to explain [p. [109]] the reason why he offered the resolution. He compared the work of Prest. J. Smith with the work of the saviour & showed the importance of his undertaking. He will stand by the Prest. and support him. If a man fall into the mud he wants every man to be willing to lift him up. In the committee he would do every thing he could to accomplish the thing he was appointed to accomplish”. He went on to prove from the scriptures that Prest. Joseph is the man chosen of God to bring to pass the establishment of the kingdom of God. If after all our labors we should not be able to get what we want we will then call upon our head. He next referred [p. [110]] to the constitution of the and the declaration of Independance. In that there are a few pearls but a tremendous sight of chaff. Our spirits are eternal in the shape of God Almighty, and was put into this body which is like unto an earthen vessel. There was then another spirit which was the breath of life breathed into me. The framers of the constitution had the spirits God gave them. He next referred to the persecution The saints remain driven & exiled holding their hands to heaven for redress. The boasted freedom of these is gone, gone to hell, where the<​y​> (the mobbers) will all go if they do not repent. Our women have been abused [p. [111]] by them, some of whom have the name of being religious. He next referred to the Red men of the forrest and how the citizens of the had used them &c. The times of the gentiles are fulfilled and God will convert their riches for the use of his people. He asked the prayers of the council on behalf of the committe that they might be enabled to do the best they could at the document. He will put in every mans hands a whip to lass [lash?] the rascals naked through the world and then as Mc Duff says cursed be he that says he has enough He then referred to the earth being divided and mans life shortened, and said that inasmuch as there was a promise to restore the earth, why ought we not [p. [112]] to look for our lives to be lengthened.
Er offered a motion to adjourn which was over-ruled.
Er arose to repeat the expression of the other evening for he feels this to be the happiest moment he ever enjoyed. He feels as though his soul expanded every time we meet. We have never realized the strength and power of the simple expressions in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants—“Be patient for I am laying the foundation of a great work”. It may yet be said that we are still laying the foundation of a great work, and I am happy that I have the privilege of associating with our beloved prophet and the members of this council, and [p. [113]] prays that I may live as long as Moses” He said he never rejoiced as much as he did to day when Prest. Joseph was making his remarks. He concluded by offering a motion that this honorable assembly receive from this time henceforth and forever, Joseph Smith, as our Prophet, Priest & King, and uphold him in that capacity in which God has anointed him.
The motion was seconded and accepted unanimously.
A motion was offered to take a second expression on s motion.
The wishing to make a remark on the subject Er was called to the chair [p. [114]] then offered as an amendment that the above expression be received with Hossannas to God and the Lamb and motioned that we adjourn at the same time.
Er said that was his original motion.
A motion was offered to adjourn and discussed.
The vote was then taken on the resolution offered by , the amendment by , coupled with an adjournment for one hour.
Whereupon the council adjourned agreeable to s motion with shouts of Hossanna to God and the Lamb Amen and Amen [p. [115]]
Thursday April 11th. 1844 2 o clock P.M. Council met pursuant to adjournment and opened by singing two Hymns
The chairman made some remarks on the absence of brother the cause of absence, and his good feelings towards the council &c
He then went on to say that for the benifit of mankind and succeeding generations he wished it to be recorded that there are men admitted members of this honorable council, who are not members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, neither profess any creed or religious sentiment whatever, to show that in the organization of this [p. [116]] kingdom men are not consulted as to their religious opinions or notions in any shape or form whatever and that we act upon the broad and liberal principal that all men have equal rights, and ought to be respected, and that every man has a privilege in this organization of choosing for himself voluntarily his God, and what he pleases for his religion, inasmuch as there is no danger but that every man will embrace the greatest light. God cannot save or damn a man only on the principle that every man acts, chooses and worships for himself; hence the importance of thrusting from us every spirit of bigotry and intollerance towards [p. [117]] a mans religious sentiments, that spirit which has drenched the earth with blood— When a man feels the least temptation to such intollerance he ought to spurn it from him. It becomes our duty on account of this intollerance and corruption—the inalienable right of man being to think as he pleases—worship as he pleases &c being the first law of every thing that is sacred—to guard every ground all the days of our lives. I will appeal to every man in this council beginning at the youngest that when he arrives to the years of Hoary age he will have to say that the principles of intollerance and bigotry never had a place in this [p. [118]] kingdom, nor in my breast, and that he is even then ready to die rather than yeild to such things. Nothing can reclaim the human mind from its ignorance, bigotry, superstition &c but those grand and sublime principles of equal rights and universal freedom to all men. We must not despise a man on account of infirmity. We ought to love a man more for his infirmity. Nothing is more congenial to my feelings and principles, than the principles of universal freedom and has been from the beginning. If I can know that a man is susceptible of good feelings & integrity and will stand by his friends, he is my friend. The only thing I am afraid of is, that I will not live long [p. [119]] enough to enjoy the society of these my friends as long as I want to. Let us from henceforth drive from us every species of intollerance. When a man is free from it he is capable of being a critic. When I have used every means in my power to exalt a mans mind, and have taught him righteous principles to no effect—he is still inclined in his darkness, yet the same principles of liberty and charity would ever be manifested by me as though he embraced it. Hence in all governments or political transactions a mans religious opinions should never be called in question. A man should be judged by the law independant of religious prejudice, hence we want in our [p. [120]] constitution those laws which would require all its officers to administer justice without any regard to his religious opinions, or thrust him from his office. There is only two or three things lacking in the constitution of the . If they had said all men all born equal, and not only that but they shall have their rights, they shall be free, or the armies of the government should be compelled to enforce those principles of liberty. And the President or Governor who does not do this, and who does not enforce those principles he shall lose his head. When a man is thus bound by a constitution he cannot refuse to protect his subjects, he dare not do it. And when a Governor [p. [121]] or president will not protect his subjects he ought to be put away from his office.
I can cloth the old skeleton (referring to a figure used by to shew his views of the present constitution) although it was an old dead horses head, but it is not necessary for it only requires two or three sentences in a constitution to govern the world. Only cloth the officers of government with the power of free tolerance and compel them to exercise and enforce those principles and we have what we want. Give our Marshal the power of free tolerance and see if he would not exercise it. Only think! When a man can enjoy his liberties and has the power of [p. [122]] civil officers to protect him, how happy he is”.
While the president was speaking on these subjects he felt animated and used a 24 inch gauge or rule pretty freely till finally he broke it in two in the middle.
Er said, that as the rule was broken in the hands of our chairman so might every tyrannical government be broken before us.
Mr arose to thank the chair for the explanation given concerning himself and the two other gentlemen, who are admitted members of this council and are not members of the Church. He is not connected with any religious body. He has sought after [p. [123]] virtue and truth, but has seen mens practices so contrary to their preaching that he had turned his attention another way. He is most happy to day to see the liberality displayed by this body. He related an anecdote of an old Indian who visited , when at supper the landlord had nothing but skunk to eat—it was skunk upon skunk and nothing but skunk—and he considered it was just so with the sectarian religion it was skunk upon skunk & nothing else. He concluded by illustrating his views of the situation of our government by relating an anecdote of a sick woman.
Er said, “whilst he had been listening to the remarks made [p. [124]] he had been led to reflect whether he had ever heard of any thing in religion that was calculated to make a man happy except the principles enjoyed here. This is the happiest time he ever saw. He never has been very unhappy. At this time there are those things that create in him feelings of which he has only enjoyed a very small taste, and he now begins to feel the inconvenience of not having capacity to enjoy more. There is a spirit in it which demonstrates an eternal progress. It is like a fire in his bones, and he feels full and wants to enjoy more. he must know more. If he were to go according to his feelings he should be perfectly rediculous. The feelings originate in his being pleased. [p. [125]] and as this thing pleases him better than anything else he ever knew before he feels more happy. He looks for a full and perfect emancipation of the whole human race, that the sound of oppression should be buried in eternal oblivion. The paltry considerations of earthly gain and glory falls into insignificance before the glories we now realize. The object we have in view is not to save a man alone or a nation, but to call down the power of God and let all be blessed, protected, saved and made happy—burst of the chains of oppression. This is a kingdom worth having. The political principals of this kingdom comes down from heaven and reaches down to the prisons of the dead. What we want of it is just [p. [126]] enough to protect a man in his rights. but we never read of a government that would do that. Reference had been made to the government of Enock, but it went away. It was so like God and so unlike man that they could not bear it. He referred to the kingdom spoken of by Daniel as a stone cut out of the mountain without hands which rolled untill it filled the whole earth. A stone does not roll up hill, but down. This stone was to roll, and expand, gather strength and gather force all the while, so the kingdom of God will begin to roll and continue to roll, and attract to itself all the purity, virtue and goodness out of every nation and kingdom wherever it exists. It is like the magnet, it will [p. [127]] attract every thing of similar properties to itself. This is the kind of a kingdom that pleases him. He is glad to live in this age, and is glad that he did not live sooner. He wants to live to see the rolling of the kingdom. The assurance of the everlasting and eternal duration of the kingdom will cap the climax of our happiness and joy. If God has appointed a man to rise to immortal glory he will rise with him, for he will hold on to the skirts of his garments. He has not reflected on the sacrifice we may have to make, for he does not think any sacrifice to great to make for the glories of this kingdom, even if it requires us to leave father, mother, wives & children. He that will not leave that these, cannot enjoy the kingdom, because he cannot [p. [128]] attend to it. He referred to the excuses made at the marriage supper spoken of in a parable by the Saviour. It proves to us, that there is nothing so dear, no ties so great that we cannot part with for the kingdom even if the ties be as strong as existed in the bosom of Abraham towards Isaac. If a man will not sacrifice, the principle of a God is not in him. When a man is tried in every point, then nothing is left but the will of God, and he will then be clothed with the power of God, and it brings him peace and eternal happiness.
arose to give some reasons for the course he had taken [p. [129]] in relation to this last kingdom—this last order of Heaven—this last order of Government &c that will ever take place. He is well aware that there are some things necessary to enable any man, however competent, to realize the importance of this subject. There are certain things necessary to be observed to uphold any reflecting mind in this thing. He can see that according to the highest light and evidence that we have, one question is settled, that is, that the earth is fast approaching its dissolution. There were things in relation to this world that must approximate to the crisis now approaching. There never has been an organization, no odds by whom or [p. [130]]ganized, of a government whether monarchial, aristocratic or Republic that was adapted to the wants of the community at large. If there ever had been such it would have been on the earth at this day. The organization of this government is an anomaly, brought into existence to accomplish a something which no other government ever did. He understood the great Jehovah to be the God of the whole earth, its founder & author &c, and he never would rest untill he had accomplished his purposes in relation to it. God looked down upon the nations of the earth as a father looks upon his children. He saw one of his children trying to rule another, [p. [131]] inventing systems of religious government &c., trying to gain power and ascendency over one another, but he had decreed that he would put an end to such an order, because he loved them, and establish a government so exalted in its principles as not to permit of corruption. However the world may have looked upon us, they will view us in a very different light. They will view us as the only persons in possession of the pure principles of wisdom and intelligence God designed that we should give our assent to the appointment of a King in the last days; and our religious, civil and political salvation depends on that thing. [p. [132]]
The nations of the are earth are very fast approximating to an utter ruin and overthrow. All the efforts the nations are making will only tend to hasten on the final doom of the world and bring it to its final issue. All the various inventions and specimens of the ingenuity of man, although calculated to increase the happiness of man, will tend to hasten on the approaching dissolution of the earth.
God looked through the vista of unborn time, and saw the history of unborn nations from the beginning” The speaker then glanced at the character of the various nations and kingdoms of the earth from Moses to Nebuchadnezar. He said “It is arts and sciences [p. [133]] that makes a nation terrible in war, Antiquity shows us that those nations never ceased their civilizations and overthrows of each other. Civilization was a curse, and the efforts men made was only preparing them for destruction. The nations now have no better understanding, nor are they better calculated to govern than they were then. Death and desolation will come next. Wars the most terrible. The destruction of Jerusalem was but a small circumstance compared to that which will follow the work of the last days. Well might the great father say, that he will cut the work short in righteousness. He looks at the present state of things. He contemplates [p. [134]] the approaching dissolution when men will be ruined by their own inventions He referred to the blessings God would bestow upon his people when he had established his kingdom. The toil of man and the sweat of his brow would cease. Every thing would be fruitful and happy.—
Er said he felt like a person who enters a vineyard where there is an abundance of every good thing but is careful which to touch. He refferred to the glorious instructions and intelligence which had dropped from the lips of the preceeding speakers. He said the principle of free toleration is noble and endearing. It is only the guilty mind that is intolerant: they are afraid of Exposure. [p. [135]] He felt that we are certain of success in the accomplishment of our purposes, viewing the union which exists in our midst. He referred to the contrast between this council and the situations of the nations of the earth. He concluded his remarks by expressing his grateful feelings for the principles inculcated by the members of this council.
Er spoke of some things he had thought of during the day. He would like to have a king to reign in righteousness, and inasmuch as our president is proclaimed prophet, priest and king. He is ready when the time comes to go and tell the news to 10000 people. The people will be for war when [p. [136]] we have grown, yet they will say let us not go to war against Zion for the inhabitants thereof are terrible. He referred to the remarks made by Catlin [Catiline] to the Roman Senate and compared them to our governors and statesmen.
Er expressed his satisfaction for the principles of liberality so nobly displayed during the day. He then referred to the principles afloat in the world, especially those of infidelity. He spake on the constitution of the its liberality &c He referred especially to the liberal (Ironical) principle which requires a foreigner to serve seven years before he can become a government officer. He also referred to the situation [p. [137]] of the sectarian world, showing that their progress had been by bloodshed and oppression, and to the principle of slavery being cherished in the . He hinted at an expression in Volneys ruins of Empires. He thought if Volney had lived he would have been a Mormon. He wished the day would soon come when he could have the privilege of proclaiming to the heads at that the kingdom of God was set up.
Er thinks that although much has been said there are many things which have not been hinted at. He was comforted at the sound of the word liberty, but never felt as though he fully realised it. He expressed his gratification for the privilege of being [p. [138]] a member of this council, and his delight at the displays of the principles of freedom and liberality as they exist amongst us. He looked back to the expressions of his father, and related a dream which his father dreamed before he died. He considered that whatever we can get that is good and benificial for ourselves, it is good for our neighbors. He spake of the kingdom of God in the last days, and did not expect that it would ever be thrown down, but that the standard would be exalted and all nations flow unto it. He considers that his life is but a trifle compared with the glory which surrounds us. He feels much interested for the salvation of his family. He feels grateful for the power [p. [139]] and blessings which God has poured on him. He realizes the glory of it. He referred to the persecution in . that there was no patriot to take their part. Also that they had appealed to Congress for redress but they would do nothing for us. He signified his determination to use his endeavors to carry on this work if it took all he had. He referred to the time when every man would sit under his own vine and fig tree and there would be none to make them afraid
A motion to adjourn was heard from several members.
Er wished before adjournment to make a few remarks on the present prospects of being annexed as stated in the public papers. [p. [140]] He thinks there is no doubt but it will be annexed if it is not already done.
The chairman said we need have no apprehensions on the subject inasmuch as God has the matter in his own hands.
The motion to adjourn was renewed whereupon the council adjourned till next thursday at 9 o clock to meet in the council Room.—— [6 lines blank] [p. [141]]