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February 1853


1 February 1853 • Tuesday

To-day was fast day and there had been meeting appointed. We got together about ½ past ten, and commenced meeting. The 58 chapter of Isaiah was read by me and I made some remarks, Bro. Napela followed; Bro. Keeler also spake, the meeting was given over to the saints; I they were lively in speaking, singing and praying and with the spirit accompanying what they said. I never heard so much good speaking by the brethren in one meeting before; the spirit was felt very powerfully by all—hunger was forgotten and all rejoiced; I was very much melted down and tears coursed rapidly down <my> cheeks, my joy was unutterable and I felt that words were too feeble to express any of my feelings. I sat still and listened and had not much disposition to talk myself; I spoke several times and was blessed as also Bro. K.1 We dismissed about ¼ past 4 P.M. Wrote this evening a long letter to my brothers and sisters in which I endeavered to give them good counsel. Wrote some in a letter of Bro. Keeler’s to Bro. [Thomas] Whittle

2 February 1853 • Wednesday

Last night was very stormy, a stiff Kona blowing, it shook the house so much that I could not sleep and laid awake praying. Variously engaged. Wrote in a letter of Bro. K’s to Bro. Holister.

3 February 1853 • Thursday

Variously engaged. In afternoon went to Waiehu to meeting. I wrote a letter to day to Bro. Hammond, Lahaina.

4 February 1853 • Friday

Translating a little to-day. Went to Waihee [Waihe‘e] to see <a man> of the name of Edmonds who was sick and had sent for me. Married a couple on my return.

5 February 1853 • Saturday

Translating a little. In morning went to Kahului expecting to see Bro. Burnham and family who I expected were there on their way to Honolulu; but they had concluded to stay for another vessel. Bro. Napela baptised nine at Waiehu this morning; he confirms what I had heard <in regard> to the blind man to whom I administered that he has recovered and is able to go about without any guide, that it has caused a good many to inquire into the truth. The Lord be praised for his goodness. Bros. Keeler & Burnham arrived this afternoon from Makawao to which place Bro. K. had gone on Thursday. Bro. Rice also arrived from Lahaina bringing me a letter from Bro. Hammond—he and all the folks and were well and had been blessed with good meetings on last Sunday and Tuesday. Attended meeting this evening.

6 February 1853 • Sunday

Started about 4 o’clock for Kula and arrived there a little after 9; I was tired and hungry and my feet were blistered. Had a good attendance, I preached and was blessed. Baptised three during intermission. Had Lord’s supper in afternoon and had a very good meeting. Eat dinner and then started on foot to Makawao. I arrived there at dusk, my feet very sore. Found all well.

7 February 1853 • Monday

Reading &c. all day. Bro. Napela took a letter to Bro. Hammond for me that I wrote Saturday evening.

8 February 1853 • Tuesday

Started for Wailuku Bro. Rice kindly gave me his horse to ride and remained at Makawao until to morrow when he intends to walk down. May the Lord bless him for his kindness. In afternoon held meeting of the sisters Bro. K. and myself being present. We gave them a lecture on their duties &c.2 Bro. Napela received a letter from Bro. Uaua stating that his wife had been dead three hours when he returned to house and found her relatives wailing; he anointed her and laid hands on her and she recovered instantly.3

9 February 1853 • Wednesday

Writing4 Journal, Translating &c. Bro. Napela returned from Lahaina this afternoon. We held meeting this evening and a good many arose and confessed their sins; and one woman was cut off by us upon good testimony.5 Bro. Winchester returned this evening from Lahaina with his wife [Louisa Winchester], he went in on Tuesday, we having rode down together from Makawao; he brought me a letter from Bro. Hammond.

10 February 1853 • Thursday

Translating &c. Bro. Napela went to Waihee and baptised seven.

11 February 1853 • Friday

Translating &c.

12 February 1853 • Saturday

do. do. In afternoon held meeting; and afterwards Bro. Napela and I baptised a woman for her health.6 Married a couple.

13 February 1853 • Sunday

Preached this morning but did not have the spirit as I would wish; I ascribed it to the congregation as in consequence of rain &c. they did not all get together at once and kept dropping [in] until the meeting was half over, and their attention was distracted by it. Bro. Napela also spoke.

In afternoon held meeting and I was blessed with an abundant share of the spirit; I spoke upon the gift of the Holy Ghost, that it was a blessing that the world could not receive, except by taking the steps taken by us, that it was a truth that we enjoyed what the world knew nothing about; they could not understand its influences upon us; we were sustained by its influences in the midst of trouble and distress, and every kind of affliction and they could not comprehend the power that supported us. We in America have been persecuted on the right hand and on the left; our blood shed, the blood of prophets and apostles; our houses burnt, our grain destroyed, and our <men,> women and children thrust out houseless wanderness<ers> in the midst of frost and snow, suffering all kinds of distress; they could not comprehend the power by which we were enabled to stand firm, and it has been and is a matter of astonishment unto them how we are so united and determined to stand by our religion; they considered that we were deluded by Joseph Smith therefore they sought his life and killed him, but what a woful disappointment they sustained, instead of stopping the work it accelerated it and every thing that the devil and wicked <men> have done to us thinking to stop the work of God has only proved the means of spreading it abroad.

These men who have been guilty of these things, who have armed themselves with guns and swords called to kill and persecute us, called themselves Christians, but even if it was as they said that they were the followers of Christ and <we> were deluded, how very much they opposed the doctrine of the Savior who teaches us to love our enemies &c. &c.; but they lie, they are not Christ’s, he does not <acknowledge> them and they know nothing in regard to him. This is the case also upon these lands, we are despised and persecuted also upon these <lands> not it is true to the extent that the church has been in other lands, but still as much as they dare; they know nothing of the joy and consolation which we have they cannot comprehend <it,> we have received a Comforter that they know nothing about; the same that sustained, cheered and taught Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, &c., &c., in the midst <of> every trial and difficulty with which they had to contend; if it were not for this comforter how could we possibly be supported? I know that unless I had had it to support me upon these lands I could not have done anything, but when I am in possession of the spirit of the Lord I fear not man, this is the feeling it brings a feeling of fearlessness and independence of man; it is a portion of the spirit of our Almighty Father and Creator which he gives to us weak creatures to assist us to persevere and press forward and attain to the great prize in store for us.

How great the condescendsion of our God, the being who <has> created every thing that we see, the sun, moon, stars, the earth upon which we stand, and us, and every thing that we see around us, and yet this Almighty Being, who is hemolele pure and holy past our conception and exceeds every created being in every thing good and great, condescends to smile upon us and assist us by pouring out his holy spirit upon us poor weak creatures, filled with imperfections and crawling upon the face of the earth below all things, and yet the Lord our God in his love and kindness condescends to own and bless us as his, and fills our hearts with joy unspeakable and full of glory, bestowing upon us a gift that if we prize & regard <aright> will prove the means of exalting us to a seat in his presence. I love to praise such a Being, I love to worship and serve such a Being, for he is worthy of all our praise and worship and he can deliver us out of all our troubles and afflictions.

We see men seeking the favor and smiles of chiefs and men in authority, courting their smiles that they may attain unto a little brief authority, totally forgetting that there is a being who created and clothed kings and rulers with the power that they possess, who exalt<eth> and abase<th,> when I see men so engaged I feel to pity and despise them, for their works are contemptible.

Think of these things, dear saints, and seek the favor of our Lord and our Creator who can bestow unfading glory upon us, and <also> bestow thrones and powers and every thing that will happify and exalt us; if they are <so> anxious to please men of the same nature as themselves, who <do not> possess naturally any abilities powers to exceed their own; how much more ought we to seek the to please our Creator, the Creator of our bodies and spirits, and of every thing that we see around us.

By observing these things and hearkening unto thy my words you will attain unto knowledge, which is necessary that you should have in order to stand firm; for unless you can lay down your lives for the truth’s sake, for the Church of Christ, and for his gospel, showing and testifying unto the world by your willingness to lay down your lives, that you have perfect faith and confidence in his words, you are not his disciples; seek for this knowledge for you know not the day or the hour that you may be called to lay down your lives for the truth. I spoke a good deal and enlarged upon these subjects and was blessed with and excellent flow of the spirit; they gave excellent attention. The brethren felt well and many of them spoke well; we administered the Lord’s supper.

Bro. Napela baptised two to-day. I forgot to mention that Bro. Burnham and family started for Honolulu on Friday evening.

14 February 1853 • Monday

Writing Journal. After noon went over to Waihee by invitation of Mr. Edmunds to preach the funeral sermon of his eldest child, a half white who died yesterday. The natives a good many were assembled and upon our congregating in the house, they refused to come in on account of my being a Mormon and manifested, many of them, a very bad spirit, being filled [with] prejudice and bigotry. I spoke in Native & in English as there were several whites present.

15 February 1853 • Tuesday

Translating &c. In afternoon held officer meeting.

16 February 1853 • Wednesday

Translating. In afternoon held meeting and had a very good meeting.

17 February 1853 • Thursday

Translating &c. Went to Waiehu and preached.

18 February 1853 • Friday

Translating.

19 February 1853 • Saturday

do. do. & held meeting in afternoon.

20 February 1853 • Sunday

Held meeting and preached. I received [a letter] from Bro. Hammond in Lahaina; they were all well and doing well. In afternoon held meeting Bro. Napela spoke and I followed; we had a very good meeting.

21 February 1853 • Monday

Writing Journal Commenced raining, blowing, &c.7 I commenced to day a letter to Elizabeth.

22 February 1853 • Tuesday

Translating &c; Raining &c.

23 February 1853 • Wednesday

do. Raining &c. very much.

24 February 1853 • Thursday

Translating I received a letter from Bro. [Francis] Hammond stating the arrival of nine elders; it was news I was very glad to hear. Bro. [Philip] Lewis had written to him desiring him to inform his brethren, the elders, but did not mention any news8 or what their names were. I wrote to Bro. [James] Hawkins informing him.9 I attended meeting at Waiehu this afternoon.

25 February 1853 • Friday

Translating a little &c. I sent one of the brethren with a letter to Elder [James] Keeler.

26 February 1853 • Saturday

Writing &c. attended the funeral of an infant. Bro. [John] Winchester arrived from Makawao and returned again.

27 February 1853 • Sunday

Preached this morning, and had a very good meeting. In afternoon we held a very good meeting also. I started this evening to Makawao and found all well there.

28 February 1853 • Monday

Baptised Mr. . . . this morning who had been cut off from the church last summer; he had made all right in regard to the difficulties he had had. Stayed until after dinner at Bro. John’s; he presented me with a new broad cloth coat, a vest, a shirt and a neckerchief and pair of shoes. A I felt grateful to the Lord, for this kindness of Bro. John’s for his [he’s] been truly kind to us not with<h>olding at any time when we have needed. Bro. John and the several of the brethren have acted as liberally as they could have acted had they had years’ experience in the kingdom and I pray that they all may be saved in the Celestial Kingdom of the Lord. The Lord’s goodness and long suffering is past finding out—how much he has remembered and blessed me and how faithful and zealous I ought to be at all times that <I may> manifest my gratitude unto him for all his love and care. Started for Wailuku and found all well.

Footnotes

  1. [1]Keeler was also moved by the meeting: “I got up & Spoke on the principal of tithing and also the word of wisdom bro C. followed on the Same Subject Spake well he then gave way to the Brethren after Kneeling down and prayed to our Heavenley Father to pour out his spirits upon his servants and also his Saints. the Lord heard his prayers and also the prayers of his servant in so mutch that the People ware filled to overflowing” (Keeler journal, Feb. 1, 1853).

  2. [2]The Latter-day Saint missionaries make occasional reference to “sisters’ meeting.” The nature of these meetings is not known. The wives of the Protestant missionaries had previously organized female prayer meetings, classes, and maternal associations. For an overview of these meetings, see Grimshaw, “New England Missionary Wives, Hawaiian Women,” 78–79, 91–92. While the Latter-day Saint missionaries may have patterned their services after meetings already known in the islands, they could have also patterned them after the Female Relief Society organized at Nauvoo, Illinois, in March 1842. The Relief Society, however, actively operated for only two years until regular meetings ceased because of increased internal tensions and external pressures in the months leading up to the 1844 martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. In 1867, the Relief Society was officially reorganized by Brigham Young. For a comprehensive history of the Relief Society, see Derr, Cannon, and Beecher, Women of Covenant.

  3. [3]This impressive incident was prominently featured in Cannon’s mission reminiscences:

    “I will relate another instance of which I was not an eye witness; but which I have every reason to believe occurred as I will relate it. . . . [Uaua] was a man of considerable faith. His wife had been stricken down in his absence and had been, to all appearance, dead for some three hours before he arrived at his house. In that country when a person dies, the friends and relatives of the family assemble together and manifest their grief by wailing. They were indulging in these lamentations and outcries when he returned, every one supposing that she was dead. He was, of course, very much shocked; but the first thing he did was to anoint her and lay hands upon her; and, to the astonishment of all who had assembled, she instantly recovered.

    “. . . The natives of the Sandwich Islands had great faith to lay hands on the sick, and also to have hands laid upon them when they were sick. It was not contrary to their traditions for them to believe in this ordinance, for their old native priests, before the missionaries came, had considerable power which they exercised, and in which the people had confidence” (Cannon, My First Mission, 55–56).

  4. [4]Written over T.

  5. [5]The injunction in Doctrine and Covenants 59:12 about “confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord” was interpreted by the Latter-day Saint missionaries in Hawai‘i to mean that a public confession of sin was necessary (see, e.g., Cannon journal, Aug. 6 and Oct. 27, 1853, Apr. 30, 1854). Although public confession was not universally practiced by the Latter-day Saints at this time, it was a relatively common occurrence in Utah. Those who publicly confessed their sins were usually forgiven, while Church fellowship was typically withdrawn from those who would not. Shortly following Cannon’s return from Hawai‘i, Brigham Young and other Latter-day Saint leaders began expressing concerns about public confession. In 1861 Young proclaimed, “Confess your secret sins to your God, and forsake them, and he will forgive them; confess to your brethren your sins against them, and make all right. . . . Keep your follies, that do not concern others, to yourselves” (Young, Mar. 10, 1861, in “Remarks,” Deseret News, July 10, 1861). In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today, “confessing thy sins unto thy brethren” means clearing the matter with the proper priesthood authorities and not the general Church membership. For an overview of the practice of confession among the Latter-day Saints, see Kimball, “Confession in LDS Doctrine and Practice.”

  6. [6]In addition to rebaptisms as an outward sign of personal rededication during the nineteenth century, Latter-day Saints participated in baptisms for health as a personal demonstration of faith in the Lord’s power to heal the sick. These baptisms were often performed in conjunction with priesthood blessings given through the laying on of hands, as taught by Jesus Christ: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17–18). Although the origins of baptizing for health are unclear, the practice was common when the Latter-day Saints were in Nauvoo, Illinois (see H. Dean Garrett, “Rebaptism,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 3:1194).

  7. [7]Woodbury wrote that “it was so chilly I wanted a blanket around me to be comfortable sitting in the house” (Woodbury diary, Feb. 21, 1853).

  8. [8]Written over names.

  9. [9]Following the arrival of these new missionaries, Lewis concluded to hold a conference of all the elders in Honolulu since the missionaries on O‘ahu “were short of means” (Hammond journal, Feb. 21, 1853).