The Church Historian's Press The Church Historian's Press

1.2.17

August 31, 1842 • Wednesday

See images of the original document at josephsmithpapers.org.


1Sixteenth Meeting

of the

Society.

Grove, August 31st.

Prest. Joseph Smith opened the meeting by addressing the Society.2 He commenced by expressing his happiness and thankfulness for the privilege of being present on the occasion. He said that great exertions had been made on the part of our enemies, but they had not accomplished their purpose— God had enabled him to keep out of their hands— he had war’d a good warfare inasmuch as he had whip’d out all of [John C.] Bennett’s host— his feelings at the present time were, that inasmuch as the Lord Almighty had preserv’d him today. He said it reminded him of the Savior, when he said to the pharisees, “Go ye and tell that fox, Behold I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.” &c.3

He said he expected the heavenly Father had decreed that the Missourians shall not get him— if they do, it will be because he does not keep out of the way.

Prest. S. continued by saying, I shall triumph over my enemies— I have begun to triumph over them at home and I shall do it abroad— all those that rise up against me will feel the weight of their iniquity upon their own heads— those that speak evil are abominable characters— and full of iniquity— All the fuss and all the stir against me, is like the jack in the lantern, it cannot be found. Altho’ I do wrong, I do not the wrongs that I am charg’d with doing— the wrong that I do is thro’ the frailty of human nature like other men. No man lives without fault. Do you think that even Jesus, if he were here would be without fault in your eyes? Th[e]y said all manner of [p. [80]] evil against him— they all watch’d for iniquity.

How easy it was for Jesus to call out all the iniquity of the hearts of those whom he was among? The servants of the Lord are required to guard against those thing[s] that are calculated to do the most evil— the little foxes spoil the vines—4 little evils do the most injury to the church. If you have evil feelings and speak of them to one an other, it has a tendency to do mischief— these things result in those evils which are calculated to cut the throats of the heads of the church.

When I do the best I can— when I am accomplishing the greatest good, then the most evils are got up against me. I would to God that you would be wise. I now counsel you, if you know any thing, hold your tongues, and the least harm will be done.

The Female Relief Society has taken the the most active part in my welfare— against my enemies— in petitioning to the Governor—5 These measures were all necessary— Do you not see that I foresaw what was coming beforehand, by the spirit of prophesy?— All had an influence in my redemption from the hand of my enemies.

If these measures had not been taken, more serious consequences would have resulted.

I have come here to bless you. The Society has done well— their principles are to practice holiness— God loves you and your prayers in my behalf shall avail much— Let them not cease to ascend to God in my behalf. The enemy will never get weary— I expect he will array every thing against me— I expect a tremendous warfare. He that will war the christian warfare will have the angels of devils and all the infernal powers of darkness continually array’d against [p. [81]] him. When wicked and corrupt men oppose, it is a criterion to judge if a man is warring the christian warfare. When all men speak evil of you, blessed are ye &c.6 Shall a man be considered bad, when men speak evil of him? No: If a man stands and opposes the world of sin, he may expect all things array’d against him.

But it will be but a little season and all these afflictions will be turn’d away from us inasmuch as we are faithful and are not overcome by these evils. By seeing the blessings of the endowment rolling on, and the kingdom increasing and spreading from sea to sea; we will rejoice that we were not overcome by these foolish things.

Prest. S. then remark’d that a few things had been manifested to him in his absence, respecting the baptisms for the dead, which he should communicate next sabbath if nothing should occur to prevent.7

Prest. S. then address’d the throne of Grace.8

Prest. Emma Smith then rose and presented the following names, which were unanimously receiv’d

to wit.

Lucy Stevens

Jane Manhard

Rachel Page

Mary Chipman

Cherrizade Averett

Mary Wilsey

Polly W. Hyde

Hannah York

Eunice S. Hyde

Nancy Walker

Martha Stafford

Sally [Sarah Waterman] Phelps

Hannah Price

Sarah Phelps

Catharine Harwood

Jane Melling

Margaret Copeland

Elizabeth J. [Jane] Henderson

Mary Hoover

Emily Morgan

Sabina A. Harrison

Laura Kelly

Susannah Bigler

Mary E. [Mc]Mullin

[p. [82]]

Mary Goff

Mary M. Dodge

Sarah Stewart

Esther Ann Gheen

Catharine Head

Elizabeth Study

Nancy Dickson

Ann Green

Loisa Eager

Martha J. Corey [Coray]

The prayers of Society requested in behalf of Mrs. [Roxsena] Repshar.

Prest. J. S. remark’d that sis. Repshar had long since been advised to return to her husband— has been ascertain’d by good evidence that she left her husband without cause— that he is a moral man and a gentleman— she has got into a way of having revelations, but not the rev. of God— if she will go home we will pray for her, but if not our prayers will do no good.

Prest. S. said he had one remark to make respecting the baptism for the dead— to suffice for the time being, until he has opportunity to discuss the subject to greater length— that is, all persons baptiz’d for the dead must have a Recorder present, that he may be an eye-witness to testify of it.9 It will be necessary in the grand Council, that these things be testified— let it be attended to from this time, but if there is any lack it may be at the expense of our friends— they may not come forth &c.

Prayer by br. [Erastus] Derby.

Meeting adjourn’d

Donations

$

Mrs. Winnegar [Mary Winegar]

1,

00

Delany Parker

..

12½

[blank] Newell

1,

25

Polly T. Hyde

1,

00

E. Modsley [Elizabeth Maudsley]

6

Anna Smith

50

[p. [83]]

$

Agnes Marsh

..

12½

Myrza Alexander

12½

[blank] Chapman

37

[blank] Green

50

Hannah Ann Dibble

Susanna Be[ckel]hymer

1,

50

[blank]

50

Eliza Hills

2,

50

[p. [84]]

Footnotes

  1. [1]text: Ink changes from blue to brown ink.

  2. [2]The entry in Joseph Smith’s journal for this date, as recorded by Willard Richards, states, “In the P.M rode up to the Grove with his lady to attend the Female Relief Society’s meeting.” (Joseph Smith, Journal, Aug. 31, 1842, in JSP, J2:124.)

  3. [3]Luke 13:32.

  4. [4]See Song of Solomon 2:15.

  5. [5]See Document 1.5.

  6. [6]See Matthew 5:11.

  7. [7]Joseph Smith first publicly discussed vicarious baptism for the dead during a funeral sermon in August 1840. The first baptisms for the dead were performed by September 1840 in the Mississippi River near Nauvoo. In December 1840 Smith elaborated on the doctrine to members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles serving missions in England: “This was certainly practized by the ancient churches and St. Paul endeavours to prove the doctrine of the resurrection from the same, and says, ‘else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead.’” Smith further remarked, “The Saints have the priviledge of being baptized for those of their relatives who are dead, who they feel to believe would have embraced the gospel if they had been priviledged with hearing it, and who have received the gospel in the spirit through the instrumentality of those who may have been commissioned to preach to them while in prison.” Though Joseph Smith remarked at this August 31 Relief Society meeting that he would address the topic the following Sunday, which was September 4, he was unable to preach that day because he was in hiding to avoid arrest and extradition to Missouri. However, in early September, Smith wrote two letters to the Saints (now found in sections 127 and 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants) giving instructions on baptism for the dead. (Simon Baker, “15 Aug. 1840 Minutes of Recollection of Joseph Smith’s Sermon,” Joseph Smith Collection, CHL; Joseph Smith to “the Twelve,” Dec. 15, 1840, Joseph Smith Collection, CHL; Joseph Smith to “all the saints in Nauvoo,” Sept. 1, 1842, in JSP, J2:131–133; Joseph Smith to “the Church of Jesus Christ,” Sept. [7], 1842, in JSP, J2:143–150; Jane Neymon and Vienna Jacques, Statement, Nov. 29, 1854, Historian’s Office, Joseph Smith History Documents, ca. 1839–1880, CHL; see also Glen M. Leonard, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2002], 238–239.)

  8. [8]See Hebrews 4:16.

  9. [9]The day following this Relief Society meeting, Joseph Smith wrote a letter to the Saints calling for proxy baptisms for the dead to be witnessed by a recorder. The letter was published in the Times and Seasons on September 15, 1842, and canonized as section 105 in the 1844 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (section 127 in the modern Latter-day Saint edition). (Joseph Smith to “all the saints in Nauvoo,” Sept. 1, 1842, in JSP, J2:131–133; “Tidings,” Times and Seasons, Sept. 15, 1842, 3:919–920; The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Carefully Selected from the Revelations of God, comp. Joseph Smith, 2nd ed. [Nauvoo, IL: John Taylor, 1844], section 105.)