Category: William Clayton

Hyrum Smith, Part 3

In November 1842, Hyrum Smith wrote the following letter to the church. I reprint it in whole, without comment. Joseph was irritated because the church did not seem to realize Hyrum was entitled to lead the church. William Clayton’s Journal records on July 16, 1843 that Joseph said the following: “Hyrum held the office of prophet to the church by birthright… the Saints must regard Hyrum for he has authority.”

The letter (reproduced below) probably should have been included in the D&C. It tells a great deal about the kind of leader Hyrum Smith would have made had he survived Joseph’s death:

To our well beloved brother Parley P. Pratt, and to the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England, and scattered abroad throughout all Europe, and to the Saints—Greeting:

Whereas, in times past persons have been permitted to gather with the Saints at Nauvoo, in North America—such as husbands leaving their wives and children behind; also, such as wives leaving their husbands, and such as husbands leaving their wives who have no children, and some because their companions are unbelievers. All this kind of proceedings we consider to be erroneous and for want of proper information. And the same should be taught to all the Saints, and not suffer families to be broken up on any account whatever if it be possible to avoid it. Suffer no man to leave his wife because she is an unbeliever. These things are an evil and must be forbidden by the authorities of the church or they will come under condemnation; for the gathering is not in hast nor by flight, but to prepare all things before you, and you know not but the unbeliever may be converted and the Lord heal him; but let the believers exercise faith in God, and the unbelieving husband shall be sanctified by the believing wife; and the unbelieving wife by the believing husband, and families are preserved and saved from a great evil which we have seen verified before our eyes. Behold this is a wicked generation, full of lyings, and deceit, and craftiness; and the children of the wicked are wiser than the children of light; that is, they are more crafty; and it seems that it has been the case in all ages of the world.
And the man who leaves his wife and travels to a foreign nation, has his mind overpowered with darkness, and Satan deceived him and flatters him with the graces of the harlot, and before he is aware he is disgraced forever; and greater is the danger for the woman that leaves her husband. The evils resulting from such proceedings are of such a nature as to oblige us to cut them off from the church.
And we also forbid that a woman leave her husband because he is an unbeliever. We also forbid that a man shall leave his wife because she is an unbeliever. If he be a bad man (i.e., the believer) there is a law to remedy that evil. And if the law divorce them, then they are at liberty; otherwise they are bound as long as they two shall live, and it is not our prerogative to go beyond this; if we do it, it will be at the expense of our reputation.
These things we have written in plainness and we desire that they should be publicly known, and request this to be published in the STAR.
May the Lord bestow his blessings upon all the Saints richly, and hasten the gathering, and bring about the fullness of the everlasting covenant are the prayers of your brethren.
Written by Hyrum Smith, patriarch.

Did Joseph Receive A Revelation?

Section 132 of the Doctrine & Covenants is not universally accepted as a revelation received by Joseph Smith. When the discussion cannot proceed beyond whether this originated from Joseph Smith, by revelation, the discussion goes nowhere. Therefore, the first step must be to resolve whether the revelation came through Joseph Smith, or was a later fabrication of Brigham Young and his inner circle of polygamists.

The following information persuades me Section 132 came through Joseph Smith and was reduced to writing on July 12, 1843:

The Nauvoo Diaries of William Clayton were written chronologically and have the following entries (exactly as in original):

July 11, 1843: At noon rode out to farm with Margt. P.M. J & family rode out in the carriage.
July 12, 1843: This A.M. I wrote a Revelation consisting of 10 pages on the order of the priesthood, showing the designs in Moses, Abraham, David and Solomon having many wives & concubines. After it was wrote Prests. Joseph and Hyrum presented it and read it to E. who said she did not believe a word of it and appeared very rebellious. J told me to Deed all the unincumbered lots to E & the children. He appears much troubled about E.
July 13: 1843: This A.M. J sent for me & when I arrived he called me up into his private room with E. and there stated an agreement they had mutually entered into. they both stated their feelings on many subjects & wept considerable. O may the Lord soften her heart that she may be willing to keep and abide his Holy Law.
July 15, 1843: Made Deed for 1/2 S. B. Iowa from J. to Emma. Also a Deed to E. for over 60 city lots.
July 16, 1843: A.M. at home writing bro. Kimballs lecture. P.M. went to the Grove and heard Pres. J. preach on the law of the priesthood. He stated that Hyrum held the office of prophet to the church by birthright & he was going to have a reformation and the saints must regard Hyrum for he has authority. He showed that a man must enter into an everlasting covenant with his wife in this world or he will have no claim on her in the next. He said that he could not reveal the fulness of these things untill the Temple is completed &c.
July 17, 1843: A.M. at the Temple & at Prest. J’s. conversed with J. & Hyrum on the priesthood.

In addition to the foregoing, I checked surrounding public events, and the diary is consistent with other records of those days. For example, the event on July 16th is recorded as having taken place “At Stand in Grove, West of Temple” and appears in a letter of Willard Richards to Brigham Young, the Joseph Smith diary kept by Willard Richards, the Levi Richards Diary and the Willard Richards Diary. The afternoon of the 16th also records a public meeting on the “Temple Stand” in the Franklin Richards, William Clayton, and Levi Richards diaries and in the Letter of Willard Richards to Brigham Young, as well as in the Joseph Smith diary kept by Willard Richards.

Disputes after Joseph’s death also confirm a disagreement between Emma and the church over ownership in the Steamboat the Maid of Iowa.

These entries seem credible, and therefore I believe they show Section 132 was recorded on July 12, 1843 and originated from Joseph Smith. In addition, the August 12, 1843 meeting of the Nauvoo High Council records there was “teaching by Hyrum Smith” which four witnesses later confirmed included reading Section 132. These witnesses were Austin Cowles (who rejected the doctrine and left the church), David Fulmer, Thomas Grover, James Allred and Aaron Johnson. Hosea Stout was absent when Hyrum read the document, but was later told about the revelation. When Section 132 became public, Hosea Stout confirmed it “corresponded to what” he was told about the reading in August 1843.

It is possible to believe it a fabrication of Brigham Young. It was not made public until the 1850’s, and the public disclosure was on Brigham Young’s watch. But the document came into existence while Joseph was church president, and came through him. As much as a person may wish the document did not originate with Joseph Smith, the evidence appears to be more than adequate to show it did. It came from Joseph and was reduced to written form in July 1843. 

3 Nephi 13: 33

3 Nephi 13: 33:

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

What comes first? Why?

How can “all these things” then “be added unto you?” What are “these things?” Is it the food, raiment, etc.?

Why would the Lord want the disciples to first seek the kingdom of God before promising that the things would be “added unto” them?

If they don’t first seek the kingdom, then will things not be added to them?

What is “the kingdom of God?” Is there a difference between:
-The Church of Jesus Christ
-The Kingdom of God
-Zion?

What is the “kingdom of God” if it is not the church? When is the “kingdom” to be found? What is necessary for it to exist? Joseph Smith taught: “What constitutes the Kingdom of God? an administrator who has the power of calling down the oracles of God, and subjects to receive those oracles no matter if there is but 3, 4, or 6 there is the kingdom of God.” (William Clayton Journal entry January 22, 1843, capitalization as in original.) If we accept Joseph’s definition, why would the disciples be encouraged to “seek the kingdom of God?”

What does the clarification that the “kingdom of God” should be sought first tell us about everything else?

Has the “kingdom of God” been here before now? Is it here now? What does it mean to call down the oracles of God?

Does man control this or does God?

What is man’s role in establishing the “kingdom of God?” Is man’s role confined to “seeking first” for it to come? How would man seek it?

If you want to “seek the kingdom of God” how would you go about doing so?

What does your “seeking” have to do with the return of the “kingdom of God?”

The Lord will not bring again Zion without there being a people who are prepared to receive what He intends to bring. How can you do that?