-- Wednesday, Feb 21, 1999
[Apostle John Henry Smith Diary] Salt Lake City
Prest. Lorenzo Snow, Geo. Q. Cannon, Francis M. Lyman, Myself, George Teasdale, John W. Taylor, M. W. Merrill, Anthon H. Lund, W. B. Preston and John R. Winder and Abraham O. Woodruff met in Council with George D. Cole and George Pack Frisby of the Hedrekite church. They had come upon a mission to us to make the proposition that they and We and the Reorganized church unite and build a Temple at Independence, Missouri. We heard their proposition and then they withdrew. Prest. Joseph F. Smith joined us and the matter considered, all speaking as they felt. President Lorenzo Snow then decided We could not meet the wishes of the other parties and he so notified them.
We agreed to pay their expenses, however, and thank them for their Kindley feeling.
My niece Irene Merrill was married today in the Temple by Prest. Joseph F. Smith to Stephen Richards. My son George A. has met with a serious accident to one of his eyes. jhsd
-- Feb 21, 1900; Wednesday
At 10:30 there was a special meeting at the office of the Presidency and Apostles. There were present: The First Presidency, Elders Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Marriner W[ood]. Merrill, John W. Taylor, Anthon H. Lund and Abraham O[wen]. Woodruff. Also Bishops [William B.] Preston and [John R.] Winder and Messrs. Frisby and Cole of the Church of Christ (Hedrickites).
This gathering was a continuation of the postponed meeting at which it was requested that the quorum of Apostles should be present to consider the proposition of Messrs. Cole and Frisby regarding the Temple lot in Jackson county, M[iss]o[uri].
For the benefit of those who had not heard the proposition President [Lorenzo] Snow explained in brief, and then invited Messrs. Cole and Frisby to express themselves. Mr. Cole then stated that he and his companion were to answer any question that might be put to them for the purpose of affording information on the subject before them. In order to explain what had prompted them to come here to Utah, he said that the elders of the church to which he belonged had sought to know the mind of the Lord in regard to them as a body of people, and the Lord had revealed to them that the time was close at hand when the temple would be
built; and acting under the prompting of the Spirit that had made this clear to their minds, they had come to their brethren in Utah to invite them to sit in council with themselves and with members of the "Reorganized" church to see if there were not some grounds on which all could act together for the building of the Temple, and doing other things which might be necessary to be done. All that they now asked was that a delegation be sent to sit with a like delegation from the "Reorganized" church and "Hedrickite" church at Independence, Missouri, and all counsel together with this end in view on the 6th of March next.
Mr. Frisby remarked that the Lord had designated certain of the Hedrickite elders to wait on the Reorganized church officers and certain ones to come here. He was one of the committee that went to Lamoni. The proposition was received by the Reorganites in the spirit in which it had been made, and they had agreed to meet on the 6th of March next. He believed this step, if entered into in the proper spirit, would effect something towards bringing about the purposes of the Lord, and he and his brethren were very anxious that we should take part with them as we might feel led; and if we should, he hoped that the Lord would lead in the matter, and inasmuch as this should be the case he had great hopes for the future. The Hedrickites had felt so earnest in this matter that they had made a great many sacrifices in order to bring it about. All that they had done--the purchasing of the Temple lot property from the world, and defending them before the courts--had been done in the belief that by doing so they were carrying out the purposes of the Lord. They had no selfishness in their hearts; they regarded themselves as instruments in the hands of the Lord, and they looked to him for their pay.
President Snow inquired if one of the principal objects in view in effecting this union was the building of the Temple, and Mr. Frisby stated that it was for a great many things could not be done until the Temple was built.
President Snow also desired to know if there would be any danger from mobocracy should the work of building the Temple go on. Mr. Frisby answered that there was no more fear of opposition from that source there now than from here or any other center or part of the United States. He based this on the fact that he and his brethren had lived in Independence for many years in peace, and they were treated in common with all other residents of that place. President Snow then inquired if for any cause the members of the Reorganized church refused to unite if there was any prospect for the Hedrickites and the members of the Church to unite and carry out the proposition. Elder Cole replied that they could not answer the question as their business at present was merely to ask the corporation of the Authorities of the Church and those of the Reorganized church to join with them in sending a delegation to consult in relation to the matter and they could not say what the outcome might be and they would be afraid to express their own feelings as it might not be the will of the Lord.
President Snow: "All, then, you want is that we select four delegates to meet with a like number from the Reorganized church
and your church?"
Elder Cole: "Yes, sir, that is all, and then we propose to trust in the Lord. We don't know how he will move upon these delegates, but we believe if we put forth the right kind of effort, that good will come out of it."
President Snow: "Suppose we only send two instead of four?"
Elder Frisby: "That would be all right, but four each was talked of between us and the Reorganized brethren, and we thought that twelve men would perhaps be a proper number."
President Snow remarked that to his mind it appeared almost an impossibility to create a union out of such discordant elements, but if it were the will of the Lord it would be proper for us to try it. Mr. Frisby thought it was the will of the Lord and that view was shared by his brethren.
The feature that looked favorable to President [George Q.] Cannon was that both Joseph and Alexander [Smith] felt anxious that this step should be taken, but, he too, had to admit that a union looked almost impossible as the inseparable difficulty of authority would come in the way; but inasmuch as the olive branch had been held out, his feelings were somewhat softened in regard to it.
Elder Frisby was glad President Cannon looked at it in that way for he felt that they were here on the Lord's errand, and they were willing to risk all they had to this end. "It is possible," said Elder Cole, that we may not see much good result from this meeting but he was not discouraged for a brother had told him that their mission out here would not be in vain and he himself was satisfied that it would not be. He did not believe that it was the Lord's will that the factions should be kept up. Young Joseph, President of the Reorganized church stated that he recognized the priesthood was in all the factions and when ever the spirit had spoken to the Hedrickites in regard to the Utah people he referred to the members of the `Utah church' as `our brethren.' In answer to a question by President Cannon, Elder Cole there was no harmony between the Reorganized church and the Hedrickites; in fact they might be likened to the Boer and the English; but while they had never been at peace, they did not abuse one another. He also stated that there were one hundred forty members of the Hedrickite church and they were very much scattered. They were not keeping up missionary work, excepting as they went as they felt and where they felt they were called, in the same sense as they were here today. They claim to hold the Priesthood ranging from Elders to deacons. The Temple lot and grounds were purchased by Bishop Edward Partridge in 1831, in his own name; after the saints were driven out the land was deeded to the Cowdery heirs; it was neglected by them, and it fell into the hands of the world, and was sold at sheriff's sales twice for taxes. When the present owners obtained possession of it, it was cut up, as it is today in lots. They were instructed of the Lord to buy it and did so. It was deeded to Granville Hedrick as trustee-in-trust; at his death it passed to the name of Richard Hill as trustee-in-trust, who holds it at present. The Reorganized church brought suit, claiming
that they were the original church, and therefore the owners of the property; they succeeded in getting a decision from Judge Phillips; the case was appealed, and his decision was reversed. As to the present value of the land, it was thought it would sell for about a thousand dollars, that is, what now remains of it, which was about three acres. Explaining as to how the Lord revealed himself directing them to purchase this land, Elder Frisby said that they did not claim to be prophets, Granville Hedrick himself did not claim to be a prophet; but through fasting and prayer they had got the mind of the Spirit at various times, so they felt. In 1864 Missouri was in a state of bloodshed in consequence of the civil war; at that time it was declared through Granville Hedrick that in 1867 the way would be opened for them to go back to Jackson county. Such a thing did not look possible at that time, but in February of that year he and others started for Independence from Illinois, and thus the prediction was fulfilled. Elder Frisby said he was baptized in 1865 by David Judy, who was ordained an elder under the hands of Joseph Smith the Prophet. Judy came to Independence in 1833, but was driven out. "He remained faithful and with others organized themselves together, although they were very much scattered." Mr. Frisby himself had traveled as much as eighty miles by wagon to be present at their meetings.
Mr. Cole was baptized by Richard Hill, who was baptized by David Judy, who was ordained under the hands of Joseph Smith the Prophet; at least this was the understanding they had, that Judy was so ordained.
President Snow now brought the conversation to the object of the meeting, and asked the brethren to confine their remarks to it, viz. whether we should send this delegation to Independence or not. To do such a thing, he said, could not be done in secret. He did not care about the world knowing it, but the question in his mind was, How would the Latter-day Saints regard it? he asked the brethren to be perfectly free in asking questions of these visitors from Independence in order to satisfy their minds in regard to the matter now before them, and hoped that they would confine themselves to it. Elder Anthon H. Lund desired to know if any of the members of the Reorganized church ever joined the Hedrickite church, and the answers was, "occasionally, and some of the Hedrickites occasionally joined the Reorganized church; in both cases they were admitted by baptism, as though they never had been baptized."
Elder Francis M. Lyman: "The object of your coming is not to join the three churches, then?" Answer: "No sir, it is merely to lay before you our simple message, namely, representative men from each body to meet together to see if a union could be effected, to see if the work which has been neglected should go on, that is, the building of the Temple and other work that might be required of them." They had simply obeyed what they had regarded as the voice of the spirit, and in this particular they likened themselves to Adam when commanded to offer sacrifice: he offered sacrifice without knowing why. And having said all that they had
to say, unless they were asked to answer questions, they now left the matter for consideration, and they thought it a proper thing for the Presidency and Apostles to consider it together.
Elder Lyman arose and said he had long understood that a friendly feeling existed between the Hedrickites and the members of the Church, which could not be said of the Reorganized church. We had appreciated the spirit which our Hedrickite brethren were manifesting in taking care of the sacred grounds; and his impression was when he first met Messrs. Cole and Frisby that perhaps they were here for a little help in the shape of means to enable them to still carry this property. Now, since they had laid before us all that they had to say, it would be well perhaps for us to counsel together in regard to it and whatever the spirit suggested would no doubt be done and they be informed of the result. The speaker felt that the Hedrickite brethren should not be permitted to bear the burden of carrying this property without help from us, inasmuch as they needed it.
Elder Frisby arising said that it was not the financial load that had prompted them to come here; he assured all before God and man that that was not the case. It was true that the burden had weighed heavily upon them at times, but the Lord had always opened up their way in their darkest moments (the speaker here gave way to his feelings and wept). He said he was interested in this work and his feelings were tender and sometimes overcome him. The Lord had made them the custodians of the property, and through help received from us, they had been enabled to maintain possession of it. "We are aware," he said, "you are not entirely cast off, we never would have come here if we had not believed that God had some people here. I speak this for your consolation, and hope you will take it as I intend it."
Elder Cole said they were here because they had been commanded and that was the only reason he could assign for their coming. "If the Lord wants to work through you," he said, "Amen to it; if He wants to work through the Reorganized church, all right; if he wants to use us, I hope we will be prepared and faithful."
In answer to a question Mr. Cole stated that they, the Hedrickites, were waiting fort the day to come when the Church would be provided with a head; at present they were but a band of brethren and sisters. He did not know whether the Twelve Apostles had a right to organize the First Presidency after the death of Joseph Smith or not as the Hedrickites did not accept any revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith after 1833, and it was after that time that the quorum of the Apostles was organized.
President Cannon: You consider the church, through disobedience, and the rejection of the law of consecration, fella way, and that Joseph at that time lost the power?
Mr. Cole: Yes sir, that's right; after that time there was something wrong, and we are not able to determine what it is. All we know is that the Lord will set things right, and we are waiting for it. The idea that the Lord said he would send some one to do this shows that a necessity existed for his doing it.
Elder Woodruff: "Provided President Snow should send a
delegation, you would be willing to have it understood publicly that it was done at your invitation?"
Mr. Cole: "Yes sir, and if there is any blame we will shoulder it all."
Mr. Frisby said "Amen."
Elder Taylor: Supposing President Snow should favor the work being done right away, and the Reorganites should also favor it, what would be your course. Answer: We could not answer that we are not able to answer it.
On being asked if they had been moved upon to confer with the followers of [James J.] Strang, they said, No, neither had they been moved upon to confer with the Whitmer people, although they were right among them.
Elder John Henry Smith wanted to know if there was any bitterness manifested by the Reorganites. The answer was no; "They met us," they said, "as you now meet us, and they regarded it as a move in the right direction, and expressed their willingness to go into the investigation."
President Snow remarked that we believe as the Hedrickites do that in Missouri there was a bad state of things existing when the law of consecration was rejected. We believe also that the law of tithing was given as a substitute, and he was sorry that that law had not been strictly adhered to, but was pleased to say that the people were doing very much better now. He spoke of the late solemn assembly of the Priesthood and the improved state of things was the result of the deliberations of that gathering and the spirit attending. "If the people will now faithfully obey that law," said President Snow, "and we believe they will, it will prepare them for the higher law of consecration; and when that time comes, the people will be prepared to answer any extraordinary call which the Lord may require of them."
Elder Cole thought the Spirit had been moving upon us in these valleys as it had upon them in Independence; they had heard of these things referred to by President Snow since they had been here.
Elder Frisby said they felt that they had been moved upon for years and that they had been led to believe that something would be done in the direction now contemplated; he believed that the Lord was working upon the Reorganization also; in fact he said we would be happily surprised to know their real feelings.
In answer to a question by brother Merrill, it was stated that the price of real estate in and around Independence was low, that for $5,000 ten times as much could be purchased there as here. As to whether the Temple lots, consisting of three acres were large enough to build a Temple on, they did not know. They had learned from Dr. McClellan, one of the oldest settlers, that this land was all there was to the Temple grounds proper. The grounds in all, consisted of sixty-three acres, and these Temple lots were the north east corner of the sixty-three acres.
President Snow suggested that when the Presidency and Apostles adjourn, they adjourn to meet at the Temple tomorrow, and
by three o?clock he thought he would be prepared to give these visiting brethren an answer. The meeting then adjourned.
At 2:15 p.m. the Brethren who were at the meeting in the forenoon (excepting the visitors from Independence) met to consider the question of sending the proposed delegation to meet the proposed committeemen from the Hedrickite and Reorganite churches, at Independence, Missouri. After the close of the morning meeting it was learned that some of the brethren had made appointments for the 22nd as it was Washington's birthday, hence it was decided to meet this afternoon.
President Snow now declared the meeting open to consider the above question and remarked that he appreciated the spirit in which these men (Frisby and Cole) had come to us, but he was not unmindful of the fact that when the Temple should be built at Jackson county, this church would do it.
President Cannon: The question of authority, it would be found, would be the insuperable difficulty.
President Snow said because of the innocent persons among these organizations, he believed the time would come when those two factions would break up and the majority of them gradually come to us. But the question now was, Shall we send a delegation to Independence?
Elder John Henry Smith, speaking to the question, said he could not see what possible harm could arise to our people provided some discreet men were sent there; he was inclined to think such a delegation would have the effect of softening the feelings of the other parties, and possibly some of them might repent. He thought the committee might go over some doctrinal matters in a friendly way; it may be that such an effort might result in gathering into the Church a number of honest hearted people. Speaking of Joseph Smith of the Reorganized church, the speaker thought he was not a bad man; he was a weak man, not as strong as Alexander, who, he said, was in doubt. Alexander had admitted to him personally that he did not know which organization was right, and that he wished he did know.
President George Q. Cannon said: If it were not for committing myself I would make a motion that we consider this proposition and, if compatible with the mind of the Spirit, that we accept the proposition and send four delegates.
Bishop Preston seconded the motion, which was put and carried.
President Cannon, seeing that the motion was seconded and carried so quickly, and thinking that its purport was not understood by all who voted, now explained that the object of the motion was merely for the purpose of discounting the question.
President Snow said this was the way he understood it.
Bishop Preston now suggested that some of the Elders already in the field be instructed to meet with these people, if it were thought a questionable thing to do to send delegates direct from here.
Elder Francis M. Lyman said they want us to send this
delegation, counsel with them and perhaps pray with them, to find out the will of the Lord. It seems to me, President Snow, that the Lord will tel you whenever it is necessary to make any move to obtain that land and build that temple. He had no idea that we could ever unite with Hedrickites and Reorganites to do such a work. When the Temple is built it will be built by members of this Church, and the speaker could not see this Church uniting with them or anybody else for the purpose of learning the will of the Lord.
President Cannon: There is one thought which has passed through my mind which has struck me as being worthy of consideration. Our hearts for years have inclined towards the center stake of Zion. President Taylor wanted to create a fund outside of the tithing, which could be used by himself as President of the Church for any purpose which the Lord might signify to him, which would not trench upon the tithing. He did create such a fund, and the predominant idea in his mind was to watch a favorable opportunity to buy land in Independence, and we have all felt, no doubt, the desire of that kind. In our deliberations this morning sixty-three acres have been mentioned and it struck him that this conference of committees might result in a way being perceived by which a purchase of that kind might be made. Land might be purchased for us in a way which we could not do ourselves, and that without creating excitement. The speaker said he had heard Presidents Young, Taylor and Woodruff talk in this strain; and the question arose in his mind this morning that perhaps this was an opening for us to accomplish something of this kind. It was plain that the land would have to be purchased, and that we would have to pay for it; it could be got in no other way.
President Snow remarked that President Cannon had expressed his views exactly in relation to the purchase of land. His mind, he said, was tolerably clear in regard to the redemption of Zion in a general way. We are not prepared for it now. We must have money; and if pieces of land could be bought without creating excitement or placing a burden upon us, he would be in for it. If we were to undertake to do this, he feared it would not be kept from the public. We must first get out of debt, and be economical in our affairs; and to do this he asked each person present to keep up the spirit of tithing, to keep the law themselves and to teach others what the Lord requires us to do. We do not ask the rich man to give and make sacrifices, but simply tell the people to pay their honest conscientious tithing. It was clear to his mind it would not take long to create a fund, and when this should be done it would be in order to purchase the land as opportunity presented without creating excitement. In this way, he believed, Zion would be redeemed, as President Cannon had said, by purchase. He was perfectly sure this was the way. The visiting "brethren" were no doubt excited, and they have no doubt caught the spirit which is now upon the people; but they are sadly out of the way by thinking that this great work was to be done by uniting themselves with the Reorganites and with us. The way this will be done is by the Latter-day Saints paying their tithing; and then there will
perhaps have to be a change in the government; but this the Lord will attend to. Even if the right men should be sent, he feared that the thing would be made public, and we would be compelled to read things in the newspapers which we would not care to see printed.
Elder John W. Taylor believed the better course would be to indicate to those men that we did not wish at present to co-operate with them, but would assist them to maintain the Temple ground, as we were not prepared at present to build a Temple and give them to understand that we were not going to do anything at present, and then, when the opportunity presented itself we could make purchases of land, otherwise the price of land would be run up to high figures. The speaker did not think such a union could be effected, especially with the Reorganites, if they were the same elsewhere as those who live in Denver. He said he would as soon be sent to the infernal regions to convert the people there as be sent to try to convert those Reorganites. Judging from the manner of Mr. Frisby, he would take him to be what may b4 termed a stayer by his convictions, even until death. He would be all right if we were to acknowledge his people as the head. He favored paying the expenses of those men, and of encouraging them, but not encouraging them with the idea that we are prepared to build a Temple.
Elder George Teasdale could not see that any possible good could come out of this thing. The only way to assist the Lord in building up his kingdom was for men to be in harmony with his authority; and, addressing himself personally to President Snow, the speaker said: "We sustain you as Prophet, Seer and Revelator, and we know who you are; and I do not believe the Lord will pass you by for these men to come and dictate as to appointing anybody to confer with them about the building of a Temple at the center Stake of Zion." He was of the opinion that if the building of that holy house depended on the harmonizing of ourselves with the other people it would never be done. These men justify themselves in taking an unrighteous course; they are self sufficient; they sit in judgment; but we can see how weak they are, and it is very evident they know not of what spirit they are of.
Elder Anthon H. Lund said, If any man, or men, be sent to represent our Church as proposed, he was of the opinion that they should be sent from here, as to send anyone else would not give satisfaction. These men have come all the way here, and if we call upon men now in the east, as suggested by Bishop Preston, he did not think that it would satisfy them. The speaker was in doubt as to the good that could come out of this attempt at union; but inasmuch as they had held out the olive leaf, he did not know but what it would be proper for us to meet them. He could not think that the Reorganites felt like joining with the Hedrickites or us; but thinking that perhaps we might get possession of the Temple grounds, and that this would be an inducement for us to attempt such a union, is no doubt the reason of their friendliness.
Elder Mar[r]iner W[ood]. Merrill: "When these men first came I met them at the house they are stopping at, and invited them to
my room and had a lengthy conversation with them. I learned fully as much from them then as I did today, and had difficulty in getting them to converse freely and fully, and perceiving their weakness I felt to bear testimony to them, and did so, but they gave me to understanding that they did not come for the purpose of discussing or being enlightened on doctrine but merely for the purpose of building the Temple. When I asked them if they knew anything about temple building, or the use it would be put to after building it, they answered No, but felt certain that the Lord would reveal himself and direct in such matters after it was done. I told them the Lord had already done this, but they would not accept it. They took pride in the fact that the Lord had designated them to be the custodians of the Temple grounds, and it was very plain that they regarded themselves as the parties to superintend the building of the Temple, and if we furnish means we would be blessed, otherwise we would not be blessed. The proposed committee, they held, was to agree on some plan by which the Temple could be built. But it was doubtful if it would do us any good or bring any credit to us to send a delegation; to do so would encourage the Reorganites in their fight against us, and they would construe it in all kinds of ways in their own favor and against us. My view is that the Lord will indicate to the President of the Church the way and the means to be used to bring about the building of the Temple. We know that the Lord has sustained his servants from the Prophet Brigham [inserted: Joseph?] to the present time, and that we have received the word of the Lord in the season thereof, and that he has stood by us under every emergency, and that he will continue to do so. These men have caught the spirit of President Snow's teachings at St. George [Utah] and since; it has been a kind of overflow, and because of this they have the idea that the Lord has called them to come out here, but, I believe, the Lord is not in this thing at all." When ever the time comes for Him to move in this direction, the speaker believed he would move upon the President of the Church; there was no doubt whatever in his mind on this score, besides there was this about it; when that time should come we would have to own the country around about as well as get possession of the original plat, and the land would have to be bought quietly before any sensation was created.
Bishop William B. Preston said he had never felt that the time had come for us to do anything in the premises. If these men and those whom they represented wanted to obey the Gospel the way was opened for them; but he did not think we could do anything with such people in the manner proposed. He thought we should get rid of them in as kind a manner as possible. In his private conversation with them he could have told them that the Lord was not ready to build a Temple yet, and that when the time should come he would make it known to his Prophet.
Bishop John R. Winder stated that after listening to these visiting "brethren" he was considerably impressed, and had come to the conclusion that no considerable harm could come from an acceptance of their invitation to send a delegation. It might
create a little excitement, but it should be understood that such a delegation would commit nobody, as this was the understanding. The question had arisen in our mind all along, how shall we ever get in possession of the grounds. It rather looked to him that the way was perhaps opening up, and this was, perhaps, the first step towards it. He favored the appointment of a committee from here. No harm, he thought, could come from it and possibly some good might result.
Elder Francis M. Lyman: "As I said this morning, I thought perhaps the burden of the message of these brethren was to lay down the responsibility of carrying the Temple grounds but instead of this they come with the `word of the Lord,' and this makes me skeptical. I feel that it would be a humiliation for us to send four delegates on such an errand; it is not quite the thing and we can not afford to do it. Besides, it would make such a disturbance among the people that it would be undesirable. I do not think for a moment that the word of the Lord will come to us through the Hedrickites. When it does come, it will be found that neither the Reorganites nor the Hedrickites will receive it, unless they repent and receive the Gospel. When I was in San Bernardino, the Reorganites there were anxious for their `apostles' and our Apostles to meet together and form a good strong church. This idea now before us is not at all new. I could perhaps stand it if it was not that the Lord is in this work. The Reorganites have gone to great expense and put the Hedrickites to great expense in contending for this ground, and the Reorganites lost it; now if they could get the property in this way they would be glad to fall into line. I do not feel to accept this message at all, but feel as I did in San Bernardino; there was but one way for the Reorganites to do, and that is to come in at the gate, or the door or baptism after they have fully repented of their sins."
Elder Abraham O[wen]. Woodruff: The only feeling he had, he said, was to treat these men well and pay all their expenses while here. He desired to do his part in carrying on the purposes of the Lord, but did not think we should go out of our way to meet these men; if they want anything let them come and ask for it, and not for us to go to Jackson county to work up some compromise. He said he believed the Lord would give President Snow the light to know what to do, and if he could judge it would be not to send the delegation asked for.
President Joseph F. Smith who had been out to a funeral came in about this time and was asked to speak and said he was satisfied to leave the matter entirely with President Snow. He did not feel that we could for a moment send a delegation to meet with these apostates on common ground. We had nothing to gain from them; and as they are very bitter, and much louder talkers than we, and as they know how to use printers ink better than we (speaking from a worldly standpoint) they would naturally make more capital out of such an action than we could begin to do, in fact, we could make no capital out of it at all. We would be dividing honors to meet them on the grounds proposed. "At first," he said, "I thought it would be a good idea to send some good,
well-informed brethren to preach to the Hedrickites, thinking that if the Lord had moved on them to send these men here, they would be willing to receive His servants and bow to His will." If this were done, however, he doubted very much whether such an effort would succeed. He closed his remarks by again saying he did not think we could condescend to meet the Reorganites on the same level, as they would certainly make capital out of it.
Elder John Henry Smith said he recognized the situation as a delicate one. In former times whenever any of the brethren had called upon Joseph, as the late President George A. Smith had done on one occasion, Joseph took the position that such a person had been sent to invite him to come here to accept of the leadership of the Church. He believed that Messrs. Cole and Frisby were humble people. As representing the Hedrickite views, they accepted revelations up to a certain time and they believed that certain remarkable things are to be brought about; and they have sat waiting and hoping, and when attacked by the Reorganites they appealed to us and had received the necessary aid which no doubt awakened in them a feeling of strong friendship. These men are not cunning men, but are men of ordinary intelligence. They went first to Joseph and Alexander Smith and E. L. Kelley who are adroit men, who are cunning enough to hedge the Temple grounds around by from one thousand to twelve hundred of their followers. Any means by which they could get possession of the land would be highly prized by them. Our Elders have, no doubt, been calling on the Hedrickites at Independence and talking with them, and they have without doubt received of the spirit of President Snow's utterances. That any great good could come by sending a delegation, he could not see; neither could we be charged with a desire to be fused with the Reorganites if such a delegation were sent. He believed it were possible for some good to come out of such an effort, should we send a delegation and they be properly instructed from the Presidency. In that event he thought we should inform our people that we had been appealed to to do this by a people who believed in the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the building of the Temple in Jackson county. We could afford to stand upon our dignity and say, This is the way, and the only way. The speaker desired to remind the council that these men were not apostates in the light that Hedrick, their leader, was; neither were the people now living at Independence; and if the hand of the Gospel could be held out, and a knowledge of it imparted to them, it may be that good would come out of it. He was of the opinion that some reasonable effort should be made in that direction. Alexander Smith had admitted to him personally that he was in doubt as to which was right, the Reorganized church or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he wished he did know. As to whether there could be any humiliation in meeting these men on this sacred ground, it had not struck him in that way, especially if the delegation should be instructed to take a certain stand, the only stand that they could consistently take, and if this were done he did not know but that some good might possibly come of it, perhaps be the means of gathering in some
President Cannon now withdrew his motion, stating that he had merely made it in order to have something to talk about.
President Snow now addressed the council. He said he was pleased to hear the expressions of the brethren. He had set no stakes as to what would be proper or improper. He had left the matter unsolved in his own mind until he should hear his brethren express their views, and now, since he had heard them, he could say that he could not feel satisfied to favor sending the delegation to Independence, and he could not think of doing it unless the First Presidency and Twelve heartily approved of it. It would be a mighty uphill business, he said, and he had not the faintest idea that a union between the Latter-day Saints and the members of the Reorganized church could be effected, in fact such a thing appeared to be entirely out of the question. However, he thought he could see that some possible advantages might arise from such an effort; and yet he had doubted all the time the divinity of the revelation claimed by these visiting brethren that the time had now come for the building of the Temple. He naturally feared some trick being played against us. He had been reminded of the story in the Bible. It is there told us that a delegation of strangers once waited upon Joshua; they and their people had heard of the success of Joshua, and the decree of the Lord to that mighty leader to destroy their nation, and they came to make peace with Joshua, and they were evidently cunning and artful men. Joshua told them that the Lord had commanded him to destroy certain nations, and he did not know but that they represented one of these nations. They then went on to show him that this could not be, for when they started fro their homes their shoes, they said, were perfectly new, and now they were worn out; their bread was new, and their beards were shaven, and you see them now; "no, we are from a far off nation, and not one of those the Lord commanded you to destroy." Joshua naturally felt honored, and their talk resulted in Joshua making a covenant with them not to destroy them. This was displeasing to the Lord and he chastised Joshua for it. We ourselves have been subject to just such things all along, and we did not know but what this was one of just such things. He could not see, however, that they could get any particular advantage over us if we were to comply with the request, but possibly they might. He could see that they could outvote our delegation, and this could be published everywhere that we were in the minority and they in the majority. My mind is now clear, he said, since hearing the brethren talk, that we should not listen to this message. I do not know how we could go before the Lord and say to him that we had sent four of our members on an errand that we did not know anything at all about; and I am sure that we are not prepared, even if we could unite, to carry on the object of the visit of these gentlemen. The President said he looked for cyclones and earthquakes and the power of the Lord made manifest to make this step. The spirit indicates to me, he said, that the time is speedily coming when we shall build that Temple, and when that time comes we will have means to make the
necessary land purchases, and means to do the work. My feelings are clear that we should not accept the proposition of these men; but, (addressing President Cannon) he said, I feel that we should pay their expenses while they are here and until they arrive back in Independence.
President Cannon then moved that this decision be accepted by this Council as the word of the Lord on this subject, and that these brethren be notified accordingly. Seconded by several of the brethren and unanimously carried.
It was also the sense of the Council that President Snow now send for these gentlemen and give them their answer.
At 4:30 Elders Frisby and Cole of the Hedrickite church returned to the office, having been sent for. President Snow conversed privately with them and apparently they were quite prepared to receive what he said to them.
At the close of the conversation they were informed that the Council had expressed the desire for the Church to pay their expenses here and back to their homes. It was learned that their railway fares amounted to $64.00, and they were allowed $12. for sleeping berths and $12.00 for expenses, making a total of $88.00. They received this mark of kindness very thankfully, and left with the best of feelings. ... FirstPresidencyandQuorumoftheTwelveminutes
LDS History Chronology: Lorenzo Snow
Mormon History Timeline: the life of Lorenzo Snow
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