Doctrine & Covenants Lesson 41 (D&C 111–114)
A PROPHETIC WARNING
● Shortly after the completion of the [Kirtland Temple] . . . Joseph [Smith] had a vision, which lasted until he besought the Lord to take it from him; for it manifested to him things which were painful to contemplate. It was taken from before his eyes for a short time, but soon returned again, and remained until the whole scene was portrayed before him . . . He preached a sermon, and the following is a part of his remarks:
● The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
“Brethren, I am rejoiced to see you, and I have no doubt, but that you are glad to see me. We are now nearly as happy as we can be on earth. We have accomplished more than we had any reason to expect when we began. Our beautiful house is finished, and the Lord has acknowledged it, by pouring out his spirit upon us here, and revealing to us much of his will in regard to the work which he is about to perform. Furthermore, we have everything that is necessary to our comfort and convenience, and, judging from appearances, one would not suppose that anything could occur which would break up our friendship for each other, or disturb our tranquility.
“But, brethren, beware; for I tell you in the name of the Lord that there is an evil in this very congregation, which, if not repented of, will result in setting many of you, who are here this day, so much at enmity against me that you will have a desire to take my life; and you even would do it, if God should permit the deed. But, brethren, I now call upon you to repent, and cease all your hardness of heart, and turn from those principles of death and dishonesty which you are harboring in your bosoms, before it is eternally too late, for there is yet room for repentance.”
He continued to labor with them in this way, appealing to them in the most solemn manner, until almost everyone in the house was in tears, and he was exhausted with speaking. The following week was spent in surmises and speculations as to who would be the traitors, and why they should be so.1
● In 1837–1838, the final years of the Church in Kirtland, apostasy and persecution engulfed the Saints.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said in 1836: “Brethren, for some time Satan has not had power to tempt you. Some have thought that there would be no more temptation. But the opposite will come; and unless you draw near to the Lord you will be overcome and apostatize.”2
EFFORTS TO SHARE THE GOSPEL
Sacrifices Made By Missionaries
● An important aspect of the Kirtland period was the calling of missionaries to preach the gospel in the United States, Canada, and England. Most of them served at great personal sacrifice.
● Despite mounting problems in Kirtland, Joseph Smith and other Church leaders went out to preach during the summer of 1836.
— Parley P. Pratt served a mission to Eastern Canada.
— Levi Hancock served a mission to Missouri
— Brigham Young served a mission just one week after his baptism.
Joseph Smith’s Mission to the East
● Joseph Smith also engaged in missionary efforts for the cause of Zion. He fulfilled some of these missions on his own initiative without commandment from the Lord. One such experience occurred when he traveled from Kirtland with his brother Hyrum, Oliver Cowdery, and Sidney Rigdon on a mission to the East.
● They arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in August 1836. A member of the Church by the name of William Burgess originally from Salem, Massachusetts, knowing of the Church’s financial difficulties, told Joseph Smith of a treasure hidden somewhere in an old house in Salem that could help them alleviate their financial burdens.
● Taking the man at his word, Joseph arranged to meet him there in August. When the Prophet and his party arrived, Mr. Burgess informed them that the city had changed so much since he had lived there that he could no longer locate the house, and he soon left them.
● Shortly thereafter, Joseph received D&C 111, which contains reproof and instruction. Joseph Smith and the Church were in great financial difficulty when this revelation was given. The main message of the revelation is to keep their priorities in order, not to worry about the temporal needs for the present but to get on with the Lord’s work.
● D&C 111:1–4 The Lord looks to the temporal needs of his servants. The Lord seems to be chiding Joseph for forgetting who was really in charge.
● D&C 111:5–6 The Lord tells Joseph that he will give them power to pay the Church’s debts. Further, he revealed that he would deal mercifully with Zion.
● D&C 111:7–8, 11 God directs his servants through the power of His Spirit.
● D&C 111:9–10 Joseph went to Salem for money, but the Lord was more concerned for the salvation of his children than for temporary financial difficulties of the Church.
THE KIRTLAND APOSTASY
Failure of the Kirtland Safety Society Bank
● Near the end of the Kirtland period, Joseph Smith and. other Church leaders founded the Kirtland Safety Society Bank, which sold its first stock in October 1836.
● One year later, in November 1837, the bank closed. Some two hundred shareholders who had bought stock in the bank suffered losses, as did merchants, farmers, and others in the community who had accepted the printed banknotes.
● Placing the events in perspective, it becomes evident that Joseph Smith had no control over those factors. He struggled to maintain his integrity throughout this difficult episode.
● November 2, 1836: Articles of agreement are drawn up for the Kirtland Safety Society. Sidney Rigdon was elected president and Joseph Smith, cashier.
● November 1836: Oliver Cowdery goes to Philadelphia to procure plates for printing bank bills. The name “The Kirtland Safety Society Bank” appeared on the notes because it was assumed that Ohio would grant a charter
● December 1836: Orson Hyde goes to Columbus, OH, with a petition for incorporation but the legislature refuses to grant banking privileges.
● January 2, 1837: The Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company is formed. Although forming a bank without a state charter may seem unusual today, it was not unusual in 1837. “Anti-banks” were operating in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania from the 1830s to 1843. They were similar to credit unions that operate today.
● January 4, 1837: The first bills are reprinted, with the word “Bank” changed to “Anti-Banking Co.”
● January 6, 1837: The bank opens under its new name.
● Holders of banknotes had difficulty circulating them, even in the first two weeks. A chain reaction began in which banknotes were discounted—and as soon as people had trouble redeeming them, they were discounted more heavily.
● With heavy demand for specie (gold, silver, or bills or notes from other institutions) payment for the banknotes the bank’s liquid reserves were wiped out. Although the estimated reserves of about $15,000 should have been sufficient, there was a run on the bank.
● January 21, 1837: Just two weeks after the bank opened, the officers decided to suspend all payments in specie.
Warren Cowdery said, “Enemies . . . were willing to receive the bills, come and demand the specie on them, and when the notes become due that were given for bills at the bank, avail themselves of that clause of the statute which we have quoted to avoid payment, still the officers of the bank continued to redeem their paper when presented. . . . Hundreds who were enemies, either came or sent their agents and demanded specie till the officers thought best to refuse payment. . . . Holders of the bills from abroad came and purchased property of people, in this place and paid in bills of our own bank . . . Speculators and others continued to trade in the bills without any fixed marketable value, sometimes at one rate of discount and sometimes at another, till there was no reasonable hope that it would ever be all returned to the bank.”3
● February 1837: Lawsuits against leaders begin.
● May 1837: A nationwide banking panic occurs. The Kirtland Bank was not the only financial institution to struggle in the spring of 1837. Most banks in the country suspended payments in specie, just as the Kirtland bank did. A number of the banks in Ohio and virtually all of the banks in Michigan failed.
● June 1837: Shareholders withdraw from bank. The Prophet Joseph and other officers concluded that the odds against the bank’s succeeding were too great. On June 8, ten stockholders, including the Prophet withdrew from the bank. Frederick G. Williams was appointed president and Warren Parrish became cashier.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “I resigned my office in the ‘Kirtland Safety Society,’ disposed of my interest therein, and withdrew from the institution; being fully aware, after so long an experiment, that no institution of the kind, established upon just and righteous principles for a blessing not only to the Church but the whole nation, would be suffered to continue its operations in such an age of darkness, speculation and wickedness. Almost all banks throughout the country, one after the other, have suspended specie payment, and gold and silver have risen in value in direct ratio with the depredation of paper currency.”4
● Joseph suffered overwhelming financial losses from the bank’s failure. He had personally borrowed money to keep the bank open, so when the bank closed, his losses were greater than all other investors except one
● August 1837: Joseph warns against bank bills. Against the advice of Joseph, the new bank officers issued more bills, which drove down the already low value of the original bills.
The Prophet Joseph Smith issued a caution in the Church newspaper that the bills were worthless: “To the brethren and friends of the Church of the Latter-day Saints: I am disposed to say a word relative to the bills of the ‘Kirtland Safety Society Bank.’ I hereby warn them to beware of speculators, renegades, and gamblers, who are duping the unwary and unsuspecting, by palming upon them those bills, which are of no worth here. I discountenance and disapprove of any and all such practices. I know them to be detrimental to the best interests of society, as well as to the principles of religion. [Signed] Joseph Smith, Jun.”5
● Elder George A. Smith said, “Warren Parrish was the teller of the bank, and a number of other men who apostatized were officers. They took out of its vault, unknown to the President or cashier, a hundred thousand dollars, and sent their agents around among the brethren to purchase their farms, wagons, cattle, horses, and everything they could get hold of. The brethren would gather up this money and put it into the bank, and those traitors would steal it and send it out to buy again, and they continued to do so until the plot was discovered and payment stopped.”6
● Suspecting Parrish was embezzling funds, Joseph went to Frederick G. Williams, counselor in the First Presidency and justice of the peace, for a warrant to search Parrish’s trunk. The request was flatly refused by Williams.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “‘I insist upon a warrant, for if you will give me one, I can get the money, and if you do not, I will break you of your office.’ ‘Well, break it is, then,’ said Williams, ‘and we will strike hands upon it.’ ‘Very well,’ said Joseph, ‘from henceforth I drop you from my quorum [of the First Presidency], in the name of the Lord.’”7
● November 1837: The bank closes its doors. As a result, many persons lost their investments and left the Church. It has been estimated that total losses were a little over $40,000. The average loss, therefore, was about $100 to $200, or about one-fourth to one-half of an individual’s yearly income in 1837 Kirtland.
APOSTASY ARISES IN KIRTLAND
● In the aftermath of the bank failure, bad feelings lead to many apostasies in Kirtland.
Christopher Crary said, “The failure of the Kirtland Bank left them in destitute circumstances, and with very ill feelings with those who had placed their money in the bank. Many, not strong in the faith, seceded, among them, some who were supposed to have joined the church out of speculative motives, hoping to make money . . . The quarrel became quite serious, resulting in the burning of the printing office.”8
● Persecution of the Saints intensified in late 1837.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “It seemed as though all the powers of earth and hell were combining their influence in an especial manner to overthrow the Church at once, and make a final end. Other banking institutions refused the ‘Kirtland Safety Society’s notes. The enemy abroad, and apostates in our midst, united in their schemes, flour, and provisions were turned towards other markets, and many became disaffected toward me as though I were the sole cause of those very evils I was most strenuously striving against, and which were actually brought upon us by the brethren not giving heed to my counsel.”9
● Merchants stopped selling goods to them—an economic boycott that strangled their ability to sustain themselves.
Caroline Crosby said, “Times became very hard. . . .It seemed that our enemies were determined to drive us away if they could possibly, by starving us. None of the businessmen would employ a mormon scarcely, on any conditions. And our prophet was continually harassed with vexatious lawsuits. Besides the great [apostasy] in the church, added a [double] portion of distress and suffering to those who wished to abide in the faith, and keep the commandments.”10
● Some of the most impassioned persecutors were apostate Church members.
Lucy Mack Smith, the Prophet’s mother, told of the following occurrence on a Sunday in the temple. Joseph Smith Sr., in addressing the congregation, became critical of Warren Parrish, who earlier had been accused of issuing bank notes without authorization:
“Parrish was highly incensed and made an attempt to drag him [Joseph Smith Sr.] out of the stand. My husband appealed to Oliver Cowdery, who was justice of the peace, to have him brought to order, but Oliver never moved from his seat. William, seeing the abuse which his father was receiving, sprang forward and caught Parrish, and carried him in his arms nearly out of the house. At this John Boynton stepped forward, and drawing a sword from his cane, presented it to Williams’s breast, and said: “if you advance one step further, I will run you through.” Before William had time to turn himself, several gathered around him, threatening to handle him severely, if he should lay the weight of his finger upon Parrish again. At this juncture of affairs, I left the house, not only terrified at the scene, but likewise sick at heart, to see that the apostasy of which Joseph had prophesied was so near at hand.”11
● David Whitmer, the Prophet’s former confidant, was involved in these meetings and claimed “power to raise Joseph Smith to the highest heavens, or sink him down to the lowest hell.”
Lucy Mack Smith said, “A large number of the Church were disaffected. In this spirit some went to Missouri and contaminated the minds of many of the brethren against Joseph, in order to destroy his influence.”12
Hepzibah Richards said in January 1838: “A large number have dissented from the body of the church and are very violent in their opposition to the Presiden[cy] and all who uphold them. They have organized a church and appointed a meeting in the [Kirtland Temple] next sabbath. Say they will have it, if it is by the shedding of blood. They have the keys already.”13
● The persecution climaxed shortly after midnight on January 16, 1838, when an arsonist set fire to the schoolhouse/printing office. The temple and other buildings, including the Methodist meetinghouse next to the temple, were reportedly scorched. The contents of the printing establishment burned, including many copies of the Book of Mormon.
● About four months later an attempt was made to burn the temple when a bundle of straw with “a fire brand in it” was thrown through one of the windows.
Tested in a Refiner’s Fire
● The failure of the Kirtland Safety Society Bank separated “wheat” from “tares” among Church members. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “The Saints will come forth like gold seven times tried in the fire, being made perfect through sufferings and temptations, and that the blessings of heaven and earth will be multiplied upon their heads.”14
Elder George Q. Cannon said, “What then will be the means of trying the people? Probably prosperity, good circumstances, the increase of wealth, the effects of which are far more trying on a people than poverty. The influences which attend wealth and comfortable circumstances will probably have the same effect on the people in cleansing from’ our midst that which is unsound, as mobocracy and the difficult circumstances connected with it had in former days. But I never expect to see the day when the Latter-day Saints will be free from influences which will test their fidelity to God, and be a means of removing from their midst that which is unworthy to be associated with his Church. That is my feeling, and has been for a long time, and I believe that God is causing us to pass through these circumstances expressly to test, prove and try us, and see whether we will be true to him or not.”15
● Brigham Young was in a meeting where a group of apostates, including some prominent Church leaders, were plotting to depose the Prophet Joseph Smith and put someone else in his place.
President Brigham Young said, “I rose up, and in a plain and forcible manner told. them that Joseph was a Prophet, and I knew it, and that they might rail and slander him as much as they pleased; they could not destroy the appointment of the Prophet of God, they could only destroy their own authority, cut the thread that bound them to the Prophet and to God, and sink themselves to hell. Many were highly enraged at my decided opposition to their measures. . . . This meeting was broken up without the apostates being able to unite on any decided measures of opposition.”16
MISSIONS OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES
“Something . . . for the Salvation of His Church”
● 1836–1837 were dark years for the Church. Persecutions in Missouri caused many to lose faith, while in Kirtland the spirit of apostasy caused others to fall. The Church was in its greatest moment of crisis as the adversary sought to destroy it from both within and without. But God was in control.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “God revealed it to me that something new must be done for the salvation of his Church.”17
The Mission to England
● The Prophet Joseph Smith said to Heber C. Kimball on June 4, 1837: “The spirit of the Lord has whispered to me: Let my servant Heber go to England and proclaim my gospel, and open the door of salvation to that nation.”
● Heber C. Kimball said, “The idea of being appointed to such an important mission was almost more than I could bear up under. I felt my weakness and was nearly ready to sink under it, but the moment I understood the will of my heavenly Father, I felt a determination to go at all hazards, believing that he would support me by his almighty power, and although my family were dear to me, and I should have to leave them almost destitute, I felt that the cause of truth, the gospel of Christ, outweighed every other consideration.”18
● Joseph Smith called him to go on a mission to England even though it might not have been a logical thing to do. Joseph needed his strongest and most stalwart leaders and supporters close to him.
● A few days later Orson Hyde, also of the quorum of the Twelve, and Elder Willard Richards, and four other missionaries left for England with Elder Kimball.
● During his mission to England, the evening before his first baptism in England, legions of evil spirits appeared in the bedroom of the home where they were staying and attacked the missionaries. Heber later asked Joseph Smith the meaning of this evil onslaught. Had he done something wrong?
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “No, Brother Heber, at that time you were nigh, unto the Lord; there was only a veil between you and Him, but you could not see Him. When I heard of it, it gave me great joy, for I then knew that the work of God had taken root in that land. It was this that caused the devil to make a struggle to kill you.” Joseph then related some of his own experiences with the evil one and said: “The nearer a person approaches the Lord, a greater power will be manifested by the adversary to prevent the accomplishment of His purposes.”
● The influx of converts more than made up for the loss of Kirtland Saints who left the Church.
—Within a year, 26 branches were established and 1,300 persons baptized in England.
—The next year Elder Kimball returned to England and produced 4,700 more converts.
—By 1851, there were more than 42,000 Church members and 642 congregations in England.
— Many thousands more had already immigrated to the United States. By 1856, the number of immigrants reached 24,000.
A REVELATION TO THE TWELVE APOSTLES
● D&C 112 On 23 July 1837, the day the missionaries first preached the gospel in England, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation directed to Thomas B. Marsh, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve.
● D&C 112:1–10 The Twelve are to send the gospel and raise the warning voice to all nations.
— v. 10 The need for humility when seeking the Lord’s direction in our lives.
Elder Quentin L. Cook taught:
“Unfortunately, in our day in almost every segment of society, we see self-importance and arrogance flaunted while humility and accountability to God are denigrated. Much of society has lost its moorings and does not understand why we are on this earth. True humility, which is essential to achieve the Lord’s purpose for us, is seldom evident.
“It is important to understand the magnitude of Christ’s humility, righteousness, character, and intelligence, as exemplified in the scriptures. It is foolish to underestimate the necessity of continuously striving for these Christlike qualities and attributes on a day-by-day basis, particularly humility. . . .
“On July 23, 1837, the Prophet Joseph met with Elder Thomas B. Marsh, President of the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder Marsh was apparently frustrated that the Prophet had called two members of his quorum to go to England without consulting him. As Joseph met with Elder Marsh, any hurt feelings were put aside, and the Prophet received a remarkable revelation. It is now the 112th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. It give incredible direction from heaven with respect to humility and missionary work. Verse 10 reads, ‘Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers’ [D&C 112:10; emphasis added].”19
● D&C 112:11–12 A charge to pray for and to admonish the Twelve.
Smith and Sjodahl said, “Our Lord instruct[ed] the President of the Council to continue to pray for the members, and also to admonish them ‘sharply.’ Admonition without prayer is barren of results. He promised to feel after them, when they had passed through the tribulations awaiting them because they had yielded to temptations. And then, if they would not harden their hearts, they would be converted and healed.”20
● D&C 112:13–15 They are to take up their cross, follow Jesus, and feed his sheep.
● D&C 112:16–22 The Twelve carry the work into all the world as directed by the First Presidency.
—v. 17 This passage refers to the First Presidency at the time when the revelation was given. When the First Presidency was originally organized, Jesse Cause and Sidney Rigdon were called to be counselors to the Prophet. After Jesse Cause’s apostasy in 1833, the Presidency was reorganized with Frederick G. Williams as Second Counselor. At a conference held at Far West, Missouri on 7 November 1837, Frederick G. Williams was replaced by Hyrum Smith.
—v. 19 This promise was fulfilled quickly. Within eight months, 2,000 people had joined the Church through their efforts, and 26 branches had been organized.
—v. 20 The First Presidency are “counselors” to the Twelve.
President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “The First Presidency, the Lord said, were to be counselors to the Twelve. By this is meant that the twelve should not go forth without the counsel and direction of the First Presidency.”21
—vv. 21–22 The Lord promised the Twelve that He would give them power to open nations to the preaching of the gospel if they would “humble themselves before [Him], . . . abide in [His] word, and hearken to the voice of [His] Spirit.”
A Prophecy of the Destiny of the Church
The Prophet Joseph Smith said in a priesthood meeting held at the schoolhouse on a hill above the Morley Farm: “Brethren, I have been very much edified and instructed in your testimonies here tonight. But I want to say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother’s lap. You don’t comprehend it.” I was rather surprised. He said[,] “[I]t is only a little handful of Priesthood you see here tonight, but this Church will fill North and South America—it will fill the world. . . . This people will go into the Rocky Mountains; they will there build temples to the Most High. They will raise up a posterity there.”22
● D&C 112:21–29 Darkness covers the earth; only those who believe and are baptized are saved.
● D&C 112:30–34 The First Presidency and the Twelve hold the keys of the dispensation of the fulness of times.
THE SAINTS FLEE TO MISSOURI
● By 1838, persecution intensified and it became unsafe to remain in Kirtland if you were a faithful Saint. Realizing that it was unsafe for him to remain in Kirtland, Joseph prepared to leave the area.
● Approximately two years after the Prophet Joseph Smith dedicated the Kirtland Temple, more than 1,600 Latter-day Saints abandoned this house of the Lord, vacated their homes, left their property, and headed toward northern Missouri.
Joseph and Other Faithful Saints Escape
The Prophet Joseph Smith said about his departure: “A new year  dawned upon the Church in Kirtland in all the bitterness of the spirit of apostate mobocracy; which continued to rage and grow hotter and hotter, until Elder Rigdon and myself were obliged to flee from its deadly influence, as did the Apostles and Prophets of old, and as Jesus said, ‘when they persecute you in one city, flee to another.’ On the evening of the 12th of January, about ten o’clock, we left Kirtland, on horseback, to escape mob violence, which was about to burst upon us under the color of legal process to cover the hellish designs of our enemies, and to save themselves from the just judgment of the law.”23
Lucy Mack Smith said, “One evening, before finishing his preparations for the contemplated journey, he sat in council with the brethren at our house. After giving them directions as to what he desired them to do, while he was absent from them, and, as he was about leaving the room, he said, ‘Well, brethren, I do not recollect anything more, but one thing, brethren, is certain, I shall see you again, let what will happen, for I have a promise of life five years, and they cannot kill me until that time is expired.’”24
● In the same month that Joseph Smith fled from Kirtland, the lives of the members of the high council were also threatened, and enemies began ransacking homes of the Saints and starting fires in basements.
● He traveled to Far West, Missouri, where he arrived on 14 March 1838. The journey was difficult, especially for Emma, who was six months pregnant at the time.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “On the 14th of March , as we were about entering Far West, many of the brethren came out to meet us, who also with open arms welcomed us to their bosoms. We were immediately received under the hospitable roof of Brother George W. Harris, who treated us with all possible kindness, and we refreshed ourselves with much satisfaction, after our long and tedious journey, the brethren bringing in such things as we had need of for our comfort and convenience. After being here two or three days, my brother Samuel arrived with his family.”25
● Shortly after arriving in Far West, Joseph Smith received a number of important revelations, which are the subject of this lesson.
SOME EXPLANATIONS OF ISAIAH’S PROPHECIES
● D&C 113 Included without explanation in the Prophet’s history are answers to questions on the book of Isaiah.
—It is not known who asked the first questions—it may be that the Prophet asked on his own behalf.
—It is known that the final questions came from Elias Higbee.
—The answers are directly from the Lord.
● D&C 113:1–2 The “Stem of Jesse” is explained. The “branch” and the “stem” are both representative of Christ.
● D&C 113:3–4 The “Rod” is a great prophet on whom is laid much power.
● D&C 113:5–6 The “Root” is the as the “Rod”—a man in the last days who will set in motion the gathering of Israel and who will have a right to the priesthood and keys to do so. This person is Joseph Smith.
● D&C 113:7–10 The scattered remnants of Zion have a right to the priesthood and are called to return to the Lord.
INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING THE CHURCH
The Worldwide Mission of the Twelve Apostles
● D&C 114:1 The mission assigned to the Twelve was to take the gospel to all the world.
— We find out later (D&C 118) that they are to leave Far West on 26 April 1839 for Europe.
— Before that time, however, Elder David W. Patten was killed in the battle of Crooked River on 25 October 1838. This makes the Lord’s counsel to settle up his affairs even more meaningful.
Replacing Excommunicated Leaders
● D&C 114:2 Church positions held by those who are not faithful shall be given to others.
Elder George Q. Cannon said:
“While the Prophet had been journeying toward Missouri after escaping the Kirtland mob in January 1838, a general assembly of the Saints in Far West was held on the 5th day of February, at which David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and William W. Phelps were rejected as the local [stake] presidency . . . A few days later Thomas B. Marsh and David W. Patten, of the Twelve, were selected to act as a presidency until the Prophet should arrive. Oliver Cowdery too had been suspended from his position.
“Persisting in unchristian like conduct, W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer [were subsequently] excommunicated by the high council in Far West, four days previous to the arrival of Joseph. . . .
“On the 12th of April, 1838, Oliver Cowdery was found guilty of. serious wrong-doing for which he had not made repentance, and he was excommunicated by the high council at Far West.
“Before the same tribunal on the day following David Whitmer was charged with persistent disobedience of the word of wisdom and with unchristianlike conduct, and he was also cut off.
“Luke Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson, and John F. Boynton were excommunicated about the same time, and less than a month Iater a similar fate befell William E. McLellin [all members of the Quorum of the Twelve].
“It was a sorrowful day for Joseph when he lost the companionship of these men who had been with him during many trials and who had participated with him in the glorious undertaking of heavenly things. But they were no longer anything but dead branches, harmful to the growing tree, and it was necessary for the pruner to lop them off.”26
1. History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, 239–240.
2. Tyler, “Incidences of Experiences,” 33.
3. Messenger and Advocate 3, (July 1837) 536.
4. History of the Church, 2:497.
5. Messenger and Advocate 3 (July 1837): 539–540.
6. In Journal of Discourses 11:11.
7. History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, 240–241.
8. Crary, Personal Reminiscences, 59.
9. History of the Church, 2:487–488.
10. Caroline Barnes Crosby, in Godfrey, Godfrey, and Derr, Women’s Voices, 64–65.
11. History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, 241.
12. History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, 243.
13. Hepzibah Richards to Willard Richards, January 18, 1838, in Godfrey, Godfrey, and Derr, Women’s Voices, 71.
14. History of the Church, 2:353.
15. In Journal of Discourses, 17:340.
16. “History of Brigham Young,” Deseret News, 10 Feb. 1858, 386.
17. B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:396–397.
18. Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 104.
19. “The Eternal Everyday,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 51–52.
20. D&C Commentary, 734.
21. Church History and Modern Revelation, 2:73.
22. Wilford Woodruff, in Conference Report, April 6, 1898, 57.
23. History of the Church, 3:1–3.
24. History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, 247-248.
25. History of the Church, 3:8–9.
26. Life of Joseph Smith, 237–238.