Feast upon the Word Blog

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D&C Lessons 9 and 10, part 2, HISTORY

Posted by cherylem on March 15, 2009

Here is some brief history of what was going on during the time of Sections 20-26. I’m in a rush (and it’s been a very busy two weeks!), so I may add more commentary later. Will definitely clean up the layout today or tomorrow.

1805, December 23
Joseph Smith (1805-44) born to Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith, Sharon, Vermont 1820.
Early Spring
The Prophet Joseph Smith received First Vision in a grove of trees in Palmyra and Manchester Townships, New York, near his home.
1823, September 21-22
Joseph Smith visited by angel Moroni and told of the Book of Mormon record. Joseph viewed the gold plates buried in a nearby hill (Cumorah).
1827, September 22
Joseph Smith obtained the gold plates from Moroni at the Hill Cumorah.
1829, May 15
John the Baptist conferred the Aaronic Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in Harmony, Pennsylvania.
1829, May
Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James, and John near the Susquehanna River between Harmony, Pennsylvania, and Colesville, New York.
1829, June
Translation of the Book of Mormon completed. The Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses shown the gold plates.
1830, March 26
First printed copies of the Book of Mormon available, Palmyra, New York.
1830, April 6
The Church organized in Fayette Township, New York.
1830, September-October
First missionaries called to preach to the Lamanites (Native Americans).
1830, December-January 1831
The Saints were commanded to gather to Ohio.

Joseph Smith Chronology. Source: Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (Bushman)
1805    Dec. 23        Born at Sharon, Vermont
1811            Smith family moves to Lebanon, New Hampshire
1816            Smith family moves to Palmyra, New York
1820     Spring        First Vision
1823    Sept.        First visit of Moroni
1827    Jan. 18        Marries Emma Hale
Sept. 22    Obtains Book of Mormon plates
Dec.         Moves to Harmony, Pennsylvania
1828            Translates Book of Mormon with Martin Harris
June        116 pages of Book of Mormon manuscript lost
July        First records a revelation
1829    Apr. – June    Translates Book of Mormon with Oliver Cowdery
May 15        Visit of John the Baptist
June        Translation of Book of Mormon completed
1830    Mar.        Book of Mormon published.
Apr. 6        Church of Christ organized
June        Receives vision of Moses
Oct.         Missionaries leave on mission to Western Indians
1831    Jan.        Moves to Kirtland, Ohio

• 1st Sunday after organization, Oliver Cowdery preached and 6 people were baptized. Eight more people baptized the next Sunday. By end of April 23 people had joined the church, with the first to be baptized Joseph’s family and close friends: Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, the Whitmers, Solomon Chamberlin, Thomas Marsh.
• Conversions were slow. June 1830, Samuel Smith turned out at five different places in Livonia NY including the place where he was supposed to sleep, when he tried to sell Books of Mormon.
• Bloomington: still June 1930, a Methodist preacher, John P. Greene agreed to try to promote the book, with no results. However, his wife Rhoda joined in the fall, as did John, and Rhoda’s brothers, 2 years later: Phinehas, Lorenzo, Brigham and Joseph Young.
• Conversions occurred along family lines, and also split families.
• Joseph and Emma living in Harmony; elder Smiths lived with Hyrum in Manchester. One group of believers clustered around the Whitmers in Fayette, another around the Joseph Knight family in Colesville.
• Miraculous healing of Newel Knight:

Essentials in Church History, Joseph Fielding Smith© 1922 Deseret Book Company.

“He [Newel Knight] promised to assist Joseph in one of these meetings by offering vocal prayer, but when the time came his courage failed him. Later he expressed a desire to go out in the woods by himself and there, where he could be alone, offer vocal prayer, a thing to which he evidently was not accustomed. The following morning, in fulfilment of his promise, he retired into the woods alone, with a troubled conscience because of his failure to keep his promise on the previous occasion. Kneeling in a secluded spot he attempted to offer vocal prayer, but his lips were sealed. He could not pray. He began to feel uneasy and became troubled in both mind and body. When he arrived home his wife was greatly alarmed at his strange appearance. He requested her to send for Joseph, which was done. When he came he found Newel suffering very much; his visage was distorted, and his limbs were twisted out of shape in a frightful manner. Presently he was caught up from the floor and tossed about the room. The strange scene and excitement brought many of the neighbors to the house, who witnessed his peculiar malady.

After some difficulty Joseph succeeded in taking Newel by the hand, and with great earnestness Newel pleaded with him to cast the devil out of him, for he knew he was possessed. The Prophet said, “If you know that I can, it shall be done.” Then, almost unconsciously, he rebuked the evil spirit in the name of Jesus Christ and commanded him to depart. Immediately Newel spoke, saying he saw the evil spirit leave him and vanish from his sight. This was the first miracle performed in this dispensation. As soon as the devil departed Newel became normal again, his distortions of body ceased, and the Spirit of the Lord opened his vision to a glorious manifestation of the heavens.

Those who were present were greatly astonished when they saw the casting out of the devil, and the witness of the Spirit of the Lord. Nearly all of those who were present later became members of the Church.

The First Conference of the Church.—Shortly after this event, Joseph returned to Fayette. Newel Knight followed him and was baptized during the last week in May, by David Whitmer. On the 9th of June the first conference of the Church was held in Fayette. The Church at that time numbered twenty-seven souls. There were many others present at the meetings, some of whom were friendly and some who believed. At this conference the sacrament was administered and those recently baptized were confirmed. Others were sustained by the members to receive the Priesthood, and were ordained. The officers at the commencement of the Conference were, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Peter Whitmer and Ziba Peterson, each of whom held the office of elder in the Church. During this conference Samuel H. Smith was ordained to the office of an elder, Joseph Smith, Sen., Hyrum Smith and Martin Harris were ordained priests, and Hiram Page and Christian Whitmer were ordained teachers. At the close of this conference there were in the Church seven ordained elders, three priests and two teachers. Oliver Cowdery was appointed to keep the record of the Church and minutes of meetings until the next conference. The Holy Spirit was poured out upon them. Many of this little band composing the Church were given the spirit of prophecy, while others beheld visions and remarkable manifestations from the heavens. Newel Knight saw in vision the great work which would yet be accomplished through the preaching of the Gospel and the organization of the Church. He beheld the Redeemer and received the assurance that he would be admitted into his presence to dwell in his kingdom forever.

“To find ourselves engaged in the very same order of things,” said Joseph Smith, “as observed by the holy apostles of old; to realize the importance and solemnity of such proceedings; and to witness and feel with our own natural sense, the like glorious manifestations of the powers of the Priesthood, the gift and blessing of the Holy Ghost, and the goodness and condescension of a merciful God unto such as obey the everlasting Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, combined to create within us sensations of rapturous gratitude, and inspire us with fresh zeal and energy in the cause of truth.”

Eleven other converts were baptized at the close of this conference, by David Whitmer, in Seneca Lake, where most of the other baptisms were performed. Those added to the Church at this time were: John Poorman, John Jolly, Julia Ann Jolly, Harriet Jolly, Jerusha Smith (the wife of Hyrum Smith), William, Catherine and Don Carlos Smith; and Peter, Caroline and Electa Rockwell.

Trials: Opposition mounted after June 1830 conference; Joseph becomes accustomed to ridicule and rough treatment.
• June 26, dam torn out that a made a pond for baptisms (Colesville)
• June 28, about 50 men surrounded Joseph Knight’s home, threatening violence. This group followed Joseph Smith when he left Knight’s home.
• Sister of Newel Knight’s wife treated violently, served with a power of attorney and forced to return to her father’s home. She was baptized anyway.
• Joseph Smith arrested before baptisms could be confirmed (the day after baptisms). Warrant: “disorderly person, setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon,” “pretending to see underground.” Constable and JS escape mob following them. Trial in South Bainbridge, Chenango County, went on late into the night. JS acquitted.
• JS immediately arrested for same charges and taken 15 miles without food or sleep to Colesville, Broome County. Later, at an inn, JS subject to unprotected ridicule, though the constable lay close against him (against the wall) to prevent his escape.
• 10:00 a.m. next day JS in court. Newel Knight questioned about his healing. Witnesses were heard until 2:00 a.m. and the case was argued until 5:00 a.m. Again acquittal. Constable won over, warns JS that people want to tar and feather him. Emma was waiting at her sister’s house in Colesville. Emma and Joseph returned to Harmony.
• Joseph and Cowdery tried to return to Colesville to complete confirmations, but the “mob” met them at Joseph Knight’s home. During the night of the first trial, Knight’s wagons had been turned over and sunk in water, with rails piled against the doors and heavy chains sunk with the wagons. JS and Cowdery fled immediately.
• From Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (Bushman):
Joseph said they traveled all night, “except a short time, during which we were forced to rest ourselves[s] under a large tree by the way side, sleeping and watching alternately.” It may have been on this occasion that Peter, James and John appeared to Joseph and Cowdery  . . . Erastus Snow later said that Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph and Cowdery “at a period when they were being pursued by their enemies and they had to travel all night, and in the dawn of the coming day when they were weary and worn who should appear to them but Peter, James and John, for the purpose of conferring upon them the Apostleship, the keys of which they themselves had held while upon the earth, which had been bestowed upon them by the Savior.”

Revelations of the Restoration. Craig J. Ostler, Joseph Fielding McConkie. © 2000 Deseret Book Company
In the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county. Though no formal account exists of the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood, we have two reminiscences that bear examination. Addison Everett in a letter to Oliver B. Huntington written in 1881 states as follows: “I heard the following conversation between Joseph & Hyrum a few days before they were martyred. . . .

” . . . Oliver Cowdery was spoken of and Joseph went on to state that ‘at Coalville [Colesville] he & Oliver were under arrest on charge of Deceiving the people & in court he stated that the first miracle done was to create this earth.’ About that time his attorney told the court that he wanted to see Mr. Smith alone a few moments. When alone Mr. Reid said that there was a mob in front of the house & hosting [hoisting] the window, Joseph & Oliver went to the woods in a few rods, it being night, and they traveled until Oliver was exhausted & Joseph almost carried him through mud and water. They traveled all night and just at the break of day Olive[r] gave out entirely and exclaimed ‘O! Lord! How long Brother Joseph have we got to endure this thing,’

“Brother Joseph said that at that very time Peter, James & John came to them and Ordained them to the Apostleship.

“They had 16 or 17 miles to travel to get back to Mr. Hales his father in law and Oliver did not complain anymore of fatigue” (Porter, “Priesthood Restored,” 403).

• Joseph and Emma had been married 3.5 years.
• Emma nearly died when her firstborn son died June 1828.
• Joseph gone from home more than half the time since spring 1830, seeing to the publication of the Book of Mormon, organizing the church, etc.
• Had seen her husband twice arrested, pursued by a mob.
• When Joseph and Cowdery fled home to Harmony (above) she may already have been pregnant with twins, born April 1831.
• July 1830 – revelation to Emma. “murmur not because of the things which thou has seen.”
• “thy time shall be given to writing, and to learning much.”
• Worried about Joseph as a provider.
• Smith’s lost protection of Isaac Hale, from whom Smiths had purchased land and which they had plowed and sowed, in late summer 1830, leaving them defenseless. They moved to Newel Knight’s in Fayette last week of August.

One Response to “D&C Lessons 9 and 10, part 2, HISTORY”

  1. Valerie said

    Thanks for so much info. I teach Sunday School to the 12-13 year olds so I miss out on gospel doctrine class. It’s great to have all this to go along with my reading.

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