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THE REORGANIZED, OR IOWA BRANCH OF THE CHURCH.
Joseph Smith, son of Joseph Smith, was officially declared by Judge L. S. the founder of the Mormon Church, Sherman, of Lake county, "that the is to-day the spiritual and temporal plaintiff, the reorganized Church of leader of 20,000 people who accept Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is the Bible and the Book of Mormon the true and lawful continuation of as their guides in all matters of relig- and successor to the said original ion, who repudiate Brigham Young Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day and his successors in the Utah branch, Saints, organized in 1830, and is enhave established and yet maintain titled in law to all its rights and missions in the Salt Lake Valley for property.” the purpose of warning the Brigham- When the younger Joseph and his ites from the crime and folly of followers, half a dozen years ago, polygamy, and who have been de- made a pilgrimage back to Kirtland, clared by an Ohio court to be the to hold an annual conference in the legal successors to the original Mor- old temple they had purchased and mon Church of Palmyra, Kirtland refitted, a
of horror and Nauvoo.
through staid Ohio over the prospect When, in 1880, this so-called Iowa of a few hundred Mormons, with a branch of Mormonism was making a dozen wives each, descending upon legal fight for the old temple at Kirt- Lake county to preach and practice land upon which the elder Joseph their peculiar doctrines, and the lack had staked so much, and in which he of knowledge there as to the existhad claimed to hold converse with tence, teachings and moral conduct Moses, Elias, and the Most High, it of this most exemplary branch of the
Mormon church is general through- and authentic documents of the out the land to-day, where seven church. The original church was
out of ten know absolutely crganized in 1830, and was at first nothing of this son of the Prophet called “The Church of Christ,” but Joseph, and the results that have as there was already existing a decome from his teachings and work. nomination under that
The statistical report of the reor- words “Jesus” and “Latter Day ganized church gives, for 1888, a Saints” were introduced by resolutotal membership of 20,678, and for tion and vote to secure recognition 1889, 22,163; a gain of 1,485. This and protection under the law of the report was made at the April session land. By 1844, when the founder of of 1889, and the leaders of the church the church and his brother were murnow state that from the reports dered in Carthage Jail, the humble already received from their various membership of six had been swelled fields of labor this figure will, by to a figure somewhere between 150,April, 1890, touch close on 25,000. and 200,000, as estimated by These figures cover actual enrolled Smith and others. This number had communicants over eight years of been converted and baptized into the age, and do not include many, pos
faith under the missionary sibly hundreds, who affiliate with the efforts of the elders upon a confession church, but are not enrolled.
In of belief in which there was no plural commenting upon these figures, when wife system of any sort, and no hint furnishing them, President Smith of disloyalty to the United States. said to the writer: “Were all these There were, according to the best incorporated I would feel safe in say. information that can now be obtained ing that we would number over thirty at Nauvoo and in Hancock county, thousand, and put in our children Ill., in the zenith of the Prophet's and the number would be still larger. power, some 25,000 of the church We added by baptism 1,743, the other membership additions were upon certificates of When Smith had fallen a victim to standing or membership, mainly be- the wrath of his enemies, and the fore my father's death in 1844." claims of Rigdon, Strang, Bishop, and
The term “reorganized,” as here others to the prophetic successorship used, signifies that the church is a had been pushed aside by the strong reorganization of the elements of and ruthless hand of Brigham Young, which the parent church was com- the great hegira to the wilderness posed at the death of Joseph and of Salt Lake occurred. It is usually Hyrum Smith, upon the basis of supposed that the mass of believers faith, church government, and doc- in Mormonism, as that faith then trine then embodied in the published prevailed, went with Brigham to the
West. This is a mistake. The statis- Nauvoo, in other sections of Illinois, tics of Utah show that in 1850, the and in other States of the Union, befirst census year after the settlement came as shepherdless sheep when of the Mormons there, there was their leader was killed, and scattered population of a little over 11,380; in away from the settlements they had 1860, 40,273 ; in 1870, 86,786 ; and in made and erected new homes where 1880, 143,963. From statistics fur- they could, many taking part in the nished by the Mormons in Utah to associations and church divisions the public last year there, were 9 above referred to, but many more apostles, 75 patriarchs, 3,719 high quietly settling down to take care of priests, 11,805 elders, 2,065 priests, themselves and await the develop2,282 teachers, 11,610 deacons, and in ment of events. One by one the varfamilies other than officers 81,889, ious associations failed; William equal to a total of 113,754.
Smith at Covington, Ky., and PalesThese figures are given to empha- tine, Ill.; Sidney Rigdon at Pittssize the fact that the missionary work burg, Penn., and the Cumberland of the church during the prophet's Valley; Lyman Wight in Texas; Allifetime, without polygamy, resulted pheus Cutter in Iowa; James J. Strang in an addition to the church of from at Voree, Wis., and on the Beaver 150,000 to 200,000, in the space of Islands in Lake Michigan. The fourteen years, or from April 6th, thousands who had followed them 1830, to June 27, 1844; and that after were left headless and scattered, as forty-five years from Smith's death, at first. In 1851 a few who were setor from June 27, 1844 to 1889, there tled in Southern Wisconsin and are not 150,000 in the Utah church, Northern Illinois, all of them memnotwithstanding the additions of bers of the church, on the death of plural marriage, proselyting, and Smith, set themselves lovingly and natural increase.
resolutely to the task of gathering The fact is that there were many these separated fragments together, hundreds, and perhaps thousands, basing their appeal upon the right of who would not and did not accept membership and the laws given to the rule of Young and the dogma of the church through the administrapolygamy. The prophet's surviving tion of Joseph Smith, which were to brother, William Smith; his sisters, be found in the Bible, the Book of Sophronia McClary, Catherine Salis- Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine bury and Lucy Millikin, with their and Covenants. families; his wife, Emma, and her These faithful few succeeded in family, were all among those who re- arousing a great interest among their fused credence to Young. The great- brethren of the early days, and in er number of those who
at June, 1852, a conference was held at
Beloit, Wis. An organization was certainly holds the confidence and determined upon, committees of con- affection of his church. ference and missionaries
He was born at Kirtland, Ohio, in pointed, and a determined effort set November, 1832, at a time when the on foot to find and enroll the many church was in its youth and just scattered members, isolated or in learning what germs of expansion groups, all over the Northwest. This and growth had been planted within effort was quite successful, and in it. He has a dim recollection of the April, 1860, a conference was held at exciting scenes amid which his boyAmboy, Lee county, II., at which hood was passed, and can relate many about three hundred members were
incidents that made a lasting impresrepresented. The Prophet's wife, sion upon his mind. He remembers Emma, and his son Joseph united a visit, in company with his mother, with the movement at this conference to the Missouri jail, into which his upon the baptism they had received father had been cast, “the removal in the original church, young Joseph to Illinois," to quote his own lanhaving been baptized at his father's guage, "the crossing on the ice, the own hands some time before his return of my father from captivity, death. From this humble start has and the subsequent arrival at Comthe Reorganized church grown,stead
With the sickly season that ily and surely, until now it numbers ensued upon the settlement made at its 25,000 scattered all over the globe, Commerce,subsequently Nauvoo, my with its headquarters in Iowa.' From active life began. At my mother's the conference minutes of 1888 it is direction, and under her active min. learned that in England it has a istration, I aided to care for those membership of 608; in Scotland, 15; whom the malaria of the swamp, inin Wales, 173; in Canada, 880; in cident to the new country, struck Nova Scotia, 26; in the Society Is- down with the fever. Once, with a lands, 725, and in Australia, 188. house full of fever-stricken patients,
Joseph Smith, the Presiding Elder a tent in the yard furnished shelter in name and the spiritual and the to mother and children, while with temporal leader in fact, has had an tender and sleepless solicitude she eventful life in some respects in which cared for those placed in her charge; compensation has followed close up- father absent, and others with their on trial in many ways. He has never hands full caring for their own, left been self-seeking, and his present no help to her save that of her little labor has been laid upon him at the boys, the oldest only able to carry hands of the church and not because water from the spring to cool the of his own ambition. Men generally parched tongue and quench the fevergive him credit for sincerity, and he ed thirst." In the fall of 1843, or the
spring of 1844, he does not remember and it was his right in the line of the which, he was baptized by his father priesthood. I know it,' replied at the foot of Main street, Nauvoo. Brigham; 'don't worry or take any “During the latter year,” he adds, trouble, Mother Smith: by so doing “and before the death of my father you are only laying the knife to the and Uncle Hyrum, I was blessed by throat of the child. If it is known the first in the presence of quite a that he is the rightful successor of number of the prominent elders in his father, the enemy of the priestthe church, this blessing being con- hood will seek his life. He is too firmed just prior to the tragedy at young to lead this people now, but Carthage."
when he arrives at mature age, he There is little doubt that Joseph shall have his place; no one shall rob intended the successorship to fall him of it. When the time came, ac
and that he was mur. cording to his own words, for Joseph dered by the mob before he could to receive his own, Joseph came, but make the claim of the son secure. Brigham received him not. He said, Bishop John D. Lee, in that remark- as an excuse, that Joseph had not the able confession and life record written true spirit; that his mother had just before his execution for the married a Gentile lawyer, and had Mountain Meadows massacre,
in infused the Gentile spirit into him; writing of the final days at Nauvoo, that Joseph denied the doctrine of makes use of these words:
his father's celestial marriage. Brig“It was then understood among ham closed the door and barred him the saints that young Joseph was to from preaching in the Tabernacle, succeed his father, and that right and raised a storm of persecution justly belonged to him. Joseph, the against him.” Prophet, had bestowed that right The son Joseph and his widowed upon him by ordination, but he was mother remained in Nauvoo until too young at that time to fill the
1847, when the last named became office and discharge its solemn duties. the wife of Major L. C. Bidamon, the Some one must fill the place until he “Gentile lawyer" above referred to. had grown to more mature age. I Joseph spent some time as clerk in a heard Mother Smith, the mother of store, and then ventured into a small Joseph the Prophet, plead with Brig- mercantile business of his own on a ham Young, with tears, not to rob few hundred dollars advanced by his young Joseph of his birthright, which mother, but it did not prove a success. his father, the Prophet, bestowed He spent some time upon a farm, upon him previous to his death. became railroad sub-contractor That Young Joseph was to succeed upon the Warsaw & Rockford road, his father as the leader of the church, in which he sunk a season's work and