“I finally ordered him to sit down- he said he would not unless I knocked him down”

I love reading the personal journal of Joseph Smith because it is a sobering reminder of how human Joseph Smith and the other great men of the LDS restoration movement were and what ups and downs they had as they struggled to bring forth the kingdom.

I was delighted to find a portion of the journals online today. They are here for anyone who would like to read them.

In this post I thought I would provide a fascinating snippet covering a few short days, containing the following string of events-

  • William Smith, the brother of Joseph becomes angry at Joseph the Prophet and accuses him of showing disrespect to Mother Smith during a meeting
  • Joseph tells William to sit down
  • William says Joseph will need to knock him down
  • Joseph becomes agitated at William
  • Joseph and William later try to resolve the hurt feelings between each other using their brother Hyrum as a facilitator
  • William becomes angry again and threatens to leave the church
  • William takes the dirty laundry between he and Joseph to the streets which embarrasses Joseph in front of the enemies of the Church
  • William prejudiced the mind of br. Samuel Smith against Joseph
  • Visitors are coming intermittently to see the mummy and artifacts
  • Emma is chastised for leaving a meeting before taking the sacrament… her response was to weep.
  • Joseph is intermittently receiving various revelation during these few days
  • The Lord reveals to Joseph that he is upset with Reynolds Cahoon
  • Joseph gets a revelation stating that the 12 apostles are under condemnation. This causes various members of the quorum to visit Joseph and listen to the contents of the revelation to see if they believe it..
  • IN the revelation about the twelve, it addresses the current fiasco with William Smith: “…as for my Servant William let the Eleven humble themselves in prayer and in faith and wait on me in patience and my servant William shall return, and I will yet make him a polished shaft in my quiver..”


29 October 1835 • Thursday

Br W. Parish [Warren Parrish] commenced writing for me. Father & Mother Smith visit[ed] us and while we set writing Bishop Partrige [Edward Partridge] passed our window just returned from the East Br Parish commenced writing for me at $15.00 pr month I paid him $16.00 in advance out of the committee Store Br Parrish agrees to board himself, for which I agree to allow him four Dollars more pr. month making $19.00. I was then called to appear before the high Council which was page 10 setting to give my testimony in an action brought against Br. David Eliot for whiping his Daughter unreasonably my testimony was in his favour, returned to our writing room, went to Dr. Williams after my large Journal, made some observations to my Scribe concerning the plan of the City which is to be built up hereafter on this ground consecrated for a stake of Zion while at the Doct[or’s] Bishop E Pa[r]trige came in, in company with President Phelps, I was much rejoiced to see him, we examined the mumies, returned home and my scribe commenced writing in my Journal a history of my life, concluding President Cowdery[Ôs 2d] letter to W. W. Phelps, which president Williams had begun Bishop Whitney & his wife with his Father & Mother called to Visit us, his parents having lately arived here from the East called to make enquiry concerning the coming forth of the book of Mormon, Bishop Partrige & some others came in I then set down and taught related to them the history of the coming forth of the book the administration of the Angel to me the rudiments of the gospel of Christ &c they appeared well satisfied & I expect to baptise them in a few days, or this is my feelings upon the subject altho they have not made any request of this Kind at present, went to the council, the Presidency arose and adjourned on my return Elder Boynton observed that long debates were bad. I replyed that it was generally the case that to[o] much altercation was generally indulged in, on both sides and their debates protracted to an unprofitable length; we were seated called to super, after being seated around the table Bishop Whitney observed to Bishop Partrige that the thought had just occured to his mind that perhaps in about one year from this time they might be seated together around a table in on the land of Zion page 11 Sister Emma my wife observed that she hoped it might be the case that not only they but the rest of the company present might be seated around her table in the land of promise; the same sentiment was reciprocated from the company round the table and my heart responded amen God grant it, I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, after super I went to the high council in company with my wife and some others that belong to my house hold I was solicited to take a seat with the presidency and preside in a case of Sister Eliots I did so my Mother was called as testimony and began to relate circumstances that had been brought before the church and settled I objected against such testimony the complainant Br. William Smith arose and accused me of invalidating or doubting My mothers testimony which I had not done nor did I desire to do I told him he was out of place & asked him to set down he refused I repeated my request he become enraged I finally ordered him to set down he said he would not unless I knocked him down I was agitated in my feeling on the account of his stubournness and was about to call leave the house, but my Father requ[e]sted me not to do so I complyed the house was brought to order after much debate upon the subject and we proceded to buisness & br. Eliot & his wife were both cleared from the charges prefered against them

[edit] 30 October 1835 • Friday

at home Mr. Fransis Porter called from Jefferson Co. New York a member of the Methodist Church, called to make some inquiry about lands in this place whether there is any farmes for sale that are valuable and whether page 12 a member of our church could move into this vicinity and purchase lands and enjoy his own possessions & property without making it common Stock, he had been requested to do so by some brethren who live in the town of Leroy Jeff[erson] Co N. Y I replyed that I had a valuable farm joining the Temple Lot that I would sell & that there is other lands for sale in this place and that we have no common stock business among us, that every man enjoys his own property, or can if he is disposed, consecrate liberally or illiberally to the support of the poor & needy, or the building up of Zion, he also enquired how many members there are in this church I told him that there is about five or six hundred who commune at our chapel and perhaps a thousand in this vicinity; at evening I was presented with a letter from Br. Wm Smith the purport of which is that he is censured by the brethren on the account of what took place at the council last night and wishes to have the matter settled to the understanding of all, that he may not be censured unjustly, concidering that his cause was a just one, and that he had been materially injured; I replied that I thought we parted with the best of feelings, that I am not to blame on the account of the dissatisfaction of others. I invited him to call and talk with me, and that I would give talk with him in the spirit of meekness and give him all the satisfaction I could this reply was by letter copy retained

[edit] 31 October 1835 • Saturday

in the morning br. Hyram Smith came in and said he had been much troubled all night and had not slept any page 13 that something was wrong while talking br. Wm Smith came in according to my requ[e]st last night br. Hyram observed that he must go to the Store I invited him to stay he said he would go and do his business & return he did so while he was gone br. William introduced the subject of our difficulty at the council, I told him I did not want to converse upon the subject untill Hyrum returned, he soon came in I then proposed to relate the occurrences of the council before named and wherein I had been out of the way I would confess it and ask his forgivness, and then he should relate his story and make confession wherein he had done wrong he said he had not done wrong and then leave it to br. Hyrum Smith & br. Parish to decide the matter between us and I would agree to the decission & be satisfyed there with; he observed that he had not done wrong, and that I was always determined to carry my points whether right or wrong and there fore he would not stand an equal chance with me; this was an insult, but I did not reply to him in a harsh manner knowing his inflamatory disposition, but tryed to reason with him and show him the propriety of a complyance with my request, I finally succeeded with the assistance of br. Hyrum in obtaining his assent to the proposition that I had made. I then related my story and wherein I had been wrong I confessed it and asked his forgivness after I got through he made his statements jusifying himself throughout in transgressing the order of the council & treating the authority of the Presidency with contempt; after he had got through br. Hyrum began to make page 14 some remarks, in the spirit of meekness, he became enraged, I joined my brother in trying to calm his stormy feelings, but to no purpose he insisted that we intended to add abuse to injury, his passion increased, he arose abruptly and declared that he wanted no more to do with them us or the church and said we might take his licence for he would have nothing to do with us, he rushed out at the door we tryed to prevail on him to stop, but all to no purpose, he went away in a passion, and soon sent his licence to me, he went home and spread the levvin of iniquity among my brethren and especially prejudiced the mind of br. Samuel as I soon learned that he was in the street exclaiming against me, which no doubt our enemys rejoice at, and where the matter will end I know not, but I p[r]ay God to forgiv[e] him and th[e]m, and give them humility and repentance, the feelings of my heart I cannot express on this occasion. I can only pray my heavenly Father to open their eyes that they may discover where they stand, that they may extricate themselves from the snare they have fallen into after dinner I rode out in company with my wife and children, br. carloss & some others, we went to visit br. Roundy & family who live near Willoughby, we had an interesting visit at br. Roundy[Ôs] as soon as I returned I was called upon to baptise Samuel Whitney & his Wife and Daughter after baptism we returned to their house and offered Our thanks, in prayer I obtained a testimony that Br. William Would return and to the church and repair the wrong he had done page 15

[edit] 1 November 1835 • Sunday

Verily thus Saith the Lord unto me, his servant Joseph Smith jr min[e] anger is kindle[d] against my servant Reynolds Cahoon because of his iniquities his covetous and dishonest principles in himself and family and he doth not purge them away and set his house in order therefore if he repent not chastisment awaiteth him even as it seemeth good in my sight therefore go and declare unto him these words I went imediately and del[i]vired this message according as the Lord commanded me I called him in & read what the Lord had said concerning him, he acknowledged that it was verily so & expressed much humility I then went to meeting Elder Carrill [John Corrill] preached a fine discourse, in the afternoon President Phelps continued the servises of the day by reading the 5th chapt. of Mathew also the laws regulating the High Council and made some remarks upon them after which sacrament was administered I then confirmed a number who had been baptised & blessed a number of children in the name of Jesus Christ with the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant, notice was then given that the Elders School wou[1]d commence on the morrow, I then dismissed the meeting.

[edit] 2 November 1835 • Monday

was engaged in regulating the affairs of the School, I then had my team prepared & Sidney Oliver Frederick and my scribe and a number of others went to Willoughby to Hear Doct[or] Piexotto [Daniel Peixotto] deliver a lecture on the profession theory & practice of Physic [medicine] page 16 we called at Mr. [Nathan] Cushmans, had our horses put in the Stable took dinner, attended the lecture was treated with great respect throughout; returned home Lyman Wight came from Zion to day; George & Lyman Smith also from the East the question was agitated whether Frederick G. Williams or Oliver Cowdery Should go to New York to make arangements respecting a book bindery they refered to me for a decision, and thus cam[e] the word of the Lord unto me saying it is not my will that my servant Frederick should go to New York, but inasmuch as he wishes to go and visit his relatives that he may warn them to flee the wrath to come let him go and see them, for that purpose and let that be his only business, and behold in this thing he shall be blessed with power while to overcome their prejudices, Verily thus saith the Lord Amen.

[edit] 3 November 1835 • Tuesday

Thus came the word of the Lord unto me saying concerning the Twelve saying behold they are under condemnation, because they have not been sufficiently humble in my sight, and in consequence of their covetous desires, in that they have not dealt equally with each other in the division of the moneys which came into their hands, nevertheless some of them dealt equally therefore they shall be rewarded, but verily I say unto you they must all humble themselves before me, before they will be accounted worthy to receive an endowment to go forth in my name unto all nations, as for my Servant William let the Eleven humble themselves in prayer and in faith page 17 and wait on me in patience and my servant William shall return, and I will yet make him a polished shaft in my quiver, in bringing down the wickedness and abominations of men and their shall be none mightier than he in his day and generation, nevertheless if he repent not spedily he shall be brought low and shall be chastened sorely for all his iniquities he has commited against me. nevertheless the sin which he hath sined against me is not even now more grevious than the sin with which my servant David W. Patten and my servant Orson Hyde and my servant Wm E. McLellen have sinned against me, and the residue are not sufficiently humble before me, behold the parable which I spake concerning a man having twelve Sons, for what man amon[g] you having twelve Sons and is no respecter to them and they serve him obediantly and he saith unto the one be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here, and to the other be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there, and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just, ye will answer and say no man, and ye answer truly, therefore Verely thus saith the Lord your God I appointed these twelve that they should be equal in their ministry and in their portion and in their evangelical rights, wherefore they have sin[n]ed a verry grevious sin, in asmuch as they have made themselves unequal and have not hearkned unto my voice therfor let them repent speedily and prepare their hearts for the solem[n] assembly page 18 and for the great day which is to come Verely thus saith the Lord Amen.

I then went to assist in organizing the Elders School called to order and I made some remarks upon the object of this School, and the great necessity there is of our rightly improving our time and reigning up our minds to the a sense of the great object that lies before us, viz, that glorious endowment that God has in store for the faithful I then dedicated the School in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. after the School was dismissed I attended a patriarchal meeting at Br Samuel Smiths, his wifeses parents were blessed also his child & named Susanah, at evening I preach[e]d at the Schoolhouse to a crowded congregation

[edit] 4 November 1835 • Wednesday

in morning, at home attended school all during the school hours, made rapid progress in our studies, in the evening, lectured on grammar, at home on this day King Follet arived at this place from Zion

[edit] 5 November 1835 • Thursday

attended School all day Isaac Morley came in from the east this morning I was called to visit Thomas Burdick who was sick, I took my scribe with me and we p[r]ayed for and laid our hands on him in the name of the Lord Jesus and rebuked his affliction Wm E. McLellen & Orson Hyde came in and desired to hear the revelation concerning the Twelve, my scribe read to him them they expressed some little dissatisfaction but after examining their own hearts, they acknowledged it to be the word of the Lord page 19 and said they were satisfied; after School Brigham Young came in and desired also to hear, it read also after hearing it he appeared perfectly satisfied; in the evening lectured on Grammar

[edit] 6 November 1835 • Friday

at home. attended School during the school hours returned and spent the evening at home I was this morning introduced to a man from the east, after hearing my name he replied remarked that I was nothing but a man: indicating by this expression that he had supposed that a person, to whom the Lord should see fit to reveal his will, must be something more than a man, he seems to have forgotten the saying that fell from the lips of St. James, that Elias was a man of like passions like unto us, yet he had such power with God that He in answer to his prayer, shut the heavens that they gave no rain for the space of three years and six months, and again in answer to his prayer the heavens gave forth rain and the earth brought forth fruit; and indeed such is the darkness & ignorance of this generation that they look upon it as incredible that a man should have any intercourse with his Maker.

[edit] 7 November 1835 • Saturday

spent the day at home attending to my domestic concerns; The word of the Lord came to me saying, behold I am well pleased with my servant Isaac Morley and my servant Edward Partridge, because of the integrity of their harts in laboring in my vinyard for the salvation of the souls of men, Verely I say unto you their sins are page 20 forgiven them, therefore say unto them in my name that it is my will that they should tarry for a little season and attend the school, and also the solem assembly for a wise purpose in me, even so amen

[edit] 8 November 1835 • Sunday

went to meeting in the morning at the us[u]al hour, Z[erubbabel]. Snow preached a verry interesting discourse, in the after noon J[oseph]. Young preached; after preaching Isaac Hill came forward to make some remarks by way of confession, he had been previously excommunicated from the church for lying & for an attempt to seduce a female; his confession was not satisfactory to my mind Uncle John Smith arose and made some remarks respecting the dealings of the high council on the case of the said Hill, that is that he should make a public confession of his crime and have it published in the messenger and Advocate, he proposed that Mr Hill should now make his confession before the congregation and then immediately observed that he had forgiven Mr Hill, which was in contradiction to the sentiment he first advanced, this I attributed to an error in Judgment not in design President Rigdon then arose and verry abruptly militated against the sentiment of Uncle John, which had a direct tendency to destroy his influence and bring him into disrepute in the eyes of the church, which was not right, he also misrepresented Mr Hills case wh and spread darkness rather than light upon the subject a vote was then called of the church was then called on his case and he was restored without any further confession; that he should page 21 be received into the church by babtism which was administered acordingly. after I came home I took up a labour with uncle John and convinced him that he was wrong & he made his confession to my satisfaction; I then went and laboured with President Rigdon and succeded in convincing him also of his error which he confessed to my satisfaction.

The word of the Lord cam[e] unto me saying that President Phelps & President J[ohn] Whitmer are under condemnation before the Lord, for their errors for which they made satisfaction the same day; I also took up a labour with John Carrill [Corrill] for leaving the meeting before not partaking of the sacrament, he made his confession; also my wife for the same leaving the meeting before sacrament she made no reply, but manifested contrition by weeping


One Response to “I finally ordered him to sit down- he said he would not unless I knocked him down”

  1. waitingandwatching says:

    Thank you so much for this post. What amazing insights into the foundation movement and the people and their challenges!

    As I read the following part I was overcome with a similar wish, that those whom we love and also that believe could be gathered around Joseph Smith’s table and that we could all be in Zion together.

    “we were seated called to super, after being seated around the table Bishop Whitney observed to Bishop Partrige that the thought had just occured to his mind that perhaps in about one year from this time they might be seated together around a table in on the land of Zion page 11 Sister Emma my wife observed that she hoped it might be the case that not only they but the rest of the company present might be seated around her table in the land of promise; the same sentiment was reciprocated from the company round the table and my heart responded amen God grant it, I ask in the name of Jesus Christ,”

    I am totally humbled that these amazing people of the foundation movement found themselves amidst and participating in so much contention. We all like to think that we would never act like that but I bet the tempting spirit of the adversary was really wreaking havoc. None of us are above being affected.

    The Lord said He would have a humble people and having these experiences must have been totally humbling to them.

    It just has to be right around the corner that we get to be gathered together in Zion and I’m sure a lot of humbling will be in order, not to mention what many of us are going through right now.

    Something that is helping me go through my trials right now is contained in the Book of Mormon when Nephi was going through terrible trials when his brothers had tied him up on the ship when coming to the promised land.

    1 Nephi 18:16
    Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions.

    I find that when things get tough I try to praise God and I need to remember that he designed the curriculum for the day for me and that He needs to teach me something through this experience. Also, that I should request His help by remembering His character and nature and asking for the blessings that He promises because of that character and nature.

    Thank you again for this post.

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