BLTC Press Titles

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Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett

Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle

The Bhagavad Gita


The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Life in Utah; or, The mysteries and crimes of Mormonism

by John Hanson Beadle


A City rose as if by magic. Temporary in character as most of the buildings were, rude log houses or frame shanties, they served to shelter the rapidly gathering Saints. The first house on the new site was erected June 11th, 1839, and in eighteen months thereafter there were two thousand dwellings, besides school houses and other public buildings. The new city was named Nauvoo, a word which has no signification in any known language, but in the "reformed Egyptian" of Joe Smith's imaginary history, is said to mean "The Beautiful." The site was indeed beautiful, but not the most feasible they could have selected. Instead of locating immediately at the head of the Rapids, where there was a convenient landing at all seasons, they chose a spot one mile below, only approachable by steamboats at high water. The temporary structures, in no long time, gave way to more permanent buildings; improvements multiplied on every hand, and Joe Smith had almost daily revelations directing how every work should be carried on. Here, it was foretold, was to be built a great city and temple, which should be the great gathering place of "Zion," and central rendezvous of the sect, " until such time as the Lord should open the way for their return to Zion, indeed"—Jackson County, Missouri; and from here were to spread gigantic operations for the conversion of the world. One by one most of the Missouri apostates came creeping back into the Church; Orson Hyde was restored to his place as apostle, and was able to explain his apparent defection. A missionary board was organized, and arrangements perfected for foreign missions embracing half the world. On the 29 th of August, Orson Pratt and Parley P. Pratt set out on a mission to England, followed, September the 20th, by Elders Brigham Young, H. C. Kimball, George A. Smith, R. Hedlock, and T. Turley. Brigham had been appointed "President of the Twelve Apostles" in 1836, in place of Thomas B. Marsh, the apostate. They landed at Liverpool the 6th of April, 1840, and entered with zeal upon their work. Brigham assumed entire control of the enterprise, established various missions, baptized numerous converts, labored among the common people, preached, prayed, wrote and argued, lived hard, and travelled hundreds of miles on foot. May the 29 th, 1840, he established and issued the first number of the Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star, a periodical never suspended since. He organized a number of flourishing churches, and early in 1841 returned to Nauvoo, bringing with him seven hundred and sixty-nine converts. Shortly before this time, Sidney Rigdon had addressed a memorial to the Legislature of the State of Pennsylvania, praying for redress for the alleged losses of the Saints in Missouri, and calling upon the Congressional delegation from that State to move the General Government in their behalf; and in October, 1839, Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Elias Higbee and Orrin Porter Rockwell set out for Washington, delegated to seek redress. They reached the Capital, November the 28th, and were admitted forthwith to an audience with President Van Buren, who heard them through, and, according to their report, replied, "Gentlemen, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you," adding, in undertone, " I should lose the vote of the State of Missouri." By his own account this last remark was, "The General Government cannot interfere in the domestic concerns of Missouri." Nothing resulted from either application; but the attention of the country was attracted to Nauvoo. The rapid growth of the city excited the wonder of eastern people, and numerous curiosity hunters, correspondents and tourists hastened to visit it. They were treated with extreme complaisance, and in their reports the city lost nothing of its wonders. In October, 1840, a petition with many thousand names was forwarded for an Act of Incorporation for Nauvoo, and about the same time Joe Smith had another revelation that the Temple must be commenced at once, and ground was broken therefor October the 3d. The sudden and surprising prosperity of the sect attracted to them a number of ambitious and unscrupulous men, of whom four deserve particular notice.

Dr. Isaac Galland, was, in the early part of his life, a notorious horse-thief and counterfeiter, belonging to the "Massac Gang," as it was called, on the Ohio river. He had then nominally reformed and moved into Hancock County, where he was in 1834, a candidate for the Legislature, but was defeated by a small majority. Soon after, he came into possession of a large tract of land, and induced Joe Smith to settle on a part with a view to enhancing the value of the rest.

Jacob Backinstos came to Hancock from Sangamon County, where he had got credit for a stock of goods, sold them, and defrauded his creditors; after which he came over to the Mormons seeking his fortunes. His brother married a niece of Joe Smith, but Backinstos held off and took rank as a "managing Democrat," a sort of local politician. In this capacity he rendered some service to Judge Stephen A. Douglas, who, in turn, appointed him Clerk of the Hancock Circuit Court, this giving him great political power with the Mormons. By them he was at different times elected Sheriff and member of the Legislature, and continued a "Jack Mormon" to the end of the chapter.

"General" James Arlington Bennett was an adventurer of some talent, whose "range" was from Virginia to New York City, where he had an occasional connection with the press. He early wrote to Joe Smith, proposing a religious and political alliance,


adding, with refreshing candor, "You know Mohammed had his right hand man." Joe replied in a tone of good humored sarcasm, adding, however, a sort of offer for Bennett to visit Nauvoo.

The latter came soon after, and was baptized into the church, but not being trusted to the extent he desired, soon departed.

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