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A Young Folks' History of the Church
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Persecution Of Joseph
By this time you will see that when the Lord set his hand to begin the great latter-day
work, the evil one was also present, trying to hinder its progress. At the very beginning
there were only Joseph and a few friends to work against, but now the Church was fast
becoming established in the land, and if it were to be stopped some strong effort would
have to be made. So the evil one inspired men to gather in large crowds or mobs to annoy
and do harm to the members of the Church and their friends.
Shortly after the conference mentioned in the last chapter, Joseph and a number of other
elders went to Colesville to hold meetings and baptize some believers. The brethren built
a dam in a creek on Saturday where they were to baptize on Sunday, but during the night
a mob tore the dam away. However, meeting was held on Sunday, and early on Monday
morning the dam was repaired and the baptisms were attended to; but before they were
through, the mob gathered and followed the Saints to their homes, making all kinds of
threats. That evening as they were going to hold a meeting, a constable arrested Joseph
Smith on the charge of making disorder, setting the country in an uproar by preaching the
Book of Mormon, etc.
The constable was a good man, and told Joseph that the mob was going to try to take him
and perhaps kill him; but he would protect Joseph. In driving to another town where the
court was to be held, the mob lay in waiting by the road, but the constable whipped up his
horse and they got away.
The next day when Joseph was called to be tried, there was a large crowd and much
excitement as many wished to see and hear the young prophet. The trial commenced and
many persons who knew Joseph were called to tell something about him. Among the
number was Mr. Stoal, for whom Joseph had worked.
"Did not the prisoner, Joseph Smith, have a horse of you?" was asked of Mr. Stoal.
"Yes, sir," was the answer.
"Did not he go to you and tell you that an angel had appeared unto him and told him to
get the horse from you?"
"No; he told me no such story."
"Well, how had he the horse of you?"
"He bought him of me as another man would do?"
"Have you had your pay?"
"That is not your business."
The same question was asked again.
"I hold his note for the price of the horse," replied Mr. Stoal, "which I consider as good as
the pay, for I am well acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr., and know him to be an honest
man, and if he wishes, I am ready to let him have another horse on the same terms."