A Young Folks' History of the Church
laid out, and it seemed as if the Saints could at last live and enjoy their rights as
Joseph was busy setting the Church in order and in receiving the word of the Lord for the
guidance of the Saints.
One of the most important revelations given at this time was regarding the law of tithing.
This law says that the Saints should first put all their surplus property into the hands of
the bishop to be used for the benefit of the Church, and then after that, they should pay
one tenth of all they made, as a tithing to the Lord; and the Lord further said that if the
Saints did not keep this law, the land whereon they dwelt should not be a land of Zion
In the year 1838 the Saints in and around Far West numbered about twelve thousand.
Thus you see they began to be a power in the land, especially when it came to voting for
officers of the state and county. At these times the Saints would of course vote for good
men, men who were their friends, and this often made the Missourians angry.
At an election in Gallatin, the county seat of Daviess county, August 6, 1838, a mob of
Missourians tried to prevent the brethren from voting. A general fight was the result, in
which the "Mormons" defended themselves with umbrellas, sticks, whips, and their stout
Reports came to Joseph and the people in Far West that some of the brethren had been
killed and that the mobbers would not let their bodies be buried. At this, Joseph, with
about twenty armed men, rode towards the scene of trouble. On the way he learned that
the report was not true. They then called on a justice of the peace, named Adam Black.
Mr. Black promised Joseph that he would not aid the mob, but would enforce the laws
justly. Next day Joseph and his party held a meeting with some leading men of the
county, wherein both parties promised to keep the peace, and if any person broke the law
in this respect he was to be given up to the officers of the law and punished.
Some twenty days after Mr. Black had made such good promises, he and some others had
papers made out for the arrest of Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight for coming into
Daviess co., and doing all kinds of wicked deeds. When the constable called on Joseph at
Far West, Joseph said he was willing to stand trial, but he wanted it to be in Caldwell,
instead of Daviess county, as in the latter there existed too much excitement and ill-
feeling. The officer did not arrest the Prophet at this time, but the report spread that
Joseph had resisted the officer and would not be arrested. To prove how false this was,
Joseph with his brother Hyrum and some others, went to Daviess county for trial. At this
trial Mr. Black swore to some wicked falsehoods, and although four witnesses told the
truth of the matter, Joseph and Lyman were bound over, that is, they were to be ready to
stand trial when the regular court should meet.
False reports now flew far and wide again, and the mobs began to gather from other
counties to "help drive the Mormons from the State." Some of the mob painted and
dressed themselves up as Indians. The Saints, especially in the smaller settlements, were
attacked, until they had to flee to Far West for protection. The Saints now thought it time
to protect themselves from the mobs, so they organized a company of state militia.
Lyman Wight was an officer in this militia and he commanded the men. He succeeded in
driving the mob from Daviess county, but this of course, only made the excitement the