A Young Folks' History of the Church by Nephi Anderson - HTML preview
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.
The scriptures often speak of a time in the latter days when the people of God shall be gathered together to build up the Lord's kingdom and prepare for his second coming. The gospel should be preached to all the world, and those who would believe should go out from Babylon, or the wicked world, and came together with the people of the Lord. Every elder who has been on a mission will tell you that as soon as persons accept the gospel, a desire comes to them to gather with the main body of the Saints. Thus the Lord puts the spirit of gathering into the hearts of the believers, and his purposes are fulfilled.
The Lord told the prophet Joseph that the time for this gathering had come, and that the central gathering place for the Saints on this land was somewhere in the West, though at first the exact location was not told him.
In December, 1830, the word of the Lord came to Joseph that the Saints should gather to Ohio. This was westward and in the proper direction. The western missionaries had raised up large branches in Ohio, so it was not like going into a new place. The Church was growing steadily, and many revelations were given to the Saints. We might say the Lord was assigning lessons for us, which we have not yet learned very well.
Preparations were made for this removal by holding the third conference of the Church at Fayette and setting its affairs in order.
One day, about the 1st of February, 1831, a sleigh containing two men and two women, drove through the streets of Kirtland, Ohio, and stopped at the door of Gilbert and Whitney's store. One of the men alighted, and springing up the steps, walked into the store where one of the owners was standing.
"Newel K. Whitney, thou art the man!" exclaimed the visitor, extending his hand as to an old friend.
"You have the advantage of me," replied the storekeeper, "I could not call you by name as you have me."
"I am Joseph, the prophet," said the stranger, smiling. "You've prayed me here; now what do you want of me?"
Mr. Whitney, you will remember, had joined the Church sometime before, and of course he was delighted to see the prophet. Joseph and his wife, Emma, stayed at Brother Whitney's house for some time. Shortly after this, Newel K. Whitney was called to be bishop at Kirtland, and later he became the second presiding bishop of the Church.
Early next spring, 1831, the Saints from New York began to come to Ohio, buying land in and around the town of Kirtland.
Before leaving Fayette, Joseph had been visited by a young man who had walked two hundred miles to see him and have the prophet tell him what his duty was. This young man was Orson Pratt, brother of Parley P. Pratt. Joseph received a revelation in whichOrson was called to preach the gospel to the world; and this duty Orson Pratt did all his life.
Elder Pratt became one of the Twelve Apostles. He went on a great many missions in this country and to Europe, during which time he crossed the ocean sixteen times. He became one of the most learned men in the Church, and wrote many books on gospel subjects. Read the title, or first page of the Book of Mormon and the book of Doctrine and Covenants and see what they say of Orson Pratt. Elder Pratt was one of the pioneers, he and Erastus Snow being the first two men of that company to enter Salt Lake Valley.
Another man who came to see Joseph while yet at Fayette was Sidney Rigdon, a former Campbellite preacher whom Parley P. Pratt had baptized at Kirtland. Elder Rigdon also became a prominent man in the Church, being first counselor to President Joseph Smith during the life time of the prophet. He took an active part in all the affairs of the Church up to within a few months of the prophet's death. He was greatly disappointed because he was not chosen to succeed Joseph as the leader of the Church, and soon after apostatized. He died outside the Church.
Thomas B. Marsh was the name of a man who came to Kirtland with the Church. He became a leader among the Saints and was president of the first quorum of Twelve Apostles. Elder Marsh did much missionary work and suffered with the Saints in their persecution; but in 1838 he became dissatisfied and did some wicked things against his brethren. He was therefore cut off from the Church. Nineteen years after he came back and was baptized again. He came to Utah and lived at Ogden, where he died, a poor, broken-down man.
Topics.—1. The gathering. 2. The move to Ohio. 3. Orson Pratt. 4. Sidney Rigdon. 5. Thomas B. Marsh.
Questions and Review.—1. What is meant by the gathering? 2. Quote some scriptural passage on the gathering. 3. Where was the first gathering place? 4. Locate Kirtland. 5. Tell about Joseph's first visit to Kirtland. 6. Who was Newel K. Whitney? 7. When did most of the Saints move to Kirtland? 8. Tell what you can about Orson Pratt? 9. Name some of his books. 10. What high position did Sidney Rigdon hold? 11. Why did he leave the Church? 12. Tell about Thomas B. Marsh.