Conference News - 1866
The Deseret News – October 10, 1866
THIRTY-SIXTH SEMI-ANNUAL CONFERENCE.
The Semi-Annual Conference
convened in the Bowery in this city on Saturday morning, Oct. 6th, 1866.
President Young presiding.
On the Stand during the meetings were Presidents Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Daniel H. Wells...
President B. Young spoke of the unanimity of feeling enjoyed by all who receive the gospel, and their desires to make known its truths to all the children of men. Mankind can never find out God by any other than the Lord's own appointed way. He referred to his first hearing the gospel, and to the correctness with which the plan laid before him by illiterate men corresponded with the plan laid down in the New Testament; and spoke of the overwhelming testimony by which the work of God was sustained in this age, even in an early day after the organization of the Church....
The President continued, showing the evils of gambling, drinking and other kindred vices. There are but a very few among the community, entertaining views different to the people here, that follow these vices, encourage them, or seek to aid those engaged in them; and all good citizens irrespective of creed or faith will aid in their suppression, that the welfare, peace and good order of the community may be promoted.
He alluded to the family of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and to the kindly feelings which have been entertained towards them by the authorities of the Church and the Saints; and called up portions of the history of the Prophet Joseph which proved how far that family have gone astray, as well as all who follow after them in their present course...
Note 1: The editor of the Deseret News apparently did not feel any strong inclination to provide his readers at a distance details from President Young's remarks on "the family of Joseph Smith," as given orally to the conference attendees. In their 1994 book, Mormon Enigma, historians L. K. Newell and V. T. Avery cite "Brigham Young's address, 7 October, 1866, in Semi-annual Conference, Brigham Young papers, LDS Archives," [Ms d 1234, Box 49 fd 13] as preserving at least a portion of Young's public words on that occasion. The historians offer this excerpt: "Brigham described a 'secret council,' probably the November 5  meeting, at which he [Young] said Joseph accused Emma of the poisoning and 'called upon her to deny it if she could... He told her that she was a child of hell, and literally the most wicked woman on this earth, that there was not one more wicked than she. He told her where she got the poison, and how she put it in a cup of coffee; said he, "You got that poison so and so, and I drank it, but you could not kill me." When it entered his stomach he went to the door and threw it off. He spoke to her in that council in a very severe manner, and she never said one word in reply. I have witnesses all around, who can testify that I am now telling the truth. Twice she undertook to kill him.' He did not elaborate on the alleged second occurance..."
Note 2: A different source provides a similar, but lengthier excerpt from the same Oct. 7, 1866 conference talk: "I will now speak upon a subject which I think ought to notice for the benefit of a few who are inclined to be giddy-headed, unstable in their ways, and enthusiastic about something which they do not understand. You are already apprized of the fact that a son of Joseph Smith the Prophet was here in our City not long since. Joseph Smith's first son only lived a few hours; then Joseph Smith, commonly called Young Joseph, was born; then Frederic, and then Alexander; it was Alexander who was in our City lately. The people have not heard me say anything about him one way or the other. I will relate a few facts. The sympathies of the Latter-day Saints are with the family of the martyred prophet. I never saw a day in the world that I would not almost worship that woman, Emma Smith, if she would be a saint instead of being a devil. I feel so today. There is no good thing in a temporal point of view that I would withhold from her; anything that is in my power to do for her, I would willingly do with all my heart, and with an open hand. --- There are a few here that knew Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and some of them are apostatizing from the work, which the Lord commanded him to found, to run after Young Joseph Smith, the second son of the Prophet, who has no more authority to set himself up as a president and teacher of a people than any other man has in the sectarian world who possessed nothing of the priesthood of the Most High. Young Joseph Smith does not possess one particle of this priesthood. The Twelve Apostles and the other authorities of this Church would have been exceeding glad if the Prophet's family had come with us when we left Nauvoo for the valleys of these mountains. We would have made cradles for them if they had required them, and would have fed them on milk and honey. Emma is naturally a very smart woman; she is subtle and ingenious, and she has made all her children believe that myself, brother Kimball, and the other members of the Twelve laid the plot which terminated in the death of the Prophet. This charge is especially laid to myself. At the time that Joseph was killed I was in the city of Boston, a number of hundred miles away from the scene of the martyrdom. She has made her children inherit lies. To my certain knowledge Emma Smith is one of the damdest liars I know of on this earth; yet there is no good thing I would refuse to do for her, if she would only be a righteous woman; but she will continue in her wickedness. --- Not six months before the death of Joseph, he called his wife Emma into a secret council, and there he told her the truth, and called upon her to deny it if she could. He told her that the judgments of God would come upon her forthwith if she did not repent. He told her of the time she undertook to poison him, and he told her that she was a child of hell, and literally the most wicked woman on this earth, that there was not one more wicked than she. He told her where she got the poison, and how she put it in a cup of coffee; said he, "You got that poison so and so, and I drank it, but you could not kill me." When it entered his stomach he went to the door and threw it off. He spoke to her in that council in a very severe manner, and she never said one word in reply. I have witnesses of this scene all around, who can testify that I am now telling the truth. Twice she undertook to kill him. --- From a dream that I had while on my visit to Logan a short time since, I know that spiritualism is the head and front, and the arm and breast and brain, and the eyes and whole body of Young Joseph's profession and operations. In my dream I saw the Prophet Joseph, and he tried for awhile to sustain the old dwelling, and mediated building around it; but he finally concluded to discard it, and swept the ground clean where it stood to put up an entirely new building. Although this is a matter I have not thought of, yet the dream is true, and expresses the true state of the case. --- When Alexander Smith came here, we treated him kindly, and I plead with him to accompany us on our visit north. George A. Smith, his cousin, plead with him to accompany us, but to no purpose. Finally, Joseph F. Smith, who was from home, came back, and saw him, and met him in public in this city. Many of this congregation are acquainted with that circumstance. It was asked him what he thought of the endowment. He replied, "I do not mention it, for I do not wish to hear anything about the endowment." "What do you think of the doctrine of polygamy?" It is his business to preach against polygamy, and his brother Joseph said that his father never introduced it. Several of the sisters testified to him that they were sealed to his father. Well, said he, "if he did have any such revelation, or teach any such doctrine, or practice it, he must have got out of the way," or, in other words he must have been a fallen prophet, if he ever was a true prophet. That is the conclusion they come to when hard pressed with stern facts. Joseph Smith the Prophet taught the gathering; but this new sect deny the gathering. --- If there are any Latter-day Saints who wish to be destroyed, run after that family, and I will promise you in the name of the God of Israel that you will be damned. Any person who will follow this man or that man who is wrong, and refuses to submit himself to the ordinances of the house of God and to serve Him and keep His commandments, will perish; all that walk in that path will go to a sure and swift destruction. Young David Smith seems to be the pet of the company, he is heart and hand with his brother Joseph, and with a hundred others who are apostates from the true faith of the Gospel, and who were one with the mob who persecuted and slew the Prophet. When Joseph the Prophet was killed his wife Emma was pregnant. Joseph said, previous to his death, "She shall have a son, and his name shall be called David, and unto him the Lord will look." I am looking for the time when the Lord will speak to David, but let him pursue the course he is now pursuing, and he will never preside over the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in time nor in eternity. He has got to repent of his sins, and turn away from his iniquity, to cease to do evil, and learn to do well, embrace the Gospel of life and salvation, and be an obedient son of God, or he never can walk up to possess his right. It would be his right to preside over this Church, if he would only walk in the true path of duty. I hope and pray that he and the whole family will repent, and be a holy family. --- Now, you old Mormons, stop your talking about Young Joseph, and about David going to preside over the Church by and by! I wish he was prepared for it, would repent of his sins, and come in at the door, and be one with us, and walk up to the Twelve and the First Presidency, saying, I am one with you, and am your servant. When Sidney Rigdon swelled up and thought he was the most important man in the Kingdom, I told him where his place was, and that the Twelve Apostles would build up the Kingdom. Joseph more than one score of times told them both in private and in public, that he rolled the Kingdom on to their shoulders, and said I to Sidney, we will build it up, and bear it off, and not follow you one inch. What has he come to? He sits in the midst of the woods East mumbling to himself; but scarcely able to speak an intelligent word; he is almost a lunatic. And where has the rest of the apostates gone? And where has the rest of the apostates gone? And where will they go? Every one of them, bogus Joseph not excepted, will go to destruction, and the Kingdom of God will continue to flourish and spread abroad...."
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