|Chapter 33 Legal organization of the Church at the home of Peter Whitmer Sr. in Fayette, New York. Joseph’s parents are baptized. Samuel Harrison Smith called on a mission to surrounding area. An account of his challenges. He meets with John P. Greene.
April 1830 to July 1830
During the fall and winter we held no meetings, because of the plotting schemes of the people against us, but in the spring, about the first of April of the same year in which the Book of Mormon was published, Joseph came from Pennsylvania and preached to us several times. My husband and Martin Harris were baptized. Joseph stood on the shore when his father came out of the water, and as he took him by the hand he cried out, “Praise to my God! I have lived to see my own father baptized into the true Church of Jesus Christ,” and covered his face in his father’s bosom and wept aloud for joy as did Joseph of old when he beheld his father coming up into the land of Egypt. This took place on the sixth of April, 1830, the day on which the Church was organized.
Shortly after this, my sons were all ordained to the ministry, even Don Carlos, who was but fourteen years of age. Samuel was directed to take a number of the Books of Mormon and go on a mission to Livonia, to preach and make sale of the books, if possible. Whilst he was making preparations to go on this mission, Miss Almira Mack arrived in Manchester from Pontiac. This young woman was a daughter of my brother Stephen Mack, whose history I have already given. She received the gospel as soon as she heard it, and was baptized immediately, and has ever since remained a faithful member of the Church.
On the thirtieth of June, Samuel started on the mission to which he had been set apart by Joseph, and in traveling twenty-five miles, which was his first day’s journey, he stopped at a number of places in order to sell his books, but was turned out of doors as soon as he declared his principles. When evening came on, he was faint and almost discouraged, but coming to an inn, which was surrounded with every appearance of plenty, he called to see if the landlord would buy one of his books. On going in, Samuel inquired of him, if he did not wish to purchase a history of the origin of the Indians.
“I do not know,” replied the host; “how did you get hold of it?”
“It was translated,” rejoined Samuel, “by my brother, from some gold plates that he found buried in the earth.”
“You liar!” cried the landlord. “Get out of my house-you shan’t stay one minute with your books.”
Samuel was sick at heart, for this was the fifth time he had been turned out of doors that day. He left the house and traveled a short distance and washed his feet in a small brook, as a testimony against the man. He then proceeded five miles further on his journey, and seeing an apple tree a short distance from the road, he concluded to pass the night under it; and here he lay all night upon the cold, damp ground. In the morning, he arose from his comfortless bed, and observing a small cottage at no great distance, he drew near, hoping to get a little refreshment. The only inmate was a widow, who seemed very poor. He asked her for food, relating the story of his former treatment. She prepared him victuals, and, after eating, he explained to her the history of the Book of Mormon. She listened attentively and believed all that he told her, but, in consequence of her poverty, she was unable to purchase one of the books. He presented her with one and proceeded to Bloomington, which was eight miles further.
Here he stopped at the house of John P. Greene, who was a Methodist preacher and was at that time about starting on a preaching mission. He, like the others, did not wish to make a purchase of what he considered at that time to be a nonsensical fable; however, he said that he would take a subscription paper, and if he found anyone on his route who was disposed to purchase, he would take his name, and in two weeks Samuel might call again and he would let him know what the prospect was of selling. After making this arrangement, Samuel left one of his books with him, and returned home. At the time appointed, Samuel started again for the Reverend John P. Greene’s, in order to learn the success which this gentleman had met with in finding sale for the Book of Mormon. This time, Mr. Smith and myself accompanied him, and it was our intention to have passed near the tavern where Samuel was so abusively treated a fortnight previous, but just before we came to the house, a sign of smallpox intercepted us. We turned aside, and meeting a citizen of the place, we inquired of him, to what extent this disease prevailed. He answered that the tavern keeper and two of his family had died with it not long since, but he did not know that anyone else had caught the disease, and that it was brought into the neighborhood by a traveler who stopped at the tavern overnight.
This is a specimen of the peculiar disposition of some individuals, who would sacrifice their soul’s salvation rather than give a Saint of God a meal of victuals. According to the word of God, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, in the Day of Judgment, than for such persons.
We arrived at Esquire Beaman’s, in Livonia, that night. The next morning Samuel took the road to Mr. Greene’s, and, finding that he had made no sale of the books, we returned home the following day.
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