Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, Peter Whitmer Jr., and Oliver Cowdery are called on a mission to the Lamanites. Lucy’s description of the indomitable Emma. The four missionaries stop in Ohio to preach the gospel, and hundreds respond to the message of the Restoration, including Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge. Sidney and Edward come to Waterloo to meet the Prophet. The Lord commands the Church to gather in Ohio. Joseph and Emma move to Kirtland, Ohio.
October 1830 to February 1831
I mentioned in a foregoing chapter that when Joseph and Emma left Manchester they went to Macedon. Here he commenced his ministerial labors and continued, for some time, to preach successively in this place, Colesville, Waterloo, Palmyra, and Manchester, till finally he sent to Pennsylvania for his goods and settled himself in Waterloo. Soon after which, a revelation was given commanding Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, Peter Whitmer, and Oliver Cowdery to take a mission to Missouri, preaching by the way. As soon as this revelation was received, Emma Smith and several other sisters began to make arrangements to furnish those who were set apart for this mission with the necessary clothing, which was no easy task, as the most of it had to be manufactured out of the raw material.
Emma’s health at this time was quite delicate, yet she did not favor herself on this account, but whatever her hands found to do she did with her might, until so far beyond her strength that she brought upon herself a heavy fit of sickness, which lasted four weeks. And, although her strength was exhausted, still her spirits were the same, which, in fact, was always the case with her, even under the most trying circumstances. I have never seen a woman in my life who would endure every species of fatigue and hardship from month to month and from year to year with that unflinching courage, zeal, and patience which she has ever done; for I know that which she has had to endure-she has been tossed upon the ocean of uncertainty-she has breasted the storms of persecution, and buffeted the rage of men and devils, which would have borne down almost any other woman. It may be that many may yet have to encounter the same-I pray God that this may not be the case; but, should it be, may they have grace given them according to their day, even as has been the case with her.
As soon as those men designated in the revelation were prepared to leave home, they started on their mission, preaching and baptizing on their way wherever an opportunity afforded. On their route they passed through Kirtland, where they preached a short time and raised up a branch of twenty or thirty members. Before leaving this place, they addressed a letter to Joseph, desiring him to send an elder to preside over the branch which they had raised up. Accordingly, Joseph dispatched John Whitmer to take the presidency of the Church at Kirtland; and when he arrived there, those appointed to go to Missouri proceeded on their mission, preaching and baptizing as before.
In December of the same year, Joseph appointed a meeting at our house. While he was preaching, Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge came in and seated themselves in the congregation. When Joseph had finished his discourse, he gave all who had any remarks to make the privilege of speaking. Upon this, Mr. Partridge arose, and stated that he had been to Manchester with the view of obtaining further information respecting the doctrine which we preached; but, not finding us, he had made some inquiry of our neighbors concerning our characters, which they stated had been unimpeachable, until Joseph deceived them relative to the Book of Mormon. He also said that he had walked over our farm, and observed the good order and industry which it exhibited; and, having seen what we had sacrificed for the sake of our faith, and having heard that our veracity was not questioned upon any other point than that of our religion, he believed our testimony and was ready to be baptized, “if,” said he, “Brother Joseph will baptize me.”
“You are now,” replied Joseph, “much fatigued, Brother Partridge, and you had better rest today and be baptized tomorrow.”
“Just as Brother Joseph thinks best,” replied Mr. Partridge, “I am ready at any time.”
He was accordingly baptized the next day. Before he left, my husband returned home from prison, bringing along with him considerable clothing, which he had earned at coopering in the jail yard.
The latter part of the same month, Joseph received a letter from John Whitmer, desiring his immediate assistance at Kirtland in regulating the affairs of the Church there. Joseph inquired of the Lord and received a commandment to go straightway to Kirtland with his family and effects; also to send a message to Hyrum to have him take the branch of the Church over which he presided and start immediately for the same place. And my husband was commanded, in the same revelation, to meet Hyrum at the most convenient point and accompany him to Kirtland. Samuel was sent on a mission into the same region of country, while I and my two sons William and Carlos were to be left till the ensuing spring, when we were to take the remainder of the branch at Waterloo and move also to Kirtland.
It was but a short time till Joseph and Emma were on their way, accompanied by Sidney Rigdon, Edward Partridge, Ezra Thayre, and Newel Knight. When they were about starting, they preached at our house on the Seneca River; and on their way they preached at the house of Calvin Stoddard, and likewise at the house of Preserved Harris. At each of these places, they baptized several individuals into the Church.
On Joseph’s arrival at Kirtland, he found a church consisting of nearly one hundred members, who were, in general, good brethren, though a few of them had imbibed some very erroneous ideas, being greatly deceived by a singular power which manifested itself among them in strange contortions of the visage, and sudden, unnatural exertions of the body. This they supposed to be a display of the power of God. Shortly after Joseph arrived, he called the Church together in order to show them the difference between the Spirit of God and the spirit of the devil. He said, if a man arose in meeting to speak, and was seized with a kind of paroxysm that drew his face and limbs in a violent and unnatural manner which made him appear to be in pain; and if he gave utterance to strange sounds which were incomprehensible to his audience, they might rely upon it, that he had the spirit of the devil. But, on the contrary, when a man speaks by the Spirit of God, he speaks from the abundance of his heart-his mind is filled with intelligence, and even should he be excited, it does not cause him to do anything ridiculous or unseemly. He then called upon one of the brethren to speak, who arose and made the attempt, but was immediately seized with a kind of spasm which drew his face, arms, and fingers in a most astonishing manner.
Hyrum, by Joseph’s request, laid his hands on the man, whereupon he sank back in a state of complete exhaustion. Joseph then called upon another man to speak who stood leaning in an open window. This man also attempted to speak, but was thrown forward into the house, prostrate, unable to utter a syllable. He was administered to, and the same effect followed as in the first instance.
These, together with a few other examples of the same kind, convinced the brethren of the mistake under which they had been laboring; and they all rejoiced in the goodness of God in once more condescending to lead the children of men by revelation and the gift of the Holy Ghost.