Preston, 7 December 1837

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Since the last Date I have been in Preston chiefly, but expect to leave tomorrow for a season. It is evident that I am most pleasing to the Lord when I am most engaged in the Work, and I also obtain more Faith and more of the Spirit, and Power. I purpose by the help of God to go forth and magnify my Office. It is rather trying, after giving up all for the Good of my fellow Men to be treated lightly, because of my weak abilities, or my inexperience in preaching, etc., and that often by the Saints; but the Lord sees it, and I keep my Mind pretty well above it. The Work is going on, though not quite as rapidly in Preston as it once did. Last Sabbath Elder Hyde preached in the Evening on the Priesthood, with extraordinary Power. I think I never heard anything equal it. He was filled with the Spirit, as I never before saw any man; thus the Lord is with us.

Mary Fielding Smith (1801-1852)

Mary Fielding Smith
(1801-1852)

I have just received a short letter from my Sister Mary in Kirtland. She is much troubled about her Friends in England because they have rejected our Message. May the Lord support her Mind. She relates the following Dream which she said she had a short time before the Date of her letter, Nov. 3rd: “I thought some of the Elders had been to Jerusalem and had found the Garment which Christ wore while on Earth. It had been brought from them and was at our old home at Honydon where I saw you wearing it. I felt a great Desire to have it in my hands, and persuaded you to take it off, which you did. When I was examining it I turned it inside outward, and found it covered with Blood. This Sight greatly affected me, and I turned with emotion to Mother and said ‘O Mother, you remember it is said they scourged his Back, and here are the Marks of his Blood left upon his garment.’ I mentioned this Dream to Brother Joseph1 who gave me this short interpretation. He said it was an Evidence that you wore the Priesthood of the Son of God, and you would have to endure some of his Stripes.”

It is observable that just about the same time my Sister had this Dream I was ordained an Elder, see page 40. This, though it appears somewhat alarming, greatly strengthens my Faith. I feel as though it would be an Honor to Suffer as my Lord and Savior did. O may he give me Wisdom and Strength, according to my Day.

Preston, 25 November 1837

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Have been from Preston 15 Days and have preached 11 times; sometimes in great weakness, but several times with much liberty. The Country is very wet, the Inhabitants thinly scattered, but many of them believed my testimony though they are slow to obey. I think I have discharged my duty faithfully. Had an interview with a Priest of the Church of England, a very weak man. He complained that we had come into his Parish. I told him I did not read of Parishes in the Scriptures. He made many foolish remarks, one was that Infants could believe, requiring me to prove they could not. I did not think it worth while to answer such questions. I told him my Message was to preach Repentance and Baptism to all and to him with the rest; that he must also repent and be baptized, and then left him. The Spirit of Persecution is rather more apparent but the work still goes on.

PRESTON, 7 November 1837

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This week I have been much tempted, cast down through manifold temptation.  It seems hard sometimes that the Lord has made me such an one as I am, so weak, with a Mind so contracted and so barren.  I fear he will never make much of me, yet I will not complain.  I will endeavor to improve my one Talent.  I feel determined to do the Will of God, but it is hard struggling with the World, the Flesh and the Devil.  The Lord seems determined to keep me humble.  I expect I shall get through this vale of Tears into the Presence of my heavenly Father where my Spirit shall be no longer depressed with a frail Tabernacle as it now is.  It has a desire to sink and soar into the Mysteries and Glory of God, but it is put up is a corruptible mortal Frame.  Lord increase my Faith.  The Work is still going on well.  Elder Kimball went out in a new direction last Tuesday and returned on Sunday Morning, having baptized 10.  The weather is very wet; it goes hard especially with Elders Kimball and Hyde an in some measure with myself.

Preston, 30 October 1837

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Sunday was a good Day; I rejoiced in it much.  Francis Moon and Richard Longsworth were ordained Priests.  May the Lord bless his own Work.  It is very pleasing to see such a Congregation of Saints raised up in so short a time; at least 200; an excellent set of Singers of the Church, and a crowded audience.

Preston, 29 October 1837

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Saturday, 29th, was set apart for fasting and Prayer, i.e. by Elders Kimball, Hyde and myself, at which time I was also ordained an Elder.  It was a profitable day.  8 were baptized; we also washed our feet against several Priests and others who had rejected our Testimony.  My dear Brother James was included; this had been long delayed.  May the Lord have mercy on them.

Preston, 27 October 1837

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October 27th.  Since the last Date I have been in the Country 2 weeks endeavoring to sound the Gospel Trump about 14 miles from Preston without Scrip or Purse for the first time.  Spoke first at Ribchester, but had not much Liberty.  I went on and held Meetings at other Places, generally with greater liberty than I had ever had before, though as I was following Elder Kimball, People would rather have seen him, yet they were mostly kind.  The Lord is blessing me; my Faith increases; my Mind is in some measure enlarged; I am determined to contend for and obtain the Faith once delivered to the Saints.  I feel afraid to say that of Alma and Nephi, yet why not?  My soul thirsteth after God; I believe I shall increase in Faith and Holyness until I come into his Presence, into the Blaze of His Glory.  This is the natural element for Soul, and nothing less can satisfy it; for this I trust I shall be enabled to endure all things that may come upon me.

Leyland.  The Work of God there is going on well; believers are daily added.  We have now perhaps 200 in Preston, 20 in and about Walkerfold.  Brother Russel has written lately he had 20 baptized; Elder Richards still in Bedford, but not much done.  Elder Hyde is mighty in Preaching; the hireling Priests almost mad but they durst not come against him.  Elder Kimball is mighty in Faith and also in Preaching, but is hindered by ill health.  We have just received Letters from Kirtland.  The Work is going pretty well there, and in America in general.  They are talking of building another House of the Lord in the Far West; other Stakes are also thought of.  A new Revelation has also been given for the Twelve by which it is understood that Elders will not bring their wives to other Nations, etc.

On Friday 26th, I went to see my Brother James and Sister Martha for the Purpose of reading to them a letter from Sister Mary in Kirtland, but my Mind was hurt and darkened.  I do not intend to visit them again unless they send for me.

Preston, 10 October 1837

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The said Aitkin exhorted his People to unite in fervent prayer that we might be stopped or removed from the Place and if that would not do he prayed the Lord would unite the leaders.  But at the very time he was thus talking, the Lord was pouring out his Spirit in a remarkable manner on some few of us met together at Mary Leache’s house.

On Sunday last we had a refreshing time.  The Church, about 140, met together, took the Sacrament; 13 were confirmed, and 6 Teachers and one Deacon were ordained:  George Watts, Thomas Walmsley, Thomas Richardson, Peter Melling, John Halswell, Thomas Webster, Teachers, and Arthur Burrow, Deacon.  All was conducted in perfect order and unity.  The Teachers rejoiced, and spoke as being thankful and as being determined to be faithful.  May the Lord bless them.  Bros. Kimball and Hyde seem to act in perfect unison and as led by the Spirit of God.  I feel myself highly favored of the Lord in having so much of their Company.  They both dreamed a few nights ago that they were in a strong Ship on full sail in a very narrow Channel, sometimes seemingly too narrow to admit the Ship; sometimes filled with Earth or Rocks and other old vessels; but they sailed on with great Strength in spite of it all.  This answers well to the State of the Church at this time.  The Priests are all endeavoring to stop it, but it goes on the faster.

Bro. James Fielding is uniting with others in opposing us.  He is very bitter.  He seems disposed to contradict everything I say, but I do not talk to him much; but we have decreed in the Name of the Lord that whatever is done by any one against the Word of God shall turn against himself, and thus it is and thus it shall be.

Preston, 7 October 1837

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The work is still going on well. Not only is the number increasing, but the Saints are increasing also in the Spirit. Those who learned something of God before, say they have free access to God. There is no Veil, nothing in the Way; their Hearts are enlarging; their Faith is increasing; they look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ with Confidence. The Priests and others have several times threatened to oppose us publicly, but they are restrained by the Wisdom of God in a great degree. Some are preaching against us and the Gospel in their own Pulpits, but it is decreed that it shall turn against themselves. And so it is and so it will be. Some rather popular Preachers are now in Preston; they excite some Interest in the Place. I have been to hear, but it seems all to be darkness and Ignorance. Some of the Saints have also been to hear them and it has done them good. They begin to see the Darkness from which they have been delivered and it makes them rejoice. There is no food for them now in their old way; they have something far better. We are expecting to ordain some to the office of Teacher and to go into the Towns and Villages around, and so to extend the Work. Doors open on all sides; Souls are fainting for lack of food in all parts. The Spirit and Power of God are upon Bro. Kimball and Hyde; Bro. Richards is still in Bedford; Bro Russel is in Alston; Bros. Goodson and Snyder had left us and are gone home to America. I think they should not have gone and Elders Kimball and Hyde believe so too. They left on the 5th. Bro. Goodson has some old Enemies in London, but he wanted to go home. Bro. Snyder has some business at home but not pressing. He had never spoken much in public, ahd not much liberty, and was discouraged. May the Lord yet bless them and make them useful in his Church.

There are now but three of us in Preston but are much united. We intend to labor with all our Might and in the Name and Strength of the Lord to turn the World upside down. We are just informed that a popular Preacher last Night in his Pulpit said we were in the Devils Conjurers. His name is Aitkin. May the Lord confound him and his Fraternity, and cause the Truth to Prevail, Amen. This man said in my hearing that if it would be to the Glory of God he would consent to be dragged through the Streets, etc. He never once heard any of us preach and yet he thinks himself qualified thus to judge of it, but the Lord will judge a righteous Judgment.

We are spending this day in fasting and Prayer, that we may obtain more Influence over the Powers of Darkness. They are all exerted to darken our Minds and to hinder the Work and the whole Armour of God is in requisition. There is not an a society in Preston or about it, as we are informed, but what is opposing us and complaining of our influence in their Churches. O the Darkness of this Generation. The Light shineth in the Midst of it, but it comprehendeth it not, but the Wicked will be prepared for the Day of the Lord as well as the Righteous. By rejecting the Truth they cause the Spirit of God to leave them, and they will be come ripe for Destruction, for the Wine press of the Wrath of God.

 

Preston, 26 September 1837

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South Ribble Museum built in the 1700s this building would have been one of the ones standing in Leyland at the time of Joseph's Mission

South Ribble Museum built in the 1700s this building would have been one of the ones standing in Leyland at the time of Joseph’s Mission

Have been again to Layland, etc., but have been much cast down from a sense of my Weakness.  The Enemy has got me under in a measure for want of stronger Faith.  The Darkness and prejudice of the People is very great, and great Wisdom is needed to clear a way through it to the hearts and Understanding.  Some seed, however, has been sown in our Weakness on good ground.  Many are looking for something they have not.  They are tired of their old dry sort of teaching; they find in it no Food for their Souls.  Nothing has yet been said to them on the Subject of the Gathering, but the Spirit has taught it in a measure to those that have believed.  The further we go, the greater the Work appears to gather out the Saints and bring them to Zion, that they may escape those things that shall come on the Earth.

Preston, 19 September 1837

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Last Tuesday Bro. Snyder and myself left Preston on a short Mission into the Country; went first to Leyland 5 miles.  We had no invitation thither, but soon found a Place to speak in; gave out that Evening that we should hold a meeting the next Evening.  A professed Preacher of the Independent Order—having got a Timely Warning, published by Bro. Hyde, came on purpose to oppose.  Bro. Snyder spoke first and then myself.  As soon as we had closed our Service he got up and began talking in violent manner against our Doctrines calling it nerve; he read sometime from the Paper he had got, every Word Scripture; said we were applying it to our time; that I had nothing to do with us in our day; it was respecting the Gifts of the Spirit.  He said the Meek now inherit the Earth, that Christ now reigns upon the Earth.  He talked and preached Jesus Christ to the People in Opposition to the Doctrine of Baptism until he sweat and foamed at the Mouth like a mad man.  Several took his side, but the worst were disgusted at him.  We made some reply, but he was so outrageous that we could hardly speak.  This was our first Start; pretty rough, but the Lord turned it to good.  The next morning one of the best of his flock called upon us and appeared to like our preaching, and on leaving us put two shillings into our hands.  It was given that we should preach on Thursday evening in the Methodist Chapel, but their preacher came and foiled it.  This offended some of their people, the Trustee of the Chapel came to tell us, and said he had got another Place, where we preached, and were again opposed by the same Priest.  He proposed to try us on our doctrine by our drinking some Poison.  He got into such a Rage in preaching Jesus to the People that they made a move to put him out of the House, at which he went out himself.  The people liked our preaching and invited us to come again.  The next Day went to Chosley [or Chorley] 5 miles further.  Got a meeting in the Evening of about 200, but were again opposed, but some were attracted by the Truth which we preached.  We left on Appointment for the next Sunday and returned to Preston.  We found Elder Goodson from Bedford.  The Work there is not very prosperous.  Elder Richards is there in charge of the little Church there.  The Work here (Preston) is going on rapidly.  I feel much of my own weakness, but feel determined to labor in the Vineyard of the Lord.  I feel the more I labor the more I increase in Faith and Wisdom.  Lord Strengthen me.

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