One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism
To the church in Ephesus Paul taught:
"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ." (Ephesians 4:4-7)
Surely it is true. There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, yet are the pictures we form in our head of what this means accurate? Is the Lord bound by those pictures in our head, or does he mean, what he meant when the Holy Ghost inspired Paul to utter these words? Is the Lord comfortable violating our understanding of his word?1
The Lord Speaks According to His Own Pleasure
"And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever." (2 Nephi 29:9)
In 1772 Benjamin Abbot lived a life of "in sin and open rebellion against God, in drinking, fighting, swearing, gambling &c." he often went to Presbyterian meetings. "Many times the Spirit of God alarmed my guilty soul of its danger; but it as often wore off again...Thus I continued in a scene of sin, until the fortieth year of my age; yet many were the
promises I made, during that period, to amend my life, but all to no purpose; they were as often broken as made; for as yet I never had heard the nature of conviction or conversion." In his thirty-third year he had a vision of himself being tormented in hell and in his fortieth year and in the distress of his soul cried out to the Lord:
“I…saw by faith the Lord Jesus Christ standing by me with his arms extended wide saying to me 'I died for you.' I then looked up and by faith I saw the Ancient of Days and he said to me 'I freely forgive thee for what Christ has done.' At this I burst into a flood of tears and with joy in my heart cried and praised God and said O that there were a minister to give me the Lord's Supper. Then by faith I saw the Lord Jesus come to me as with a cup in his hand and he gave it to me and I took it and drank thereof it was like unto honey for sweetness…”
[Speaking to his wife’s minister,] He...told me he understood that God had done great things for me whereupon I related my conviction and my conversion he paid a strict attention until I had done and then told me that I was under strong delusions of the devil. He got a book out of his library for me to read. As he handed it to me the Lord showed me by the voice of his Spirit that the book was not fit for me However I disobeyed the Divine impression and took it at the minister's request…
“At length when in prayer under sore temptation in despair a new thought was impressed my mind that I must not trust in the arm of for Cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. I then saw that my salvation did not depend on his standing or falling; I had to stand for myself and to give diligence through grace to save my own soul that my soul must answer at the bar of God for my own deeds.” (Experience and Gospel Labors Of The Rev. Benjamin Abbott)2
Incredibly, this language "Cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh" is not found in the Bible, but it is almost identical to the teaching of Nephi: "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm." (2 Nephi 4:34)
This language and teaching "I then saw that my salvation did not depend on his standing or falling I had to stand for myself" is nearly identical to Joseph's teaching: “President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel--said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church--that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls--applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall--that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves…” (TPJS, Section Five 1842-43, p.237) and Joseph's inspired translation of Mark 9:44: "Therefore, let every man stand or fall, by himself, and not for another; or not trusting another."
Another example in 1782 Billy Hibbard's soul was wracked with torment for his sins. He thought praying for himself was vain and that he was lost. He then cried out to the Lord for others, hoping his own damnation might save someone else:
"…when I came to the place of prayer had kneeled down and closed my eyes with my hands uplifted toward the heavens I saw Jesus Christ at the right hand of God looking down upon me and God the Father looking upon him The look of Jesus on me removed the burden of my sins while he spoke these words, 'Be faithful unto death and this shall be thy place of rest.' I never had seen Jesus Christ before nor heard his voice nor ever had a sense of his intercession at the right hand of God for me till now and now I could see the justice of God in shewing mercy to me for the sake of his Son Jesus Christ and not only to me but to all that would come to him forsaking their sins and believing that his death and suffering were the only satisfactory sacrifice for sin. I felt a sudden sense of the impropriety of my offer to be damned for the good of others though I had no condemnation for it; but love of God in Christ and of Christ in God so overcame me that I was all in tears crying, Glory! Glory! Glory! Beholding the glory God by faith was a rapturous sight; but soon it suggested that I must open my eyes on creation; feeling an ardent desire for company to encourage me in this worship of God, it appeared that on opening my eyes I should see some. I opened my eyes therefore while still on my knees: and behold all nature was praising God. The sun and firmament, the trees, birds, and beasts, all appeared stamped with the glory of God. I leaped from my kneeling posture clapped my hands, and cried, Glory! Glory! Glory! Heaven and earth is full of thy glory." (Memoirs of the life and travels of Billy Hibbard, p. 24)3
In 1815 Norris Stearns likewise realized the precarious position he found himself in before the Lord and cried to him:
“…as I lay apparently upon the brink of eternal woe, seeing nothing but death before me, suddenly there came a sweet flow of the love of God to my soul, which gradually increased. At the same time, there appeared a small gleam of light in the room, above the brightness of the sun, then at his meridian, which grew brighter and brighter: As this light and love increased, my sins began to separate, and the Mountain removed towards the east. At length, being in an ecstacy of joy, I turned to the other side of the bed, (whether in the body or out I cannot tell, God knoweth) there I saw two spirits, which I knew at the first sight. But if I had the tongue of an Angel I could not describe their glory, for they brought the joys of heaven with them. One was God, my Maker, almost in bodily shape like a man. His face was, as it were a flame of Fire, and his body, as it had been a Pillar and a Cloud. In looking steadfastly to discern features, I could see none, but a small glimpse would appear in some other place. Below him stood Jesus Christ my Redeemer, in perfect shape like a man—His face was not ablaze, but had the countenance of fire, being bright and shining. His Father's will appeared to be his! All was condescension, peace, and love!!” (The Religious Experience of Norris Stearns, quoted in R. L. Bushman, “The Visionary World of Joseph Smith” BYU Studies 37 no. 1:191)
These many examples lead Historian Richard L. Bushman to reason thusly:
“Joseph did tell a Methodist preacher about the vision. Newly reborn people customarily talked over their experiences with a clergyman to test the validity of the conversion. The preacher's contempt shocked Joseph. Standing on the margins of the evangelical churches, Joseph may not have recognized the ill repute of visionaries. The preacher reacted quickly, not because of the strangeness of Joseph's story but because of its familiarity. Subjects of revivals all too often claimed to have seen visions. In 1825 a teacher in the Palmyra Academy said he saw Christ descend "in a glare of brightness exceeding tenfold the brilliancy of the meridian Sun." The Wayne Sentinel in 1823 reported Asa Wild's vision of Christ in Amsterdam, New York, and the message that all denominations were corrupt. At various other times and places, beginning early in the Protestant era, religious eccentrics claimed visits from divinity. Nathan Cole, a Wetherfield, Connecticut, farmer and carpenter, recorded in his ‘Spiritual Travels’ that in 1741 ‘God appeared unto me and made me Skringe [cringe?]; before whose face the heavens and the earth fled away; and I was shrinked into nothing….’
“The visions themselves did not disturb the established clergy so much as the messages that the visionaries claimed to receive. Too often the visions justified a breach of the moral code or a sharp departure in doctrine. By Joseph's day, any vision was automatically suspect, whatever its content. "No person is warranted from the word of God," a writer in the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine said in 1805, ‘to publish to the world the discoveries of heaven or hell which he supposes he has had in a dream, or trance, or vision. Were any thing of this kind to be made known to men, we may be assured it would have been done by the apostles, when they were penning the gospel history.’ The only acceptable message was assurance of forgiveness and a promise of grace. Joseph's report on the divine rejection of all creeds and churches would have sounded all too familiar to the Methodist evangelical, who repeated the conventional point that ‘all such things had ceased with the Apostles and that there never would be any more of them.’” (Richard L. Bushman “Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism” 1988 p.57-9, Emphasis Added)
The Lord is able to do his own work, and he doesn't need our declarations or misunderstandings of his word to speak according to his pleasure.2
According to Our Own Language and Understanding
"For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding." (2 Nephi 31:3)
The religion and beliefs of others are no barrier to the Lord. We often reason that if another does not agree with our religion or our point of view—even if we judge them when we have not seen God ourselves—that the Lord will not speak with them.
The third lecture on faith states:
"Let us here observe, that three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation. First, The idea that he actually exists. Secondly, A correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes. Thirdly, An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will.—For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding, it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ."
Yet look at Alma the Younger, King Lamoni, his wife and household, King Lamoni's father. These had not a perfect understanding, yet the Lord was able to make himself known to these men and women.
Look at the man who brought his child who was possessed and tormented to the Lord who pathetically asked "if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us." The Lord responded "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."
Because their hearts were right, the Lord was able to correct the defects in these people.
We are each here to obtain grace. We are each here in a unique set of circumstances, uniquely situated, to learn specific things.
House of Order
"Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion." (D&C 132:8)
We often use this concept to place restrictions on the Lord. We have images in our head of what a "house of order" means and we impose our images as if they are the Lord's own. Someone said, once, that the Lord never violates his word, but he is very comfortable violating our understanding of his word.
Consider the way Moroni said the faithful Nephites organized their meetings:
"And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done." (Moroni 6:9)
Did this require planning the meeting topics a year in advance? Did it require selecting speakers weeks in advance, or reading their talks from paper or a teleprompter? Did it require a known and repeatable meeting format? Did it even require a man and two counselors at the head to organize it?
Here is one description that clearly shows our mistaken idea of God's "House of Order":
"God's house is a house of order, but that does not mean what you think it means. God follows patterns. He establishes and ordains things according to one pattern, and then He takes them down again according to another pattern, and He does not vary. There is no guarantee, when He establishes a house in one instance, that that house cannot rebel, reject Him, and be rejected by Him at another. Just because God undertakes one work does not mean that He cannot undertake yet another. Just because He ordains one system at one time it does not mean that, when that system becomes abusive, He will not deal with the system He ordained according to its own standards in order to bring about the result He warned about. He follows a pattern and therein is the house of order.
"When Christ came the first time, God took down a previously established hierarchy using an orderly process, informing us about His house of order. He ordained John to bring it to an end, which put him on a collision course with the hierarchy. John the Baptist was 'ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord…' Joseph Smith elaborated, 'The son of Zacharias wrested the keys, the kingdom, the power, the glory from the Jews, by the holy anointing and decree of heaven.'
"For His return, we should expect something similar to His first coming. That is, an orderly take down of a competing hierarchy using someone ordained to accomplish that end that is put by God on a collision course with the targeted power structure. John’s mission required them to reject the truth and testimony he offered. It was orderly, public and required a conflict followed by rejection. In any modern take down of the LDS hierarchy the Lord will allow those involved to act freely. The hierarchy must voluntarily and clearly violate God’s standard. It must be orderly, public and the result of a conflict ordained by God’s will. This is how a house of order operates anciently and again today.
"The Book of Mormon is more prophecy than history. Before the Lord’s appearance to the Nephites, society broke down into tribes consisting of family and friends. Immediately before the Lord’s return we should expect something similar. Therefore, part of the preparation by God’s house for coming social chaos is likely to include some preliminary preparations by families and friends to fellowship with one another in local gatherings, perhaps completely apart from control by the LDS hierarchy. Only by independently functioning can they hope to prepare for social chaos prophesied to accompany Zion and precede the Lord’s return. There will also be indigenous prophet-led people coming through God’s assistance to Zion.
"Joseph Smith cautioned the saints about violating God’s trust. As Joseph put it: 'His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath. We should expect God’s house to be ordered around only one principle: repentance. When the pride of a great organization replaces repentance, the heavens withdraw, and when they do, 'Amen' to that portion of God’s house. But the restoration through Joseph will always remain, even if God chooses to order it differently before His return. It is His to do with as He determines best....
"His house is a house of order, but since the days of Abraham God’s house has included things about which we have very little knowledge.
"Because of apostasy by the overwhelming majority of Adam’s posterity, Abraham was born into apostasy. Abraham’s struggle to overcome an apostate world qualified him to be the father of the righteous. His struggle to return and reclaim faith is the model mankind would see, with very few exceptions, forever after. He was the prototype of 'everyman' in a post-deluge world, cut off from God, the Patriarchs and the Garden.
"Abraham’s chosen son, with whom the covenant would continue, was Isaac. God renewed the covenant with Isaac, and again with Jacob, and again with Joseph. But Abraham married after the death of Sarah. His wife, Keturah, bore him sons also. Among these was Midian. Generations later, the chosen line was devoid of priesthood, but through Midian a descendant named Jethro was still a 'priest' whose line of authority reckoned back generations. This priest who had seven daughters, ordained Moses to the very priesthood that allowed him to enter God’s presence. From this we know the 'house of God' extended beyond the Biblical narrative involving Abraham’s lineage. God’s house included generations of righteous, priesthood empowered, independently functioning families lost to the scriptural record and our memory.
"Even if only the chosen line from Abraham is God’s house, the Assyrian captivity of the Northern Kingdom removed ten tribes from the Bible’s account. The apocryphal book of Esdraus records they were led away to the north by God, at which point they vanished from our record. While absent from our Bible, these missing people remained prophet-led. They kept a sacred record we have yet to have revealed to us. Christ following His resurrection visited them, like the Nephites. God’s house of order spread in all directions and vanished from view.
"At approximately 600 B.C., a party of believers were prophet-led to abandon Jerusalem and flee to the Americas. Their record is the Book of Mormon. They, along with the missing ten tribes, remained part of God’s house of order, although we knew nothing concerning them until the Book of Mormon publication in 1830.
"Despite being widely separated, Christ considered them all 'one fold.' He was their 'one shepherd.'
"Moses founded a religious establishment headed by descendants of Aaron and assisted by male members of the Tribe of Levi. This hierarchy, however, never controlled the Old Testament prophets, who were outsiders frequently condemning the religious establishment. God ordained them directly, outside Israel’s religious hierarchy. One of these independently ordained prophets declared: 'I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit. And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.' Called only by God, they functioned outside of man’s authority and control. The house of order God establishes and watches over has frequently refused to obey Him. Prophets roundly condemned Israel’s priests and false prophets for failing to follow His path and respect His commandments. All of this is God’s house of order.
"The Book of Mormon follows a splinter group led by Zeniff into the land of Lehi-Nephi. His kingdom was conferred on his son, King Noah, who was wicked. His wickedness included an aggressive building program, while neglecting the needs of his people. He released all his father’s priests and called new ones 'such as were lifted up in the pride of their hearts.' Among these was the priest Alma.
"When Noah’s people departed from God’s path, a single man entered the scene. He was unconnected from any known genealogy. Only he bears the name 'Abinadi' in the book, and therefore we cannot know for certain if he was Nephite, Lamanite, Jaredite, or something other. The lone witness, Abinadi, condemned King Noah, his court and his people. The established authorities were incredulous. King Noah declared: 'Who is Abinadi, that I and my people should be judged of him, or who is the Lord, that shall bring upon my people such great affliction?' The house of order, as far as the king and his priests could tell, could not include such an outsider.
"Joseph Smith explained John the Beloved was still here, laboring with the lost tribes of Israel. There were three Nephite disciples who similarly 'never taste of death' and remain here. LDS scripture also mention there are yet others 'ye know not of' who are likewise here with no account given us.
"Many more examples could be given, but this is enough to show the house of order established by God is beyond man’s will and never fully disclosed. Although an orderly process fills offices in His house, God can, has and will still speak up through whomever He chooses. Just because He says something to one, we should not conclude He is prevented from speaking with another."
When the Lord appeared to the Nephites he taught them the doctrine of baptism he said:
"Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine. And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God." (3 Nephi 11:31-34)
This is so important that he repeated the same thing three times. Why would a God condescend to repeat himself multiple times, and then add this warning?
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them." (3 Nephi 11:39-40)
There was no church these people joined when they were baptized. There was no declaration of belief in a creed. There were simply people to whom the Lord spoke and said "I give you power" and those who desired to humble themselves to the desires of their God and be baptized after the manner of His burial. There was nothing else required of those who were baptized. The ordinance was between themselves and the Lord. Whether or not they truly repented was known only between them and the Lord. They were not required to confess as to whether they had been guilty of a major crime; they were not required to confess that Nephi was the current prophet and the only man on earth who has all priesthood keys. They were not required to have abstained from coffee or tea, nor were they required to say they even believed such a law, for the Lord declared that the motivations of those who add to, or take away from his doctrine are evil.
This does not mean there is not more to know. Just because this is the doctrine, doesn't mean this is all of the teachings, all of the precepts, all of the knowledge or intelligence that can be obtained. It simply limited the Doctrine of Christ to such simple terms that anyone of any faith or creed might come unto and obtain and it was not to be amended by anyone.
Christ's declaration of his doctrine was simply a repeat of what He and the Father had told Nephi six hundred years earlier:
"And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?
"And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son. And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel." (2 Nephi 31:11-13)
Likewise, let us refer to the Lord's definition of "church".
"Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church." (D&C 10:67-68)
Does this mean a Methodist, Presbyterian or Baptist can be part of "my church"? Does it mean that a leader of the LDS church could not be a part of "my church"? Should we take it literally that "whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church"?
This view is humbling. It requires one to look upon himself as an equal before the Lord with all of his other children. It requires us to view ourselves as accountable only to the Lord for our blessings and cursings. It requires us to throw off the false pride and vanity that our mistakenly applied beliefs give to us.
Truly, there is only one Lord, one faith and one baptism.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
1. See article: The Plainness of God.
2. See this online version of Benjamin Abbot's experiences.
3. See this online version of Memoirs of the Life and Travels of B. Hibbard.
4. "And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible. But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?
"O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.
"Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews? Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
"Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
"Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written. For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it." (2 Nephi 29:3-12)
This article was a long time coming. It has brought a number of things that I have wanted to write about together into one head, yet at those times I had not complete guidance in writing them and so the ideas sat on a shelf. In writing this article, I have had intelligence flow into me on how to write it. I did not use the previous attempts, but all things were brought to my remembrance and the way it came together has been inspired. At the end and while writing about baptism I heard the words spoken to me that I have long desired and sought with tears "I give unto you power." I felt the words come into me and then my soul reacted profoundly to the words it received. I have waited on the Lord and the Lord has given. This is the second blessing that has come to pass that was pronounced upon my head by my wife LHB. Oh, what mercy, grace and longsuffering. O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart.
On their way out however, the first missionaries did not set out for Independence, Missouri. There's a report in the Painesville Telegraph on December 7, 1830. The missionaries said they were headed for, and this is a quote from Oliver Cowdrey who was leading them, "some unknown region, where God will provide a place for refuge for his people called the New Jerusalem." The missionary said that they were, "bound for the regions beyond the Mississippi, where he contemplates founding a city of refuge for his followers in converting the Indians under his prophetic authority." (The "he" they are referring to in the interview, is Oliver Cowdrey, Second Elder of the Church.) Another edition of the Painesville Telegraph reported, "The four persons who were here, have proceeded on their mission to the Indians, or Lamanites as they term them, in the far West, where they say a Prophet is to be raised up whom the tribes will believe." That's a report on November 30, 1830.
"And the Lord, even the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh. And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence." (D&C 133:25-26)