1865 May 8 Remarks in Wellsville


1865 May 8 Remarks in Wellsville



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Edward L. Sloan
George Q. Cannon

extracted text

made by President Brigham Young, <made> in Wellsville, Cache Valley,
Monday, May 8th, 1865.
(Reported by E. S. Sloan)

I wish to make a few remarks to the people who live in this place, and shall publish them, so that they may be made known to all the Saints in all the world, with regard to a book printed in England, <some> a few years ago, for Orson Pratt. You will read on the outside, "Joseph Smith, the Prophet," and on the title page, "Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and his progentors, for many generations, by <his Mother> Mother of the Prophet" Lucy Smith; <"printed by> by S. W. Richards published for Orson Pratt.
We have advertized to <be> have them gathered up and destroyed, so that there might not be any copies of the book <it in> among the people. Brother Cannon, <while on his mmission to Europe> in England, <exercised his influence> used his endeavors there to have <this book> <those> <copies of the book in the hands of the Saints there gathered in and destroyed> them destroyed. The inquiry arises at once, "Why do you want to destroy these books." It is because the book is a tissue of falsehoods. There are witnesses here present, in this room, who know that there are false statements in it. Brother Ames is one, so is Bro. Snow, and others. <So far as I am> We acquainted with the statements of the history of this Book, and many of the statements in <the book> <they> are palpably false, and I <do not> wish such a book <not> to be lying on our shelves to be taken up in after years, and read by our children as true history. I <took up one on Brother Benson's table this morning. I had no> happened to put my hands on one of those Books this morning and took it up without having the least idea that I should find a copy in the house of one of the <Twelve> Saints as I had hoped they had been put out of the way <Bro. Maughan has told me that he, also, has one.> When I find brethren of the Twelve and Bishops and men in authority in the kingdom of God hugging such a book to their breasts, <if> and keeping it in their houses, after what has been said and printed concerning it before, I must speak plainly on the matter.
I require the Twelve, the High Priests, the Seventies, the Bishops, and every one in the Church male and female, if they have <got> such a book, to <burn it up> destroy it. If they do not, the responsiblility of the evil results that may accrue from keeping it will rest upon them and not upon me. Without entering into the details of the history of <its bein> the book, it may seem necessary to you to relate a few items connected with it. There was <is> a <sister> lady <now> living in <Provo> Nauvoo by the name of <Sister> Corey -- a smart, active woman with a very bright mind, but <her> she has a great taste as I understand, <is> for novel<ty> reading I suppose that, when young, she devoured every novel, as it is termed, that she could lay her hands on. Her desire was to be a
<novel> writer; especially a novel writer and she begged the privilege in Nauvoo, of writing the history of Mother Smith. We knew she was doing it, but did not know what she writing. <on it> Mother Smith was very old and forgetful, and could scarcely recollect <hardly> anything correctly that had transpired. This lady <Sr. Corey> would get little items from her, and then she would write, write, write, <in the style of a novel>, and take it to Mother Smith and read it. "Is this so?" she would ask, reading what she had written; "Really, I do not recollect; it sounds very nice; I guess it must be so;" and thus it was passed as correct matter of history. <Writing of William,> When Joseph was taken in Missouri William Smith <he> swore that he wished Joseph might never get back, but that he might be hanged; he came out of Missouri swearing like a devil, and heaping abuse on the name of the Prophet; yet according to this book Mother Smith <would> tells us that she knew William to be one of the greatest Saints of Latter-days. She knew it <that> was wrong; that he was not so. When the book was written Mother Smith sent it to me to examine. This was a year after Joseph's death. With some others acquainted with the circumstances I read the manuscript, and we saw it was <false> incorrect. I instructed William Clayton, who was then chief clerk, to have it copied off, every word, and said that at some future time we would look over the history, and bring out something that would be correct for Mother Smith, That copy is now in the Historian's Office, and has been in our possession ever since we left Nauvoo To shorten the story, Almon Babbit, obtained possession of the Manuscript -- stole it from her; a few of the apostates and renegades got away this manuscript and the Mummies and some other things that were left to me, and they passed into the hands of Isaac Sheen, from whom Orson Pratt obtained this manuscript, and through his greed for money, published it in England. I do not know that Samuel W. Richards knew anything about the manner in which it was written or how Orson Pratt obtained it. He printed it as he would have done any other book I suppose Brother Pratt had it printed, and published it,
without saying a word to <me> the First Pres, or the Twelve of what he was doing. As nigh as we could learn he paid Babbit something like one thousand dollars for the manuscript. This is the way the book came into being. It was smuggled, juggled and gambled into existence as a book and all for selfish gain. Mother Smith knew nothing about a number of things that were written. Her memory was so far gone she could not tell whether they were as represented or not. According to the book, she is stated to have built a schoolhouse while Joseph was in Missouri. She never did a stroke to the building of that house. I had the house built myself. But I have not time to recite the various items that are incorrect. The book was looked over by some of the <connections> relatives of the Prophet who were acquainted with the history of the family. Here is one of them, Bro. Geo. A., a nephew of Mother Smith's and a cousin of the Prophet<s>, who knows that it is erroneous. Judge Elias Smith, in Great Salt Lake City, when he looked over the book, said it was a tissue of lies from beginning to end. When I see my brethren, keeping such a book on their tables or having it in their houses, as a valid and authentic history, for their children to read, I <am> feel to rebuke them, knowing as they do <that it> what has been published before, that <it is> the book is incorrect. It is transmitting lies to posterity, and I know that the curse of God will rest on every one who keeps these books in their houses that their children may learn to believe in lies. I want them destroyed, and am willing to pay for them; it will not be the first money that I have had to pay out in the same way. I will publish something that is plain on the subject, to the Saints, for I will not bear <it> such things any longer. My words have been unheeded and my counsel disregarded in this matter, and I will not endure it. I know that if Brother Orson Pratt had done such things in the days of Joseph, as he <had> has done with me, he would have been brought before the High Council and disfellowshipped; but we bore, and bore, and continued to forbear. I wish those who have these books to hand them into their Bishops or to me that they may come <to> into my hands; and if they wish pay for them, let them state their value, and I will pay for them.