Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate/Volume 2/Number 10/To the saints abroad


We have thought it a duty devolving on us to address you on the subject of your removal to this place, or to the far West. We suppose that it became one item in your faith, when you embraced the gospel, that it was your duty to prepare to leave the society of your friends, and relatives, and gather with the saints, in one of the places that the Lord has pointed out for that purpose. Permit us here, to speak of things we know and testify of those we have seen. As soon as the rays of truth were reflected upon your understanding, with sufficient brilliancy, you became convinced of the errors and follies of the professing christian world, and in the simplicity of a child, began to express your conviction to those around you, whose minds were yet tram[m]eled with tradition or mantled with the sable vail of prejudice and superstition; your ears were stunned, and your sensibility shocked from all points of the compass around you, with Mormonism, delusion and Jo. Smith. In all the soberness and simplicity of truth, you began "to produce your cause and bring forth your strong reasons" for your belief, and instead of meeting you with scripture and fair argument, the state cry was reiterated, and your opponents have done about as much to convince you of your errors, as the Athenians did on a similar occasion, to convince Paul and Silas, when they cried out about two hours, "great is Diana of the Ephesians."—This is one specimen of argument used to convince you of your errors. Another, but no uncommon one is, for some one who has conversed with you to misrepresent some item of your faith, and relate the pretended fact to the deacon or priest of his parish in all the glaring deformity his disordered and distorted imagination can paint. The deacon, the elder or priest as the case may have been, seized upon it as a precious morsel, and the most merciful treatment you received, or in fact had any right to expect from him, was poor man! he id deluded! All your former friends were solemnly warned in public and in private, to beware of you as of the fatal Sirocco or deadly Upas, have no conversation with you on the subject of religion, for you are certainly deluded. This, however, is more mildness than you had any just reason to expect at their hands. The English vocabulary may have been exhausted, (if you were a man of talents and influence) to find epithets opprobrious enough to fix upon you. Your most commendable virtues, were transformed into vices of the lowest grade, and your crimes, whether they were few or many, great or small, real or imaginary, were all published to the world, and your accusers were witnesses, judges, jurors and executioners. Your character was thus destroyed, your property stolen, secreted, or injured, and if you have still persisted in your opinion, and have endeavored by forcible argument, to urge it upon others, mobs, tar and feathers, may have been your fate; and if you paid the forfeit of your former good name, with the total loss of all your worldly substance, it is no marvel. The preaching you may have heard till then, may have been chiefly on the first principles of the gospel. You may not have investigated the subject of the gathering of Israel in the last days, till your earthly hopes have all fled; you then began to examine it, in the light of divine truth, page 348and found it plainly pointed out in the sacred volume. You looked into the revelations of recent date, and they corroborated the same idea. You then began with all due diligence to prepare to leave the land of your boyhood.—Every insult you received, served to confirm you in the principles you had embraced, and wean you from the place that gave you birth. Your former friends may have been strong advocates of civil and religious liberty, great republicans! They would now if in their power, deprive you of the liberty of speech, and consider you, notwithstanding religious sentiment cannot constitutionally be made a test for office, wholly unworthy of any of trust or profit, and your very name, made a hiss and a bye-word, in almost all ranks, from the man in black, to the lowest debauchee of the brothel, or the mendicant upon the dunghill. In all the soberness of truth, you have now become weaned from your former friends, and are, as we will suppose, prepared to leave them. You have heard of Zion: you have heard that the wicked there bear rule, that your brethren, if not in bondage, have, many of them, to roam from place to place; have no stsndard [standard] erected and are hardly allowed the privileges of citizens.—They are mere tenants at will, and some of them have not a place to lay their heads; having been driven from their houses and homes by men professing republicanism, yea, and christianity too, in defiance of constitution, in defiance of law, in defiance of all the fine feelings that twine around the heart of the saints of the Most high; and this too in the broad blaze of day, and they can obtain no legal redress. All this in a republican government holding out the delusive, fallacious profession of equal rights. The arch fiend seems to have marshalled all his forces; every art is tried, every stratagem invented, every weapon put in requisition to destroy the influence of the saints, and if it were possible to blot out their name from under heaven.—By this time, if you are filled with the fire and ardor of youth, you take up your line of march to join your brethren in the far West.

You resolve to commiserate their misfortunes and participate in their arrows, until, Zion shall be redeemed with judgments and her couverts with righteousness.

But if the withering frosts of age, or wasting hand of disease have impaired your bodily strength, and left you on the declivity of life, too enervated to endure the fatigues and privations incident to a long journey and the settlement of a new country, and this under circumstances so unpropitious; you make up your mind to join the Saints at this place, which God has appointed for a stake of Zion, and the gathering of some of his saints in the last days. Notwithstanding, the great struggle with our enemies may be past, and the long agony measurably over, in this place, yet your expectations may be raised too high, and your antictpations [anticipations] too great to be realized. Therefore, we have, thought it might not be improper, here to pourtray [portray] in bold relief the advantages and disadvantages, real and imaginary, you will have just reason to expect when you arrive.

Here are at present, seated some of our first elders of the church; strong men in point of their native intellect and moral courage, who have truly come up thus far, through great tribulation. Some of them have tasted, yea more, they have drank the bitter cup of affliction and sorrows, and have been taught in the severe school of adversity, till the Lord has looked on their affection, as we trust, and said it is enough. Here are brethren assembled from the E. W. N. and South, with the habits, manners and customs of each, that are to be assimilated. The house of the Lord is here, and a congregation of between 800 and 1000 assemble in it to hear the words of life and salvation dispensed, every Lord's day. Here, notwithstanding the bigotry and superstition of this generation, fearfulness often surprises the hypocrite the sinners in Zion tremble.

The situation in point of location, is tolerable pleasant. The country presents to the eye, an undulating surface, diversified with hills and vallies. The former, but moderate in their height and arable, and generally fertile from their base to their summit: the latter, consequently, can only be of correspondent depth, except where the large stratum pass, or where the streams of rocks, which appears to form the whole bed of the country, lies very low. The face of the country in this region, looks page 349to the North, gradually rising as you recede from the Lake Shore toward the South. The principle streams of water in or near this place are, grand river, which passes by the east of the flourishing little village of Painesville, 9 miles East of this, and discharges its waters into the Lake, at Fairport 3 miles North of Painesville, and a very considerable branch of Chagrin river runs in a diagonal direction through the North part of this town, making some beautiful alluvial land on its margin of greater or less width, till it loses itself in the main stream before it passes the village of Willoughby two and a half miles from this place.

This branch of the river furnishes good mill sites in its course through this town, some of which are occupied. There are two saw mills, one gristmill, one fulling-mill, and one carding machine in the short distance of two miles. A steam saw-mill 35 by 60, designed for two saws is being erected in this place. It is calculated that the engine will have sufficient power to warrant the attachment of other machinery to it, as the circumstances and necessities of the inhabltants [inhabitants] shall require. As you approach the place from the North you come to the brow of a hill the top of which, in a state of nature was covered with oak, chestnut, white-walnut, white wood, and some few sugar maples, with little underwood.—Here the eye falls upon the fertile vale below, and the stream of which we have spoken, meandering through it. Almost instinctively it catches the Lord's House on a beautiful eminence or table land on the south side of the stream, at an altitude of from 80 to 100 feet from its bed, and at a distance of one-fourth of a mile in a direct line.—The intermediate space, between the river and the Lord's House, is occupied with dwellings, generally small and inelegant, evincive of any thing but wealth, standing in no regular order, but built at a period when the saints had little control, and but feeble means to execute any plan with elegance or taste. Therefore, instead of a regular town, village or city, laid out and ornamented with rows of fruit or forest trees, selected for the beauty and luxuriance of their foliage or shade, or for their utility as furnishing articles of food; the eye rests upon rude dwellings scattered in all directions from the river to the Lord's House and south, for the distance of a mile or more.—We have one public inn or tavern, three stores of dry goods kept by our brethren, and two by other people, making five in all, and quite a number of mechanics of different occupations, all of which find constant employ. There are no marshes or ponds of stagnant water in the vicinity, but the air is always as pure and exhilerating [exhilarating] as in any part of the world with which we are acquainted. We have no March effluvia or miasmata to contaminate the atmosphere and engender disease.

We had almost forgotten to mention that our village has been laid out in a regular plot, and calculated for streets to cross each other at right angels.—The lots now contain one half acre each, and are selling from one to two hundred dollars.

We come now to the more unpleasant part of our duty, to point out our own follies and faults and expose them to the world, but justice requires it at our hands, we have before said that our society was made up of emigrants from all the different points of the compass, with the different manners, customs and habits of the place from whence they emigrated, to all of which, they respectively adhere with greater or less pertinacity. They are not yet so assimilated as to become one in any peculiar characteristic, except in matters of religion. All are anxious for the improvement of the place, and each, for individually bettering his condition: Therefore traits of character evinsive [evincive]of selfishness bordering upon covetousness, are often discoverable in their dealings with the world or with each other. If they are not more industrious then their neighbors, they are surely as much so; aud [and] their steady perseverance, to overcome every obstacle of an earthly nature, together with that strong propenisity [propensity] that dwells in the hearts of all, to accumulate, would make the world and many of our brethren think, that houses, lands and money were their ultimate objects and this world our everlasting dwelling place. The brethren who have been long permanent residents here, have been oppressed in their feelings by their numerous influential and wealthy neighbors, and have not till recently been allowed the constitutional right of citizens of the same govern-page 350ment, late occurrences auger more favorable for them in points of numerical force and proportionably [proportionally] less so for their opposed.

Many of our brethren we think, are too much elated with our growing numbers and future prospect of complete ascendency in this town. Some of them are not wise, they are not prudent, their deportment towards their enemies is not fraught with that wisdom, that dignity, that nobleness of soul that is calculated to gain them or convince them that we are at all times actuated by that "meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price," but, notwithstanding, we have nothing to plead in justification, yet we wish to say a few things in extenuation, but we forbear, God will judge; we will now say, that the parable of the Savior, that the kingdom of heaven was likened unto a net that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind, was never fully verified in our minds than at beholding the church in this place. If our brethren expect to see a church, the moddle [model] of perfection and harmony, when they arrive here; they will be disappointed. If they expect to see a church all the members of which are actuated by the pure principles of benevolence and love they will be disappointed. In short if they expect to find a church where members are not as men and women of like passions as themselves, they will then be disappointed, for from looking over the pages of inspiration we judge it not uncharitable to say, that the ancient churches were made up of poor frail mortals like ourselves; that they needen rebukes, warnings and exhortations. So brethren does the church in this place. Therefore we say look for, and expect to meet at all these unpleasant scenes. But we say in the soberness of truth let none of these things move you. Let not your confidence be betrayed in the religion you have embraced. Remember that a Peter cursed and swore, and many turned away from the faith who had great manifestations or had been under the instruction of the Redeemer of mankind. These and other instances of aberration or complete apostacy, were no evidence that they were deceived in the outset, or that the Devil had the ascendency in the hearts of all the church. We hope and earnestly pray that it will be your end and aim as you come among us, to correct our evil habits, reform our abuses and evil manners, by well ordered lives, and godly conversations, and so demean yourselves as truly to be a terror to evil doers and a praise of them that do well. Even so amen. W.