The Public and Its Possibilities: Triumphs and Tragedies in the American City

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Articles

  1. Crisis at Kirtland
  2. Every City Has People That Love It — For the Love of Cities
  3. The Public and Its Possibilities: Triumphs and Tragedies in the American City
  4. John Fairfield

At the meetings, William W. That night, in a priesthood assembly, the temple was filled with sounds like wind, and several of those in attendance spoke in tongues. Witnesses outside reported hearing the rushing sounds and saw a shaft of light on the temple steeple. Members likened their experiences to the spiritual outpourings of the Day of Pentecost. A fitting climax to several days of similar experiences came on Sunday, April 3.

The Aging of America: Triumph or Tragedy? (Part 1 of 7)

At the afternoon meeting, after partaking of the sacrament, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery dropped the curtains that surrounded the west pulpits. The Savior accepted the temple and promised other blessings. Then three more visions were shown to Joseph and Oliver. The experiences of that day and of the week of dedication would be remembered by the Saints long after they had abandoned Kirtland and after the temple had fallen into other hands.

After a long period of disuse, the temple was acquired and is now maintained as a meeting center by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has its headquarters in Independence, Missouri. The difficulties which caused Joseph Smith to leave Kirtland were somewhat different than the mob action that sent the Missouri saints fleeing from Jackson County, first to Clay County in and then into other northern Missouri counties. It was a period of rapid economic growth for Kirtland and Ohio. Money and credit were scarce on the American frontier.

Population, business opportunities, and land prices were all increasing rapidly, and LDS businessmen saw the need for a bank to print and circulate notes as an aid to paying debts and further stimulating an inflationary economy. During the previous eight years more than new banks had been established in the United States for similar purposes. But the Kirtland application arrived in Columbus, the capital of Ohio, just after anti-banking forces won control, and government officials refused to issue any new bank charters.

The Mormon applicants then decided to create a joint stock company to issue notes and take in money. They called it the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company and overprinted that name on the bank notes already prepared. When Kirtland notes began circulating in January , backed by a limited amount of gold, they were accepted at face value. Residents used them to purchase goods and pay old debts.

But before the month had ended, the bank had to stop redeeming its notes in gold coin. The demand for gold was greater than available supplies. When other banks in the area learned that the paper money was redeemable only in land they refused to accept the Kirtland notes. These difficulties for the company were multiplied when the United States entered an economic panic which forced hundreds of banks to close.

Joseph Smith resigned as cashier of the Kirtland Anti-Banking Company early in the summer of , several months before the firm closed its doors permanently. He had invested in land and had purchased merchandise for his store on credit, but could not easily sell his assets to get money to pay his debts. He was struggling like others to earn a living, and closure of the business was not related to his integrity as a religious leader. Yet some in Kirtland became bitter and attempted to replace him as president of the Church.

Crisis at Kirtland

A faction turned against him as a prophet. Their apostasy led to threats against his life and against the lives of his supporters. Brigham Young and others publicly defended Joseph Smith and then joined the Prophet in fleeing from Kirtland to escape assassination or harassment. The departing Church leaders traveled in the cold of winter to Missouri.


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They arrived in the early spring of at Far West, where members came to their assistance with animals and money. That summer many of the loyal members remaining in Kirtland decided to join the Saints in Missouri. Under the direction of the seventies, a group of more than people known as the Kirtland Camp traveled by wagon over rough frontier roads to Far West and then became settlers at Adam-ondi-Ahman. Difficulties at home did not prevent the Church from growing elsewhere. In various parts of the eastern United States, missionary work prospered, and conversions in Canada led to the expansion of the work across the Atlantic.

In April Elder Parley P. Pratt of the Council of the Twelve was sent to Canada where he preached in the Toronto area. There he met John Taylor, a Methodist preacher who was looking for the restoration of the original church of Christ. After three weeks of investigation, the future third president of the Church, John Taylor and his wife were baptized, and within two years he was called as one of the Twelve. Among the new members in Canada were many with relatives and friends in England.

They wrote letters explaining their conversion and became anxious to bear their testimonies personally to their friends. The groundwork was already being laid for the spread of the gospel.

Every City Has People That Love It — For the Love of Cities

They arrived at the port of Liverpool, England on July 20, These missionaries contacted friends and relatives and then began to work generally among the people of England. Most of the elders returned home that spring,. If Joseph Smith expected to find peace among the Saints in northern Missouri he was to be sadly disappointed.

For there, as in Kirtland, disagreement and misunderstanding stirred controversy. In the spring of various charges of disloyalty against the stake presidency David Whitmer, W. Phelps, and John Whitmer were sustained by a general council appointed to investigate. These Church leaders were released from office and replaced by Thomas B.

Marsh, with Brigham Young and David W. Patten as counselors. Johnson of the Twelve Apostles. These men had shown sympathy for the Kirtland dissenters and were publicly criticizing Joseph Smith. During the summer of Missourians repeated old charges against the Saints and some were threatening violence against their homes and persons. Sidney Rigdon elaborated upon the decision in an oration on July 4, , the American Independence Day. We claim our own rights, and are willing that all others shall enjoy theirs. Exaggerated reports of the fight reached Far West.

Joseph Smith and others armed themselves and formed bands to ride to the aid of their brethren. They learned from Lyman Wight at Adam-ondi-Ahman that injuries were minor, so they assumed the matter was settled. But soon warrants against Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight charged them with insurrection. They were arrested and ordered to stand trial. Rumors now circulated on both sides, and false reports of a Mormon uprising reached Missouri Governor Lilburn W.

He ordered the state militia to organize for action. The Latter-day Saints enlisted in the Caldwell County militia for self-defense. This decision encouraged mob action elsewhere.

The Public and Its Possibilities: Triumphs and Tragedies in the American City

It must have been in the western part of Upper Austria, somewhere north of Salzburg. To our surprise and great satisfaction, the survey section found itself in a house that apparently belonged to a well-to-do family. It was an unusual house to find in a rural setting, not large but tastefully and expensively furnished. One member of the section headed immediately for the cellars of the homes we occupied and kept us well supplied with excellent wine, much of it originally looted from France by the Germans.

We were enjoying some of that wine now, as we relaxed in the attractive living room. Much to our surprise, the power was still on in the area, and as darkness fell we turned on lights, and more from force of habit than any real danger, we pulled down shades as a precaution against German artillery. The sergeant was in the kitchen, heating the rations for our evening meal. He would have delegated this chore, but apparently he was enjoying the luxury of a working stove.


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The section was fortunate in having two excellent leaders, the sergeant and the lieutenant. They performed their jobs with efficiency and dispatch and required us to do the same, while maintaining what seemed an ideal level of discipline, not too much and not too little. Like the rest of us, they were citizen soldiers, not career men. In spite of a few minor instances of friction, the lieutenant and I liked each other and got along very well.

We had shared a number of escapades in the past two months, some humorous, some harrowing.

John Fairfield

On one occasion we had been lost, on a very dark night, in a rural area between the rapidly changing front lines. It was a dangerous place to be lost. Ordinarily we would not be driving at night, but this was an exception. The lieutenant was crouched in his seat, holding a flashlight over a map, frantically trying to determine where we were. Suddenly, above the sound of our own engine, there was the sound of other engines, monstrous engines, coming toward us. In a panic we turned off quickly into the adjacent field, stopped, turned off the blackout lights, and seconds later watched with pounding hearts as four huge tanks clanked past only yards away.

When we were scared, we used the word German. Otherwise it was always Kraut. Panic-stricken, we waited until that frightening rumbling had faded in the distance, then returned to the road. We proceeded at about twenty miles an hour in the direction from which the tanks had come, expecting to be fired on at any moment. At the next intersection we turned, still lost, and eventually, miraculously, we were back with the battalion, relieved, exhausted, and shaken. One day the lieutenant shot and killed a German soldier.