Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Joseph Smith III Visits Cache Valley

Joseph Smith III visits Cache Valley (This information is taken from a paper I wrote while attending Utah State University entitled: “The Reorganized Church in Cache Valley.”  It is available at special collections at the USU library and includes the source material.
Joseph Smith’s son visited Cache Valley on three occasions.  He was eleven at the death of the prophet, and took over leadership of the Reorganized church in 1860 at the age of 27.  He would serve as the president of the church for 54 years.
His visits to Cache Valley were generally proselyting visits.  His first visit however, was more recreational.   He passed through the northern corner of the valley, traveling from Malad.  He and his companions took a swim in Swan Lake.  This was 1885.
In 1889 Joseph III entered the valley a couple of times during his missionary labor.  He first made an appearance in Oxford, Idaho.  He was accompanied by A.J. Anthony, head of the mission in Utah.  He was granted permission by Bishop Lewis to use the meeting house for one service.  (This was with the condition that an Elder from the Utah Church, Milo G. Andrews be allowed to speak after he had finished.)  Several hundred people attended the meeting, most of them women.
After spending a few weeks in Malad (where the reorganized Church had a group) he returned to Logan.  The group was able to use the basement of the tabernacle for three consecutive days.  The upper floor of the building was still under construction.  President Smith addressed himself to the major conflicts between the two churches—claim to authority and polygamy.  He addressed the first question the first night, and the question of polygamy the second.  This night he and Apostle Thatcher of the Utah church engaged in a shouting match for some time.  This ended when one of the brethren on the stand stood up and said, “Do not interrupt the son of the Prophet again.”  After the service Apostle Thatcher asked for Joseph Smith’s apology.  The Logan Journal reported on the meeting, “Joseph Smith Jr. President of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saint gave a series of lectures during the past week—the last of which concluded Thursday evening—in the basement of the tabernacle.  He drew good attendance most of the time and particularly on the nights when he dwelt upon the marriage relation.  He did not leave a very profound impression and it would be no difficult matter to beat him to death in discussion by nailing his own weapons.”  
From Logan he traveled to Richmond where he was able to present three meetings in the tabernacle.  From Richmond he traveled to Hyrum where they held one meeting.  He met Bishop Molen of the Utah Church and James Unsworth, minister of the Church of England over the Hyrum congregation.  From Hyrum he traveled South.

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