Notice for a general conference—Extract of a letter from Elder Orson Hyde in Jerusalem—Extracts from my farewell address.
March 1842–October 1842
The following appointment for a General Conference for the British Isles appeared in the March number of the Star:
“The several Conferences of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain, are hereby informed that a General Conference will be held in Manchester, to commence on Sunday, the 15th day of May next, and to continue for several days, or until all the business is completed.
“Each Conference is requested to appoint one or more delegates to represent them in the General Conference, and to assist in such business as may be necessary for the general welfare and prosperity of the cause of truth. It is very desirable that a full representation should be made of all the Conferences, branches, and members of this realm.
“P. P. Pratt, President.
“Thomas Ward, Clerk.”
In the Star for March, 1842, the following editorial introduces an extract of a letter from Elder Hyde in Jerusalem: 1
“We have lately received two lengthy and highly interesting letters from Elder Orson Hyde, dated at Trieste, January 1 and 18, containing a sketch of his voyages and travels in the East; his visit to Jerusalem; a description of ancient Zion; the Pool of Siloam, and many other places famous in Holy Writ; with several illustrations of the manners and customs of the East as applicable to Scripture texts; and several conversations held between himself and some of the Jewish missionaries, etc., in Jerusalem; together with a masterly description of a terrible tempest and thunder storm at sea, with a variety of miscellaneous reflections and remarks, all written in an easy, elegant and masterly style; partaking of the eloquent and sublime, and breathing a tone of that deep feeling, tenderness and affection so characteristic of his mission and the spirit of his holy and sacred office.
“Elder Hyde has, by the grace of God, been the first proclaimer of the fulness of the gospel both on the Continent and in far off Asia, among the nations of the East. In Germany, Turkey, Egypt and Jerusalem he has reared, as it were, the ensign of the Latter-day glory, and sounded the trump of truth; calling upon the people of those regions to awake from their thousand years slumber and to make ready for their returning Lord.
“In his travels he has suffered much, and has been exposed to toils and dangers; to hunger, pestilence and war. He has been in perils by land and sea, in perils among robbers, in perils among heathens, Turks, Arabs and Egyptians; but out of all these things the Lord has delivered him, and has restored him in safety to the shores of Europe, where he is tarrying for a little season for the purpose of publishing the truth in the German language—having already published it in French and English in the various countries of the East. 2 And we humbly trust that his labors will be a lasting blessing to Jew and Gentile.”
Being about to return to America, I published in the October number of the Star, 1842, my Farewell Address, from which I here give a few extracts:
Farewell Address to Our Readers and Patrons
Brethren and Friends:—As I am about to take leave of the Star, and give it to the management of others, I feel it necessary to make a few remarks suited to the occasion.
This publication was undertaken two years and six months since. Since that time I have labored diligently, as far as a pressure of other duties would admit, to render it a useful and interesting periodical. I have published the principles of the Latter-day Saints, together with a choice selection of the most interesting items of news in relation to the progress of these principles among men.
I have also endeavored at all times to defend the cause of truth, and to ward off the arrows of envy and slander which have been hurled at the children of light by the strong arm of thousands who speak evil of things they understand not.
I feel great satisfaction in a review of my editorial course; I feel my conscience clear, and a secret whispering within, that I have done my duty faithfully before God.
I also feel to rejoice in the success which has attended the efforts of the servants of God in this country in the publication of truth. At the commencement of the Star, the Saints in Europe numbered less than two thousand, they now number near ten thousand, besides thousands who have emigrated to a distant land. This, surely, is a great triumph of the truth, when we take into consideration the prejudice and opposition which we have had to encounter. Surely the Star has stood forth as a beacon on a hill, as a lonely lamp amid surrounding darkness, to light the weary pilgrim on his toilsome journey, and to kindle up the dawn of a day of glory when the effulgent beams of the sun of righteousness shall shine forth as the morning, and dispel the misty vapors which, like a gloomy cloud, have for ages hovered over the pathway of mortals.
Dear Brethren and Sisters—Though I now take leave of the editorial department, and withdraw from the shores of Europe, yet I have the satisfaction of leaving the Star to shine among you in its full glory, being conducted by one who has a willing heart and a ready pen, and one who, I hope, will be so aided by his patrons and by Divine favor as to be able to conduct it with effect, till its feeble rays shall be lost amid the effulgence of the rising morn.
I now return my sincere thanks to all our agents and patrons, and to all who have in any way contributed to our assistance in this great and good work; and I pray that the blessings of God may rest upon them and upon the thousands who may hereafter peruse this work.
I must now take leave of you for a season, as duty calls me home. I have labored among you in the ministry between two and three years, and for the last eighteen months (since the departure of the rest of the Twelve) I have had the more particular Presidency of the Church in Europe, and as one of old said, “in some measure the care of all the churches.”
In this highly responsible trust I have endeavored so to serve you in all things, both temporal and spiritual, and to go in and out among you in the fear of God, exercising judgment, mercy, and charity according to the ability which God has given me. I have endeavored to teach the ignorant, to reclaim the transgressor, and to warn the wicked; to comfort the feeble-minded, to bind up the broken hearted, and to administer to the poor.
I recommend and appoint Elder Thomas Ward 3 as my successor in the office of the General Presidency of the Church in Europe, in connection with Elders Lorenzo Snow 4 and Hiram Clark. 5 To these persons I commit the care and government of the Church in this country for the present, trusting that they will conduct and counsel in all things according to the mind of the Spirit, and according to the counsel which shall be given them from Nauvoo, from time to time, by the quorum of the Twelve, or the first Presidency.
On taking leave of you for a season I take this opportunity to assure you before God, to whom we are all accountable, that the fulness of the gospel is true, that the Book of Mormon is true, and that the everlasting covenant is true, and will stand when heaven and earth shall pass away.
I now take a pleasing farewell of the Saints, with a firm conviction that I have labored diligently and done my duty thus far, and I have nothing to regret but my own weaknesses and imperfections, which I trust you will all be willing to forgive, and that God will forgive also.
Please remember me in your prayers, and may the Lord Almighty bless you all, and preserve us faithful to the end, that we may meet again with joy. Amen.
1 Orson Hyde dedicated the land of Israel, or Palestine, for the return of the Jews on Sunday, October 24, 1841.
2 Orson Hyde spoke several languages.
3 Thomas Ward (1808–47) was from Ludlow, Shropshire, England, and served in the presidency of the British Mission from 1843 to 1846. After his baptism, he immediately took an active part in the Church in England, acting as clerk of the mission and as editor of the Millennial Star from 1842 to 1846 (Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 4:320).
4 Lorenzo Snow (born April 30, 1814) was baptized by Elder John F. Boynton in June 1836 in Ohio about the same time as his sister, Eliza R., and mother, Rosetta. He was ordained an apostle on February 12, 1849, and served as President of the Church from September 13, 1898, to October 10, 1901 (Cook, Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 352).
5 Hiram Clark (born September 22, 1795) was the senior member (by age) of this presidency of the British Mission. He was born in Wells, Vermont, the same town as Oliver Cowdery. Hiram served three missions to Great Britain and was the first president of the Hawaiian Mission from 1850 to 1851. He died December 28, 1853, in San Bernardino, California (Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 4:339).