Transcript for Missionary reports, 1831-1900, Church History Library

Farmington Utah Territory Dec. 3d 1858 Dear Brother Smith By request and also feeling it my duty I drop you a short account of my late Mission to the Sandwich Islands at a general Conference held in Great Salt Lake City in the Spring of 57 I was called with eleven others to go to the Sandwich Islands to preach the Gospel and on the 11th of May I left to per form the above Mission. I went as a hired hand as far as Carson Valley to drive cattle for Captain Hooper (622 head beside a number of mules and horses and 8 wagons loaded with ten tons of flour) at 50 cts. per day there were several of the Elders along going on the same terms Some to preach the Gospel in California others on their way to the Islands however only two of us arrived at the Sandwich Islands Elder Woodbury & myself the rest I believe were called home we arrived with our herd all safe in Carson Valley with the exception of looseing a bout one twelfth by drink- ing the poisnes water near the Sink of the Humbolt River and 14 head that the Indians took from our gard between daylight & Sunup here on the Goose Creek mountains – We arrived in San Francisco a bout the 12th of july where Elder Cannon was then presideing he amediately called an Elders Conference where it was thought best for the Elders enroute for the Islands to go forth and preach their bit out and not go in to the Mines or hire out to labor in order to raise the necessary means which had been to often the case with the Elders in that Country while on their way Missions where on we were distributed as follows Elder Woodbury to labor in conjunction with Elder Rainy in the City of San Francisco and across the Bay. Elder Keeler with Elder Samuel Miles, Elder Hawkins with Elder Henry Boyle Elder Farrer with Elder Sherman and myself to labour in Elder Wandell’s field as far south as Santa Cruz At this Conference of Elders br. Geo. Q. Cannon laid before it the propriety of purchasing a printing press to take down to the Islands and Start a paper in the Hawaiian language he could spare tipe enough from the Standard office and ink to last one year it was resolved that we rase a press if possible thought it would not cost over 5 or 6 hundred dollars, if the press was got Brother Bull was to go with it and act as publisher for 5 or 6 months until we got the thing fairly underway I labored in Elder Wandells field a bout 3 weeks when I returned to San Francisco with the necessary means in my pocket to pay my way to Honolulu and as there was no vessel ready to Sail for the Islands Elder Cannon advised Elder D.P. Rainy and I to visit all the Sectari- an priests in San Francisco and try and get them to be- lieve our testimony and ask them to teach it to their members and also ask them to let us have their Chur- ches to preach in and if they refuse our testimony and would not hearken to us to tell them that we Should visit their flocks ourselves and indevor to teach them the truth, accordingly we sot out to visit them the first was a Mr. Briely he treated us very well and invited us to give another call though he Said when we were leaving him that he did not wish us any success whatever the next was a Mr. Thomas, he manifested a bitter hostile Spirit against the truth and did justify Mc.Lane in the strongest terms for killing Parley P. Pratt and said that the example of Abraham was no example for him (Thomas) to go by and utterly refused to hear us or let us have his church to preach in, the 3d was a Mr. Scott who we herd got ten thousand dollars a year for preaching but Sae afterwards in a paper that he gets twelve thousand but he like the rest refus- ed to hear us and told us he did not want to know any thing a bout mormonism and did not thank us for coming in to his Study and disturb him while studying the Word of God” he demanded Signs and wanted us to speak in tonges. I asked him if he would let us have his church to preach in if we would speak in tongs if he would perhaps his curiosity might be gratified but he backed out even on them grounds. We bore our testimony fithfully to all those Clergy and told them that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young was prophets and Servants of God we invited them that if they thought we were rong to come to our hall that we had in the City of San Francisco and preach in it and Show that mormonism was wrong and as there quite a number of mormons in the City we would be glad to have them to Show us our errors and we was sure that every Mor- (5) mormon in the City would be glad to exchange an error for that which was true a mong the number we visited was Mr. Lacy but our Stay with him was Short as he was just Sent for to attend a funeral the Short interview we had with him he manifested the best Spirit of any the rest and told us that he did not know any thing a bout Mormonism and would be glad to have us call a gain and talk with him a bout it which we promised to do We had now visited all the largest “Divines,” their bigest Group in the City of San Francisco there were several others preachers we inquired for but did not See them, a bout this time a vessel was advertised to Sail for China touching at the Sandwich Islands I went and ingaged my passage for Honolulu and on the 22nd of August I went abord and arrived at the port of Honolulu the 4th of Sept. where I found President Silas Smith and Several of the Elders who had been laboring there for several years all in good health and Spirits living up stairs in our old meeting house We were all glad to see each other. The next day being Sunday I was invited to preach which I attempted to do but and was astonished to See how much of the language I had lost in So Short a time for it did appear to me before I spoke that I was a bout as good as I was when I left the Islands in 54 I found by attending the native meetings that all most 6 everything appeared to be either dead or dying that is of the native Saints The Valley Elders told me they have to labor with their own hands in order to Support themselves and keep themselves in clothing The President of the mission told me that he did not believe there was more than two or 3 native Elders in the whole Mission (and there were a good many) but what had more confidance in their old way of worship than they have in the truth and would pray quicker to their old Gods I was pained to hear all the elders testify that there was not a Saint a mong the natives except here and there one to be found unless it was on Lan Lanai the gath- ering place where there were Some 2 or 300 who had gathe- rd togather at that place, the Elders all Spoke well of the native Saints there My Stay mostly in Honolula and I found this different that when I was there before our meeting house which would Seat 200 or more use to be filled on Sunday to over flowing but this time as a general thing there would be out at meeting from 30 to 40 I was there this time near eight months and I found what the elders had told me a bout the native Saints was true, that is, there was but few Saints among them to be found all was either dead branches or dying However during the time I was there the Valley Elders who were with me labored faithfully in preaching the good word and affected quite a reform- ation in Some of the Churches and rebaptised Something near 200 besides a few others who was added to the Church 7 and they Seamed in a degree to begin to wake up a gain and come to meeting but upon the whole I would Say that Mormonism on the Sandwich Islands is at a very low ebb except at the gatering on the Island of Lanai the Saints there I believe are good and are trying to live their religion and carry out the councils of the Servants of God who are over them or did up to the time I left which was the first day of last May when I and 5 or 6 of the Elders left for San Francisco where we arrived in 15 days, here we found Br. Ereleth who gave us all a kind of misson as we were all destitute of means to get home that is to go out in the country and hunt up all the lost Sheep and infuse in them if possible the Spirit of gathering and if invited, to preach and also to work with our hands if a chance offered where ever we could do the best I labored from this time mostly with my hands until a bout the 1st. of Sept. I however visited Several California brethren and found Some warm hearted Saints who manifested a desire to gether up to Zion as soon as they could but there were others who were cold and indifferent – as to the world I think they are ready to be damned or so near it that unless they speedily repent their day will be past While in Honolulu I frequently would take a bundle of our books The Book of Mormon and try to sell them to the foreigners but they the most of them would have nothing to do with them would take it as a insult to offer them a book and Some would tell me that a man of sence would have nothing to to do with mormonism Some times one would buy a book a book to see as they said what the mormons did believe as there was such an excitement a bout them up in Utah After I came from the Islands I spent a day or two in San Francisco trying to sell books but very few would by, They would tell me that they did not want them and if they had anything to say a bout us as a people it was anything but favourable or decent until Buchanan issued his proclimation pardening all the mormons to gether with Some unficial docum- ent delcaring that Utah was not in a state of rebell- ion it appeared then that their tune changed and the President of the United States to use their own language was called a damned fool and had sent an armey to Utah on a tom fools errand and that Brigham Young was the Smartest man of the two and began to say they would like to go to Utah they had been wanting to go there for some time and would realy like to see Brigham Young and like the Kanakas on the Island, I thought they began to wake up a little I arrived at home the 27th of Oct. being absent one year 5 months and 13 days, and I feel first rate and thank the Lord that I am here in the midst of theese mountains where the people of God are and my testimony is that the world is more wicked now than they were 5 years ago or else I see it plainer and some times I think it is boath – if the above is considered or any part of it worthy as a matter of history or anything else it is at your disposal as ever I remain your Brother in the Gospel Henry W. Bigler G.A. Smith.