Transcript for Missionary reports, 1831-1900, MS 6104, Church History Library

Job Smith report, October 1854Sketch of the travels and Missionof Elder Job Smith between the years 1849 and 1854. I was appointed by the General Conference heldin the city October 6th 1849 to go on a mission toEngland. On the 18th of October following I left my homein G. S. L. City in company with Elders John TaylorL. Snow, E. Snow, F.D. Richards and about 30 othersto proceed across the plains:  (most of us on our way to Europe.Our journey across the plains considering the late season of theyear at which we started was a very pleasant one, although for thelast 300 miles we had sometimes a foot or more of Snow totravel through. We travelled mostly with mules and wagonsthough some had horses. I travelled in Elder J.M. Grant’s wagonwhich was drawn by two horses. On the twelfth of Novemberabout 50 miles west of Fort Laramie we were assailed byabout 200 Sioux Indians dressed in the warlike style of the CheyenneBand of said tribe which they were. With a quick exertion ingathering the horses and a promptness on the part of the Sear-gent of the guard to give orders and the brethren to obey aa a line of defence was formed in front – and partiallyround – the camp, through which the Lamanites considered itimprudent to break and thus they retreated so as to give usan opportunity to proceed peaceably. By the kindness of the Government Officer atFort Laramie, - Mr. Anderson, we were furbished by witha fresh supply of provisions at the U.S. prices. On arriving at the Missouri River, (December 7th) wefound ice running down the stream sufficient to deterthe Ferry Boat from carrying us over; we therefore hadto wait until the river had become closed up and theice strong enough to allow us to cross over with ourwagons. This was considered a Providence, inasmuch aswhen we were all across the ice recommenced running downthe river. And it was at the instance of prayers thatit stayed for us to cross. We arrived in Kanesville onthe twelfth and tarried there and spent Christmas whichwas very jovially celebrated. I received much kindness frommy acquaintances here who helped me according to theirlimited means to proceed. On the 29th Dec. started in BrRobert Caldwel’s wagon to go to St Louis (who volunteered tocarry us down) in company with Elders Joseph Toronto,Peter O. Hanson and J.W. Young. We passed through all the towns lying on the landroute from Kanesville to St Louis, where we arrivedJanuary 15th 1850. On the first of February I with sevenothers all went on bouard the steamer Buena Vista forNew Orleans; where we arrived on the seventh inst. A collection was made in St Louis and assistance raisedto help the missionaries to their various fields of labour, whichcarried us as far as New Orleans. Here the Saints nobly sacrificeda part of their earnings to send us across the sea. They werebut few in number, but much means was subscribed bythem; and on the 26th of February we shipped on boardthe “Maine,” and after a rough passage of 40 days we ar-rived in Liverpool on the 7th day of April 1850 havingbeen absent from England just 7 years and one month.By appointment of Elder O. Pratt, I was sent to labourunder the Presidency of my Father, Elder Thomas Smith,then president of the Norwich Conference. I was sent byhim to travel and preach among the Saints in the ¬vic vi- cinity of Lowestoft, Suffolk – a small seaport town, andvery pleasant it being on the shores of one of the chief herring-fisheries in England. Not being much accustomed to preachI found it a great trial at first to stem the oppositionand virulence of the purportedly religious people, and others.On week day evenings during the summer I made a practiceof going to some village and preaching in the open air; wherein some instances good attention was paid to my sim-ple testimony by large congregations, and in others morestones received than sentences communicated. In the Townof Bungay I succeeded in raising a small branch of the churchwhich has since become of considerable importance in thatconference. Baptized some 8 or 10 persons. I was from timeto time in Norwich and other branches of the conference, preach-ing and bearing my testimony to the truth, and to the cha-racters of the authorities of the church, which was one ofthe chief points that required defence against the hostileand most bitter acclamations of our opponents, whowere neither few nor calm. October 6th 1850. I attended General Conference whichwas held at Manchester, where I was appointed to go andlabour in the Bedfordshire Conference under the presidencyof Elder John Spiers. On my way to Bedford, I wentto my native place and saw some of my old school-fellows and acquaintances, some of whom I bore testimonyof the truth. The Saints in that country received mewith great kindness, and after visiting round in Worcestershireabout a week, I went per railway to Bedford, where I com-menced my labours with Br. Spiers. I was appointedby him to labour and preach in the vicinity of Cambridge -a most learned place – the chief manufactory of sectarianpriests. Here was a branch of about 70 members, the majorityof whom were sisters. They had a good hall for preachingwhich on Sunday evenings was mostly well filled withrespectable persons. During my stay in Cambridge someone or two and sometimes more baptisms occurred mostweeks – sometimes causing great excitement among theinhabitants, and accounts thereof frequently inserted in the News-papers. During the year 1851 I conmenced tinued to labour under thedirection of Elder S. mostly in Northamptonshire, whither I wasremoved in February from Cambridge. I was placed in chargeof four small branches to which I travelled and visited as oftenas I could conveniently get from one to the other after preachingIn the town of Northampton was a small branch and thefew Saints very poor. They meet in a very large hall, the twofront seats of which were sufficient to hold seat all the Saintsin the branch and mostly all the strangers who attended.But few additions were made to the church. Here happenedwhile I was at that place a most singular instance of evil spirits entering into and possessing a person. One of thebrethren, a priest, had two boys which an evil spirit entered, andmade them as it is called, crazy. Still they were intelligentenough to curse the Elders, and would occasionally appearto have imaginary combats with president H.C. Kimbal andothers with whom they were unacquainted. One of them wouldcurse and swear and abuse his parents and then speakwith tongues, while under the Satanic influence. I was called in to rebuke the evil spirit from one ofthem, a boy of about 12 or 14 years. I soon found that myhumble faith and prayers were inadequate to remove theevil at first trial – so I resolved to stay by him inprayer and fasting until he was returned to soundnessof mind, which occurred in about six hours after firstmaking the resolve. His unwise father contrary to my wishesallowed him shortly after to go out and mix with thewicked rabble of some of the most corrupt neighbourhoodsin England, as, in my opinion a consequence of whichhe was soon as bad as ever. His Father then had him baptizedand every endeavour used for his recovery but he was finallyafter repeated relapses compelled to consign him to thecare of the asylum of that town. The other brother who wasafflicted did not mix with his father’s family or anyone connected with the Saints and the devil ceased to troublehim. The wickedness of this town I balieved to be very greatand honest souls in it very scarce, - and an atmosphereso dense with unbelief and scepticism that even thefew who had embraced the gospel could with greatdifficulty satisfy themselves there was any truth in religionat all. The majority of this population are professed un-believers in the bible and in all revealed religions. By appointment of Elder F.D. Richards I was calledto succeed Elder Spiers in the presidency of the Bedfordshireconference which whe after his departure numbered about650 members. He left Bedford for this Valley on the fourthof January 1852 at to previous to which he resigned to my care every thing pertaining to that conference.and on the first of January I assumed the responsibilityof presiding which felt very onerous in consequence of myyouth and inability. However, I feel thankful to realise that byGod’s blessing I was enabled to discharge the importantduties connected therewith in a manner satisfactory tomy own conscience and to the authorities of the BritishMission. During my presidency over the Bedfordshire Confer-ence, which was a period of 2 years, there were bap-tized near or about 300 persons who were added to thechurch in the various branches of which the conferenceconsisted. There were excommunicated during the sametime to the number of 170. Several new places wereopened, and the gospel introduced into every place whereit seemed possible to send an elder or make an opening.There were generally 5 or 6 travelling Elders engaged with melaboring under my direction in the various parts of theconference. Commencing at our Conference held January 1st1853 we were called to defend a doctrine both new andobnoxious to the pious people of that country, viz, theplurality of wives. It was thought that the same wouldhave a tendency to shake the faith of many of the Saintsand that many would consequently apostatize. But bythe aid of the good spirit, and the testimony of Elders newlyarrived from the Valley, the doctrine was recommended tothe intelligence of every good Saint, and with an exceptionof some three or four, who were previously only waiting foran excuse to leave the church, none apostatized, butmany received their faith strengthened by reading andreflecting upon that revelation which introduced the Pat-riarchal Order to the world. In November following I received a communicationfrom Pres. S.W. Richards informing me that I wouldbe released from my labours and permitted to re-turn to Deseret on the first of January 1854. ElderJames Pace was appointed my successorr. During the time of my presidency, considerablemeans was raised – indeed according to the extremepoverty of the people much was raised, for the “TempleFund” also the “Perpetual Emigrating Fund,” “ConferenceFund” and for the liquidation of debts accruing throughthe delinquency of Conference Book agents who thenrobbed the church and then left it. January 23rd 1854 Set sail on ship Windermere forNew Orleans in company with about 450 Saints mostlybound for this Valley, under the care of Elder Daniel Carns.We had a very rough passage, and were sixty days fromport to port; landed April 23rd. There occurred much sick-ness on board, including 35 cases of small=pox, 6 of whichproved fatal, besides some other causes. I was personally blessedto escape this malady although constantly required tobe mixed up with the sick praying for them and admin-istering to them in the name of the Lord. April 27th took passage per steam boat “Grand Tower” forSt Louis – arrived there April 5th. Staiyed in St Louis 2 weeksand visited my friends, - April 20th started per steam-boat “Sonora” for Kansas where we arrived on the 24th.On arriving at Kansas Im found the camp of Saints – whowere preparing to under the direction of Elder Wm Empeyto cross the plains during the summer, – many of them suf-fering and dying whi with the cholera, or a maladysimilar. Many of those who p crossed the sea with me andwho proceeded up the river without staying in St Louis asI did, were dead! There were many deaths occurring daily.Nearly one month was spent in making preparations forthe land journey, during which time more or less deathoccurred all the time. I had with me a gentle man thathad furnished me with the necessary means to come homewith; and here I had to mourn his loss, as well as ofothers whose memory will live with me to the grave.His name was Augustine Joseph Harker.June 1st I was placed in charge of a certain portion of theSaints there encamped, to form a company to travel togetherto the Valley, and Elder Empey instructed us to start as soonas possible. I accordingly chose a camping ground about fourmiles west of Westport Mo. and to it those who had fittedthemselves out with wagons and teams removed and were organisedinto tens with captains &c and June 17th we started and travelled 5 miles, and during theweek made 30 miles. The company consisted of 45 wagons for the conveyance of217 souls including much luggage. 12 deaths occurred on the way.    Arrived in G.S.L. City Sept 23rd 1854, having been away fromhome four years, eleven months and three days.