Back to the BOAP Web Page

Conversation with Governor Ford at Springfield, Ill. on December 31, 1842
Source: Joseph Smith Diary (Willard Richards)

. . . conversation about Nauvoo & ^gov. said he was not a regionist Joseph said to the Governor I have no creed to circumscribe my mind therefore the people do not like me because I do not cannot curcumscribe my mind to their creeds. well said the gov. from reports we had [?] to think the mormons were a peculiar people. differnt from other people. having horns or something of the kind. but I find they look like other people . . . after supper a conversation was had on the Nauvoo charter, Joseph Prophecied that before 5 years roled around Judge Douglass will acknowledge that it would have been better for him to have followed his council - Douglass had been stating to Gen Law & El. Taylor that it was possible to revoke political chaters but not company charters Joseph argued if a legislature has power to grant a charter for 10 years it has no power to revoke it tell expiration thereof, the same principle will hold good for 20 years or for 100 years - & also for a perpetual charter. it cannot be revoked in time.1

John Darby, came in said he was going to california Joseph said I will say as the prophet said to Hezikiah go & prosper - but ye shall not return in peace. Brewster may set out for california but he will not get there unless some body shall pick him up by the way feed him &c - - - Brewster showed me the manuscript, I enquired of the Lord & the Lord 2 told me the book was not true. it was not of him. If God ever called me, or spoke by my mouth. or gave me a revelation he never gave revelations to that Brewster Boy or any of the Brewster race

1. The Nauvoo Charter was in large part the work of (now a bitter enemy of the Mormons) John C. Bennett. It was Bennett who sheparded the charter through the state legislature. The charter gave the city virtually state-like powers within it's sphere of influence for executive, legislative and judicial government. With the defection of Bennett, Joseph was quite aware of the possible dangers to himself and the Latter-day Saints.

2. James Collins Brewster, boy prophet of Kirtland, b. October 20, 1826. Brewster and his parents believed him to be a prophet and Brewster had produced a manuscript, claiming to be one of the lost books of the Apocrypha, "being one of the books which was lost and has now come forth, by the gift of God, in the last days". The lost book was printed in Springfield, Ill. by Ballard and Roberts, 1842. The Brewsterites, as believers came to be known, was ever a tiny group. Brewster apparently did not believe in a centralized governing prophet. Brewster said in 1837, he saw a vision of a round table with "a vast quantity of writing". The round table signified "equality" (meaning apparently that translating ancient writings was an equal opportunity job). Brewster started writing pamphlets in 1842, following that with another in 1845 and another in 1848. Brewster later claimed he was ordained by Joseph Smith to do this translation work. See HC 2:525-526; Russell R. Rich, Those Who Would Be Leaders, (Provo, Utah, 1958), 30; James Colin Brewster, Very Important to the Mormon Money Diggers, (Springfield, Ill.: 1843), (Utah State Historical Society); Dan Vogle in Roger D. Launius and Linda Thatcher, eds., Differing Visions: Dissenters in Mormon History, (Urbana: Univ. of Ill. Press, 1994), 120-139; Brian McGinty, The Oatman Massacre: A Tale of Desert Captivity and Survival, (Norman, Oklahoma: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 2005); RLDS History 2:61ff.

The encounter with Brewster's writing occurred in June 1841 by Brewster's claim. Brewster said Joseph did not receive an answer when he asked God about the boy's work. The interesting bit in Richards' record is that Joseph did not dismiss Brewster out of hand. This was typical. His treatment of the apparently bogus "Kinderhook Plates," is another example of the attitude. While both of these encounters came to nothing, Joseph's attitude was that claimed revelation could only be critiqued by revelation.

Copyright © 2007. W. V. Smith and the Book of Abraham Project. All rights reserved. Files in The Parallel Joseph may be read at this site, but may not be copied to reside anywhere else. They may not be printed or distributed in any manner without written permission of the copyright holder.