Monday, June 15, 2009

History of the Southern States Mission, Part 19: More Violence and a Church Burning and The Calm Before the Storm

After the conference in Mississippi President Roberts continued his travels. On June 31 he met with the Alabama Elders. Although the people of this locality were not as interested in the services as anticipated, and although the Elders were somewhat disappointed, yet they enjoyed themselves, as they were given a goodly portion of the spirit of God which mitigated all worry and dispelled all gloom.

The counsel imparted unto the Elders by President Roberts was timely and adequate to the conditions which surrounded them. He thought it pertinent that they relinquish their claims on old fields and launch out into unexplored portions, where prejudice was not so rife and where the seeds of the Gospel had never been planted.

On account of all the Elders of Alabama not being able to meet at general conference, a conclave was held at Travelers’ Rest. The six Elders that constituted this council meeting were given similar instruction to those who met at the general assemblage.

The conditions for disseminating the Gospel truths in Tennessee were not as auspicious at the present as they previously had been. In Lawrence county Elders J.A. Ross and A.J. McCueston were harassed considerably. While holding meeting at Knob Creek they were accosted by a fiendish mob of five, armed with hickory cudgels, and warned to leave the county before 10 o’clock next day. Despite their portentious [sic] premonitions, the Elders unrelentingly prosecuted their labors, warning the people of the dangers of living in Babylon and partaking of the sins of the world.

On June 25, 1884, the Saints of St. Clair county, Alabama, were forced to suffer the loss of their newly erected church. After burning the building the poltroons made known unto Brother P.M. Coleman, Elder of the branch, their odious intentions, that if Mormonism was not crushed in that vicinity, they would anihiliate [sic] all who aided or assisted them in any way. Persecution being so ardent, was decided that a discontinuation of services for a short time would prove very beneficial unto the cause.

During the latter part of the month of June violence toward the servants of God diminished considerably. The Elders enjoyed themselves exceedingly during this period of time, as it was a change for them. This innovation was an unusual one in the south.

The tranquility which came with the termination of June was to be of but short duration. No sooner had July thoroughly presented herself than Elders Morrell and Gailey were constrainted [sic] to bear the calumnies and suffer the lashes of an inhuman crowd of supposed Christians.

(To be Continued.)

(Although, as I understand it, John Morgan has taken a largely ceremonial place as President of the Southern States Mission with B.H. Roberts on site in the mission doing most of the work as Acting President of the Mission, I will continue the history of the mission at least through the Cane Creek Massacre. For very fine coverage of the Massacre, I will refer you once again to Amateur Mormon Historian blog.)

Latter Day Saints Southern Star, Vol. 1, No. 23, Chattanooga, Tenn. Saturday, May 6, 1899, p 177.

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