Hay view from Castle

Hay view from Castle
Hay-on-Wye, Powys (formerly Breconshire), Wales. The "Town of Books" (and Vaughans!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Joseph Smith III Visited the Johns Family in Jacks Valley, Nevada

OK. This is not a really bad April Fools joke. And it is all absolutely true.

Just as I don't support modern polygamy (FLDS) and still respect my ancestors for their historical, religious practices, I can respect my relatives who did not stay with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) but left and became members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (RLDS). Yes, you may need a score card to keep track of this one.

Joseph Smith III
It is still of significant historical interest that Joseph Smith III, the son of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., visited some of my ancestors and apparently stayed in their home in Jacks Valley, Nevada. The year was 1867 and this is from Joseph Smith III, the President and Prophet of the RLDS Church at the time:
"On the first of November we bade Sr. Lincoln and her family, Brn. William Anderson, Job Hall, Thomas J. Andrews, Peter Canavan, A. C. Bryan, and others farewell, and left the city of San Francisco, in company of Bro. Daniel S. Mills, who accompanied us as far as Sacramento, where we bade him good-bye, he bound for Salmon Falls on an errand of mercy; and we en route for Reno and Carson City. We reached the latter place early Thursday morning; and in the afternoon reported to Bro. A. B. Johns, president of the district, and spent a night and a day in Jack's Valley. On Saturday we returned to Carson, and on Sunday morning and evening we addressed those of the citizens of the city who chose to gather at the court-house to hear us; the attendance was good, on both occasions, and the Saints seemed to be pleased with the effort made.
On Monday, by the kindness of Bro. Thomas Milliard's son, Harry, we went to Bro. Johns', and was by him taken to Genoa, Carson Valley, where we spoke to a large assembly in the court-house. From there, Bro. Johns had arranged for preaching at Mottsville, Fairview, Diamond Valley, and Jack's Valley, on successive nights; all of which engagements we filled, visiting the Saints between times.
At Genoa and Mottsville, we fell in with a number of the brethren who accept William Davis, now at Walla Walla, as a leader. It is stated that there are a number of resurrected saints, ancient and modern, among them; as, for instance, the ancient of days; Daniel, of the lion's den; Joseph and Hyrum Smith. It is also stated that Jesus in the person of a child of about eight years of age, is at Walla Walla with Mr. Davis' family. We heard other rumors about them, but do not care to repeat them. Some of the men whom we met are evidently sincere and earnest men; and as we can only wish them well, we do not choose to report anything not well authenticated. Most of them were with Elder Joseph Morris in the Webber trouble.
On Friday, November 10, we baptized three, in Jack's Valley, holding confirmation services at Bro. A. B. Johns'. Two were children of Bro. and Sr. David R. Jones, and one, a Sr. Trimmer, a citizen of Carson City. We returned to Carson, on November 11, and went directly to Virginia City, the mining center of Nevada. We met Bro. George Smith, of Pleasant Valley, on the platform at Carson, who accompanied us to Virginia [City, NV]."
I had first heard of the "Walla Walla Jesus" in reading some other histories of Genoa, Nevada. It was another split-off group from the Mormon tradition that neither the LDS nor RLDS had anything to do with.

As for the bona fides of the RLDS (now Community of Christ), I respect them and their heritage even if I differ in beliefs and commitments. 1844 in Nauvoo, when the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. was killed, and 1857 in Utah, when the LDS were facing down the threat of a federal invasion lead by the U.S. Army, were both very difficult times. Who knows what I would have done back then? Most of my ancestors stayed with the LDS Church in Utah. Some Uncles, Aunts, and Cousins joined the RLDS Church. At least I haven't discovered anything about fundamentalist relatives (FLDS or others) practicing their version of polygamy.


  1. Interesting. I had a San Bernardino ancestor who returned after 1857 and subsequently joined the RLDS. I'll add a link to what I wrote about him and his wife. (Uses that same picture of JSIII.) I think the religion preached by the RLDS missionaries sounded more like Kirtland- and Nauvoo-era Mormonism than what they were hearing in Reformation Era Utah.


    1. Thanks, Amy! Good write-up on your history! Yes, it's hard to judge them at all harshly. It would have been a challenging time. Although I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have gone to Walla Walla.


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