My Other Blogs


Checking for the Countersign

Another little bit from my wife's GGGG Grandfather's journal. This one is fun:
A short distance from our camp stood a large tree. Here I was stationed with orders to let no one pass except he give the countersign. About 9 o'clock I heard two men approaching from toward camp. I knew by their voices it was our Prophet and his brother Hyrum. When they came in hearing distance, I hailed them, inquiring who they were. The answer was, "Friends." I bade them advance and give the countersign which they did over the muzzle of my rifle in true military style.

About two hours after this, I heard footsteps coming down the road. When in suitable distance, standing with my thumb on the cock of my rifle, muzzle of my rifle up, I called out, "Who comes there." All was silent; I stood there peering into the darkened road, expecting every instant to see the flare of some rifle. The sound began to move toward me. Then in a tone of authority, I ordered, "Halt!" Then I saw it was a cow. I stepped out of the road and let her pass without giving the countersign, thus giving the cow more leniency than I did the Prophet of God.

Danite Rites?

On the first Monday in August [1838] an election [at Gallatin] was held. It was the lawful right of the Mormons to vote, but the Missourians swore the Mormons should not vote, saying they had no more right to vote than a "nigger." This was trying to free born American citizens.

The ballot box was guarded but the brethren thought to claim our rights and maintain them, so they voted, walked up and offered their votes; a fight ensued and six or seven brethren cleared out all those who opposed them. Thus was the starting of the shedding of blood in the Mormon war of 1838.

About this time I was invited to unite with a society called the Danite society. It was gotten up for our personal defense, also for the protection of our families, property and religion. Signs and passwords were given by which members could know the other wherever they met, night or day. All members must mend difficulties if he had any with a member of the society, before he could be received.

This is the earliest dated reference I have seen to signs and passwords being in use in Mormonism, and predates the first Nauvoo Endowments by four years. This account comes from a Journal by my wife's Great Great Great Great Grandfather, Lumon Andros Shurtliff.


Michael Servetus

Some History from the Protestant Era:
"Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are. There is no question here of man's authority; it is God who speaks, and clear it is what law he will have kept in the church, even to the end of the world. Wherefore does he demand of us a so extreme severity, if not to show us that due honor is not paid him, so long as we set not his service above every human consideration, so that we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity when the matter is to combat for His glory."
-John Calvin
On 24 October 1553, Michael Servetus was sentenced to death by burning for denying the Trinity and infant baptism. When Calvin requested that Servetus be executed by decapitation rather than fire, Farel, in a letter of September, chided him for undue leniency, and the Geneva Council refused his request.

On 27 October 1553 Servetus was burned at the stake just outside Geneva.

How true the saying is: They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me: they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.

Blessed be the memory of Michael Servetus and all the other good and faithful men who died at the hands of such a wicked generation.