Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Interactions between Alexander Campbell and Sidney Rigdon (Part 2)

(continued from Part 1)

Chapter 11: Churches in Mantua, Hiram and Garrettsville (pp.237-266)

After establishing itself in January of 1827 (p.237), the Church in Mantua grew to just about thirty members by its first year (p.238) and had Sidney Rigdon as its occasional minister. February 1828 Walter Scott visited and converted many in Nelson, Hiram and Mantua. In May, Thomas Campbell visited, which not only stabilized the community but brought Symonds Ryder into the fold.

In April 1829, the church in Hiram formed, and a group from Mantua went to Shalersville. By 1830, led by ministers with youth but little experience (p.239), and assisted by a seasoned Baptist, Oliver Snow, who found much fault with the young men, the young community in Mantua, was sorely tried by the incursion of the Mormons. Atwater, with whom Hayden corresponded here in 1873, felt that Sidney Rigdon's popularity helped the Mormons. Atwater also believed that Sidney Rigdon knew ahead of time that the book of Mormon was coming (p.239), having talked at Atwater's fathers' house about the Indian mounds and other American antiquities (p.239), and was looking forward to a book to be published on these accounts (p.240). Under the influence of Rigdon Oliver Snow, Symonds Ryder, Ezra Booth, and others joined the new dispensation, with Eliza Snow leading the way.

Then Symonds Ryder returned to the disciples, "and exposed Mormonism in its true light",  working with the community to restore it. Marcus Bosworth continued to preach for Mantua. From 1840-1841 (p.241), A.S. Hayden worked in Mantua. Hayden then sketches Atwater's life (p.242), who had prepared for the ministry in the academy at Warren (p.242) and then married into the Judge Clapp family (p.243). When his first wife died, he married the daughter of Marcus Bosworth (p.244). 

Symond Ryder was the key elder for the church at Hiram (p.244), drawing upon the funeral oration of him preached by President B.A. Hinsdale of Hiram College (p.244) on August 3rd, 1870. A Mayflower descendant from Vermont (p.246). After serving his apprenticeship he went west, "missing" the British burning of Buffalo on December 28, 1813, arriving in Hiram, a Vermont colony, on January 6, 1814. Here he bought land and developed his property. In the Winter of 1814/5, Symond returned to Vermont to bring his family. In terms of his religion, he had brought the "severe puritanical sort" of "teachings and impressions of religion" "which prevailed in New England during the last [i.e. 18th, RCK] century" (p.247). When the Church of Bethesda, in Nelson, an 1808 member of the Mahoning Association, evicted over a dozen members on heresy, these remnants organized under Darwin Atwater and "adopted the advanced views of Campbell and Scott".

In 1828, Marcus Bosworth preached in Hiram, and Symonds Ryder was pleased with the sermon (p.248). After poring all week over the NT to understand Bosworth's discourse, Ryder managed to catch Thomas Campbell in Mantua (p.248) and was converted (p.249) (p.238). Ryder was first overseer of the Hiram Nelson church until 1835. Ryder was content as a disciple in all things save one.
He [i.e. Symond Ryder, RCK] read in the New Testament of the gift of the Holy Spirit; and, in his mind, it was in some way associated with the laying on of hands, and with some special spiritual illumination. These words, "the signs shall follow them that believe." seemed to him not yet to have been comprehended or realized. (p.249)
Then, in late 1830, Sidney Rigdon joined the Mormon movement in northern Ohio. Ezra Booth, a Methodist preacher of Mantua (p.250) and his wife, joined after an interview with Joseph Smith Jr in Kirtland, where Mr and Mrs Johnson were present and where Joseph Smith Jr healed her rheumatic lame arm, so that "on her return home the next day she was able to do her washing without difficulty or pain" (p.250). President Hinsdale emphasized the cognitive relief that the supposed resolution of the twin problem of the lost tribes and the origins of the red men gave (p.251) to "students of sacred and profane history".

When Ezra Booth addressed the Hiram community after a Ryder sermon (p.251), Ryder himself became unsure, eventually converting when an earthquake hit Peking, as predicted by a young Mormon girl.
Shortly after this, he openly professed his adhesion to the Mormon faith; but he and Ezra Booth, who were most intimate friends, promised that they would faithfully aid each other in discerning the truth or the falsity of the new doctrine. (p.251)
Famously, Ryder was turned off by a commission to be an elder in the Mormon church that misspelled his name (p.252).
His commission came, and he found his name misspelled. Was the Holy Spirit so fallible as to fail even in orthography? (p.252)
Since Ezra Booth had been similarly buffeted by the journey to Missouri to help set up Zion [cf. (Howe 1834, Chapter XV, pp.175ff), which letters were partially addressed to Edward Partridge, another friend, RCK], they both left the Mormons in September of 1831, and focused on stemming the tide, a difficult task, given the "large number of the citizens of Hiram [htat] had given in their adhesion to the doctrines of Smith and Rigdon" (p.252).

Hinsdale then reminds the listeners that Mormonism of 1870 in Utah was quite a separate matter from Mormonism in 1831, and correctly points to the intellectual climate of that age.
... it was a formative period in religious history; new ideas were fermenting in the minds of men; and, considering the facts before stated, it is not inexplicable that so strong a nature [as Symonds Ryder, RCK] should have given way to the fanaticism. (p.252)
Hinsdale then points out the succession problem the church of Hiram had faced (p.254) when Ryder could no longer be there: "no suitable provision was made for a new and different age" (p.254).

Hinsdale then speculates that, given the size and constitution of Symonds Ryder, it was the size of the pioneer tasks that he undertook that robbed him of the few years.
He was one of the most laborious men of that generation which bore off upon its broad shoulders, as Sampson did the gates of Gaza, the heavy forest which covered this land---the generation which performed the most wonderful work of the kind that history has witnessed; for in no age, and in no country, has the face of nature been so suddenly transformed as in the Northern States of the American Union. (p.255)
After the conclusion of the funerary oration reprint, A.S. Hayden returns as the host of the reader. It turns out that A.S. Hayden was co-elder with Ryder for the Eclectic Institute in Hiram (p.259), an institution that had been dear to Hayden's brother William as well--cf. pp.260ff.

Chapter 13: Great Meeting in Austintown 1830 (pp.295-310)

Hayden finally turns to the Great Meeting in Austintown of 1830 (p.295), which axed the association in place of an annual meeting (p.296). It was only on recollection that the loss of the evangelical preachers, which had been tied to the association but could not be to a meeting, was observed (p.297), and eloquently expressed in the Millennial Harbinger of 1849 by Alexander Campbell (p.297), who cautioned against reformation and annihilation as synonymous terms (p.298). 

Hayden now comes to the showdown between Rigdon and Campbell. Rigdon argued that the model of the church at Jerusalem of a community of goods required those who wished to imitate the apostles of the New Testament to imitate that example as well (pp.298f). Campbell "saw at once the confusion and ruin that would result from such doctrines", and rejoined, to which Rigdon replied however in zeal (p.299). Campbell then destroyed the argument in three points by observing that the early Church had ended the community system after Ananias and Sapphira, as the passages in the Pauline letters show, thus indicating that the "community system" in Acts was "formed not to make property, but to consume it, under the special circumstances attending that case" (p.299). 
This put an end to it. Rigdon finding himself foiled in his cherished purpose of ingrafting on the reformation his new community scheme, went away from the meeting at its close, chafed and chagrined, and never met with the Disciples in a general meeting afterward. (p.299)
Venting to Brother Austin afterwards in Warren, Rigdon observed
I have done as much in this reformation as Campbell or Scott, and yet they get all the honor of it. (p.299)
Hayden then turns to the community of Farmington, which was inspired by the great reformatory movement in Kirtland under Bentley and Rigdon in 1828 (p,306).

The Church in Shalersville received discourses preached in 1828 by Thomas Campbell and Sidney Rigdon (p.334). Ebenezer Williams, former Universalist, had preached there as well, as recounted previously (pp.155-157). Shalersville is a good example of a community that needed no full time minister.
... the church, like most of the congregations, had learned to "edify one another in love." This reliance on the talent of the church quickens the zeal and develops the abilities of the members; and if it is not depended on to the exclusion of preaching, it is a direct and powerful means of imparting strength and permanency to the churches. (p.336)

Chapter 15: Awakening in Perry (pp.346ff)

In August of 1829, Sidney Rigdon organized the church in Perry (p.346). The precipitating event had been the exclusion of David Parmly from the Baptist fellowship for communing with "Campbellites" (p.347). The new church mopped up those Baptists "who saw too clearly the spirit of the inquisition" (p.347).

Painesville [home of Eber D. Howe, RCK] received impulses from Mentor in 1828 (p.349), and had Clapp, Collins, William Hayden and Moss preaching there.

Chapter 16: Gospel in Ravenna, Aurora, etc (pp.369ff)

The church in Ravenna had been started by Marcus Bosworth and expanded by Ebenezer Williams (p.369). William Hayden sustained them through 1830 (p.370). In the summer, Walter Scott preached there, comparing the creed to a small coin that, if held close enough to the eye, can block out the sun (p.370). In 1831, Campbell came to Western Reserve, to help check Mormonism, and preached at Ravenna against it (p.371). 

A.G. Riddle, in his romance The Portrait: A Romance of the Cuyahoga Valley, contrasted Campbell and Rigdon, in allusion to a 1831 meeting in a grove in Aurora, Ohio (p.377).
At a glance he [i.e. Alexander Campbell, RCK] took the measure and level of the average mind before him---a Scotchman's estimate of the Yankee---and began at that level; and as he rose from it, he took the assembled host with him. In nothing was he like Rigdon; calm, clear, strong, logical, yet perfectly sim- || ple. Men felt themselves lifted and carried, and wondered at the ease and apparent want of effort with which it was done. (pp.377f)

Chapter 20: Euclid (pp.408ff)

In 1820, a Baptist Church had been established in Euclid, and Luther Dille was its deacon (p.408). His wife was a Disciple from Mentor and frustrated by her inability to commune with her husband. Requesting Sidney Rigdon's support during a visit to Mentor (p.409), Rigdon came to Euclid in the fall of 1829, and converted a rump church. Then Rigdon asked Luther to be the caretaker of the young converts, and Luther converted as well (p.409). Later (p.410) the church was visited by Thomas Campbell and J.J. Moss. 
Rigdon's fall staggered many, but Mormonism never made a convert in Euclid. This is much owing to the presence of Moss. (p.410) 

Chapter 24: Abbreviated Account (pp.465ff)

Rigdon, together with Clapp, founded the church in Birmingham, Erie County, in 1829 (p.465). During the same tour, the church of Elyria, in Lorain County, was established by Rigdon and Clapp (p.467).

Other Interests

Chapter 23: Lessons (pp.454ff)

Lesson II (p.455) The evangelical work cannot be the only one (p.455); "thoughtful men predicted" "the absence of a system for holding and training the converts" (p.456). As a result of this discrepancy between the evangelical and the pastoral, both members and congregations fell away (p.457). 
If the due adjustment of these two agencies had been suitably disposed at the beginning, it would have resulted in far greater strength and prosperity. (p.457)
Lesson III (p.457) recognized that it "was a mistake to start so many churches. This error was a result of the exuberance of evangelical zeal already noticed" (p.457).
Is it surprising that intelligent, discerning citizens, casting about for a "home", turn from a people where they see evidences of looseness in plan, and weakness in system, and yield themselves up in membership to organized bodies who conduct their enterprises systematically and successfully? (p.458)
Lesson IV (p.459) bemoans the lack of records that were kept, especially after 1828, when both the authority and the restriction of freedom to maintain even member lists was missing (p.459). And Hayden blames scriptural over-interpretation for it.
So, as the Scriptures gave no instructions about church records the whole matter was ruled out of order, and out of the church. (p.459)
What would we not give now for a continuance of the records of the Mahoning Association, which met two years under that name after the records ceased? Why were there no records of our yearly meetings? What rich and abundant materials for future history and instruction? (p.459)
Oh that Scott had kept a diary! that our earlier men had written as well as talk! (p.460)  
 [[RCK this really underscores the insights of Joseph Smith Jr, especially given the fact that the Millennium was considered to be coming.]]

Lesson V (p.461) says that it is not optional for the associations to combine their efforts to advance the gospel. Because the delegates had selected the evangelists, the "churches felt bound by the action of their delegates" (p.461). The field of labor had been determined, the compensation arranged. Consequently, the churches provided material support (p.462).
Bro. Campbell was the prime mover and the active leader in this scheme of associational effort to bring an evangelist into the field. (p.462)
The replacement of the association system by the annual meeting system wreaked havoc on the evangelist work, for the meetings were no substitute (p.462). Retroactively re-instituting cooperation was blasted by the suspicion of priest craft or sectarianism (p.462). Substituting for this cooperation was in fact one of the tasks of the Eclectic Institute, in whose formation Hayden was crucially involved.

Lesson VI (p.464) is that all the success that was achieved stems from preaching the word.
We must "preach the word," not something about the gospel, but the gospel itself. (p.464)

Bibliographic Record

A.S. Hayden, Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio, Cincinnati (Chase & Hall) 1875 (Internet Archive copy here).

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