excerpt – Danish Apostle
[December 26, 1905; Tuesday.] We arrived at Palmyra [New York] in the morning. Here we hired carriages which took us to Manchester to a Mr. Chapman who lives in the house built by Joseph Smith, Sr. and was the farm on which Joseph labored. We were shown Josephs room, also the corner where he translated. Mr. Chapman pointed out the place where the old loghouse stood in which Joseph had the visit of the angel Moroni. We went out into the grove where Joseph is said to have received the first vision. The company sang the hymn: “Joseph’s first prayer.” It was very interesting to see these places and I felt as if walking on hallowed ground. I brought away a stick from there. Mr. Chapman and family were very pleasant and accomodating to us.
We then drove up to Cumorah hill. We ascended the hill and had a beautiful view from its summit. He laid before us the “Waterloo” of the Nephites. A whole nation was slaughtered here. Numerous arms are said to have been dug up here. Prest. Smith offered a most impressive prayer. We agreed upon the place where according to Oliver Cowdery the plates were found. We bought some flint arrowheads of the people who live in the house on the farm. We drove back to Palmyra and took dinner.
Left at 7 oclock. Bro. C. W. Penrose was mouth at our devotional.
In the morning we arrived at Cleveland. Had breakfast in the Railroad hotel after which we took the street car to Willoughby. We saw some of the leading streets in Cleveland and the beautiful country through which we passed. At Willoughby we took wagons to take us to Kirtland. They were overloaded and we went on the walk. We were pleased when we reached the ridge from which we caught the first sight of Kirtland Temple. Here lay before our view the country in which were transacted the earliest events in the Church. Here the Prophet lived and studied and yonder stands the house the fame of which should go out to all nations. Kirtland when we entered it showed very little enterprise. It has not made much progress since it was deserted by the Saints. The temple itself was an interesting edifice. It has been bought by the Reorganites. There was a time when it was defiled and used vilely, but to the credit of the present owners it must be said that they keep it neat and they have set it in order as nearly as they have understood the original design. It was shown to us by a Mr. U. Gran one of their Twelve and a man by name of Stone. To hear their explanations it was easily understood that they had no conception of the real uses of a Temple. We visited first the Assembly room then the room set apart for the Prophet’s School and then the upper rooms of which there are five. Their arrangement gave me a good idea of parts of Church History which I did not quite understand before.
On the cemetery lie buried some of the persons who figured in early Church History such as John Coe, Oliver Granger and others. We saw the home of Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith and that of the Prophet Joseph. Kirtland lies on the slope of the hills south of the Chagrin River.
[November 18, 1918; Monday.] Prest Smith had a bad night. He suffered much with his pleurisy. I spent the day in the Office. Prest. H. J. Grant called on the President and when he left the President called him back and said: “God bless you my boy, God bless you. A great responsibility is coming to you, but always remember that the Lord is greater than men and he makes no mistake in those he chooses to lead his Church.” I went over there in the evening the President was suffering very much. He said: Brethren pray that I may be released. Prest. Grant and I laid our hands on his head and were joined in doing so by his sons Joseph, David and George. I asked the Lord, if Prest. Smith’s mission was finished to release him from his suffering. I stayed with him till he fell asleep, and asked them to send for me if I was wanted. I brought in the Herald in which I read that President Smith died at 4.50 am.