Stand By The Authorities

“Thomas B. Marsh was [a] favored associate of the Prophet Joseph. Over this pulpit in the April 1984 general conference, President Hinckley reminded us that Brother Marsh was serving as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve when he chose to disregard the decisions of the First Presidency and other Church leaders in a dispute between his wife and another woman over some milk strippings.

“When, as did the prodigal son, he finally ‘came to himself’ (Luke 15:17), he wrote to Heber C. Kimball, who had been his associate in the Quorum of the Twelve, stating:

” ‘Having lost my wife three years since, I began to awake to a sense of my situation; . . . I know that I have sinned against Heaven and in thy sight and have rendered myself unworthy of your confidence; or of a place in the family of Heaven. . . . I deserve no place among you in the church even as the lowest member; but I cannot live long so without a reconciliation with the 12 and the Church whom I have injured.’ He then recited the typical lesson his years of rebellion had taught him: ‘The Lord could get along very well without me and He has lost nothing by my falling out of the ranks; But O what have I lost?! Riches, greater riches than all this world or many planets like this could afford.’ He pleaded with his brethren for comfort and peace and their smiles upon him. (Thomas B. Marsh to Heber C. Kimball, 5 May 1857, Brigham Young Collection, Church Historical Department; spelling and punctuation modernized.)

“After being re-baptized, Thomas came to Salt Lake City, where he asked Brigham Young, the President of the Church, for forgiveness. He was invited by President Young to speak at a Sunday service where Thomas offered this advice to his listeners: ‘If there are any among this people who should ever apostatize and do as I have done, prepare your backs for a good whipping, if you are such as the Lord loves. But if you will take my advice, you will stand by the authorities’ (in Journal of Discourses, 5:206).”