On the Potter’s Wheel
Stanley B. Kimball, editor

Chapter 1
The Documents
Diary One

[p.3]4 June-23 February

By mid-June 1837, Heber C. Kimball had already served the Mormon church as an apostle for two years and had demonstrated faith and integrity as a missionary in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York. At this time, the church in Kirtland, Ohio, where Kimball and his family were living, was suffering from various forms of dissent. The Kirtland Safety Society (Bank) had failed, and many Mormons, including five of Kimball’s colleagues in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, had publicly condemned Joseph Smith as a false prophet. The strength of the six-year-old church was at a nadirit was facing dissolution. For Smith, the solution was to send Kimball and others to open a mission in Preston, England, where they would not have to confront such opposition and, equally important, where Joseph Fielding, an English-born convert, had received an invitation to return and lecture on Mormonism. It is with Kimball’s call [p.4]of 4 June 1837 that his first diary commences.1

June the 4, 1837. Kirtland [Ohio]. The word of the Lord to me through Joseph [Smith] the prophet that I should gow to England to open the dore of procklamation to that nation and to hed [head] the same; Likewise the same day Brother Joseph wanted we should meet at a confrence /at/ Elders [Sidney] Rigdons.2 I met with them acordingly. Brother [Orson] Hide3 come in and desired to dow [do] the will of God, Joseph and Sidney and Hiram [Smith]4 lade thare han[d]s on my head and set me a part for this mission and dedicated me to the Lord—and Elder Hide to be my companion and the Blessi[n]g of the Lord should gow with us. Thare ware fore [four] others set a part to gow with us Elder Godson [John Goodsen, a Canadian convert] and Rusel [Isaac Russell, a Canadian convert] and [Willard] Richerds5. And thare /ware/ two preas [priests] went with us, [Joseph] Fieldens6 and Snider [p.5][John Snider, a Canadian convert].

The 2 [2nd] day we got to gether and I was mouth and we asked the Lord to carry us safely crost the great waters and to give us fare winds, and caus our journny to be spedy and to open the way before us, when we should arive on the chores [shores] of Europe.

We started the 13 day of June and bid fare well to our familes wives and children and Brethren and twock [took] /our/ life in our hands and went forth; I could say I had left all for Christ and for the gospel; and I desire to now [know] nothing but Jesus and Him Crusifide, for my trust is in The[e], O God, for Thou are ever mindful of me. For thou herest my praires [prayers] when I call on The[e] for Thou art the same God to day and for Ever and Thou changes not.

[Kimball includes at this point the following copy of his Elder’s, or preaching, license:]

At a confrence of the Elders of the church of “Later Day Saints” held in Kirtland, Geauga County, Ohio, on the Seekend [second] day of June in the year of Our Lord, one thousand Eight Hundred and thirty Sevn, Elder Heber C. Kimball, the Barer of this [license] was unanimously appounted, set a part, and Ordained to go at the hed of this mission to England to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of that nation; as it is believed and practised by us from the Long acquaintanc which we have had with this our worthy Brother, his integrity and Zeal in the Caus of truth we dow most cherfuly [p.6]and confidently reccomend him to all candid and upright people as a servent of God and a faithfull Minister of Jesus Christ. We do further more besech all people who have an opportunity of hering this our brother declare the doctrin believed by us, to listen with attention to the words of his mouth

Joseph Smith
Presiding Elders
Sidney Rigdom
of the Church of
Hyram Smith
Later Day Saints

June the 13. I started and went to Fare Port [Fairport, on Lake Erie] with three of my brethren Elder Hide, Richerds, and feltens [Fielding]. We twock [a] steam bo[a]t fore [4:00] in the after /noon/ and set sale and arived at Bufalow [New York] the 14. Stade [stayed] till toareds [towards] night wating /for/ Elder [John] Talor7 to bring us some money. He did not come. We ware much dispointed for it was /our/ dependence [traveling funds], from thence we twock steam boat line boat [on the Erie Canal] and went to Eutica [Utica, New York] and from thence twock Rale Rode [railroad] to Albany then twock steam [boat] to New York, and thare we met three brethren from Canada, Elder [John] Godson and [Isaac] Rusel and [John] Snider. Thare we stade seven or eight days wating fore Ship.8

On the 1 day of June [July] we set sale for England. We left the sight of Land that day. On the niteent [nineteenth] we reach the Land of Europe in safty. We had a plesent voige [voyage] and as could be [p.7]expected, we had sum storms and brock [broke] sum of the rigin [riggings]; the Lord hurd our prairs and carerd [carried] us safe a crost. Elder [Orson] Hide preach once [on] bord of the Ship and converssed much in privit; thare was a family belong[ing] to the Church of England [that] had a infant child that was vary sick so that they had giving it up to dy [die], the sperrit [spirit] came on me and I went and laid my hands on it and rebuked the fever in the name of Christ and told then if they would believe on the Lord the child should guit [get] well, w[h]en I left the chip [ship] the child was well.

We landed in Liverpole on the 19 of June [July] a bout 12 Oclock in the after noon. We stade in Liverpole [on Union Street] fore days. We could not guit [get] our trunks from the Custom hous offercers, before for they had much buysness to tend to before our turn come; we hired our Logens [lodgings] and borded our selvs. We ramain in prair [prayer] and council most of the time.

Sartady [Saturday] the 22 we started for Preston9 in coach. We got thare [at] fore [4:00] in the after nowon. Our things was taking of[f] of the coach. Brother Godson was hunting a bording hous. Elder Hide and brother [p.8]Snider and my self was standing by our trunks. All at once I Lo[o]ked up and thare was a Large flag standing right before us writen on it, “Truth will prevail.”10

We spoke with one voice, amen, and amen. We obtain a login [lodging] in the hous of [a] widow [in St. Wilfred Street], and furnished our own vitles and she coocked it for us. Brother Felding went to his brothers, Reveren[d] Mister [James] Feldind11 [who] desired to see sum of us that night. Elder Hide, Godson and my self went to see him and his brother in law both ministers. They seam to be qite friendly. Return to our logins.

The next morning went to hear Mister Feldings preach [at Vauxhall Chapel], praying to the Lord to open the way for us to preach. The Lord moved on his hart to open his dores [doors] for us to preach without us asking him for it. Afor [After] he got thruw he gave out a[n ap]pointment for one of the Later day Elders of the Later to preach 3[:00] in the after noon. This he did of his own acord in anwer to our prairs; acordinly I went forword with Elder Hide with me having peculier feelings [it] being a long Sinigog [synagog] and crow[d]ed full to hear the strang thing thare [their] minds being much excited. I rose up and began to declare that thare had an Angel viseted the lorer [lower] regons and commited the Everlasting gospel to man and [I] prevailled on them to repent and prepare for his seckent [second] coming, and laid down the way for them to Enter Ito [into] His Rest. After I got threw Elder Hide bore testamony. It seam to have a gr[e]at effect on the congr[eg]ation. They cride [p.9]glory to God to think that the Lord, had sent His servent to them. We desmised the meting. Mister Feldin wanted we should preach in the Evning. Elder Godson preached and Brother Felding bore testamony after him. We preached once more in his Chappel on Wensdy Evning. The hous was stade [stayed; remained] full, Elder Hide preached to them. The power of God rested down on the congration and manny [were] pricked to the hart. After that thare was dors open in Evry diretion and the cry was come and see me in the city.

This is a large place. Thare is fifty thousand inhabitence in this place cold [called] the town of Preston. Mister [Fielding] did not open his dors anny more for us, but thare was privit housses opeen for us to preach so that we had two or thre[e] meting Evry night. Thare was menny that believed on our words, and to desire to be baptised by us. By this time Mister Felding begins to oppose us with all his power.

A singular sercustance [circumstance] occured on Sartady night which I will mention. Elder Russel was much trubled by Evel spirits and come into the room [where] Elder Hide and my self ware sleeping and desired us to lay our hands on him and rebuke the Evil spirrits. I Rose upon flower [the floor] and Elder Hide sat on the bed and we laid our hands on him and I rebuked and praid for him but Just before [he] had finished his prairer and Rebuked [the spirits] his voice faltered and his mouth was shet [shut] and he began to trembel and Real to and fro and fell on the floor like an dead [man] and uttered a deap groan. I immedially s[e]ized him by the shoulder and lifted him up begin [being] satisfid that the devils ware excee[d]ingly angry becaus we attempted to cast them out of Brother Russel and they made [p.10]a powerfull attempt uppon [me]12 as if to despatched [me] at once. They struck [me] sensless and [I] fell to the flower. Bro. Russel [and Brother Hyde] then Laid [their] hands upon [me] and rebuked the evil spirit in the name of Jesus Christ and immediatly [I] recoverd [my] strength in part so as to get up. The swet began to roll from [me] most profusly and [I] was almost as wet as if taking out of water. We could very sencibly hear the Evil Spirits rage and fome [foam] out their shame. [I] was qite weack for a day or two after it. It seames that the devels ar determined to distroy us and prevent the truth from being declared in England; this was on Sartady. Brother Russel was going to preach in the market /on Sundy/, and I was going to baptise about nine.

[Sunday, 30 July] These was the furst [first converts] and the devil was mad. He tride to kill us. He perd [appeared] in pirson on Mondy night. Thare was eight more baptised by brother Feling. Thursday I baptised 3 more. The [same] weak on Sartudy I baptised one more. On Sundy Brother Hide Baptised six more.

August the 4. On Sundy Brother Hide preached in the market place. When we got threw [through] I bore testamony of the things that God had declared to me. As soon as I get threw, thare was a preast jumped up on the stand and contending against us, this made the people seam to be mad at him. They would not let him speack but we prevailed on them to let him speak, so [he] began to speak against us but when he got thre[w] B[rother] Hide twock [took] him up on his own ground [p.11]and set him up for a speckle [spectacle]. The congration ware all in our favor and they told him never to dow the Like again. Six in the after noon the brethren met to gether. We adminersted the sackrement and the[n] we lade on hands upon 26. The Lord was with us. B. Hide had a vission of an angel he was in the poster [position] of recording those blessing that we was conferming upon them, so we felt to Rejoice to think the Lord Excepted of those thing that we was dowing. The power of God was with us.

A Mondy [August] 9. We held an other [meeting] thare was much good done. I was at Brother [Thomas] Wormsley.13 They was a young Lady cam[e] in a ministers daughter.14 I felt to speck [speak] the words of Life to hur. She believed them. I told hur that I was going to preach in the Evning. She came to hear me the next Evening. On Fridy the same weack [week she came] and wanted me to baptise hur. I went and baptised hur and confurmed hur at the water side. On Sartady she started for home fifteen miles from Preston. I went to my Login and found Brother H[yde] and Feldins. I told them that I wanted to pray that the Lord would soften hur farthers15 hard [heart] and not find folt [fault] with hur and that he would open his chapel for me to preach the next week. I recieved [a] Leter from him that he should expect me tha next Sabath and he had giving out for me to preach three times on the Sabath.

Acording to his a pointment, I started fore [4:00] in the after noon and arrived thare [in Walker Fold]16 [p.12]about dusk, the minister recieved me qite corgley [cordially], and sed I was welcom at his] hom. I preach three times on Sundy. On Monday [August 14] evning I preach, again on Wensdy. Then thare was dores open in prived [private] housses for me to preach the same weck [week]. I baptise Six. The Lord was with me on my right hand and on my left. I stade two weeks and preached 13 times and baptise eight and menny more that believed on my words. The night /before/ that I left Walkerfold I had a vission.17 Thare was a man came to me and twock [took] hold of my hand and asked me how I did. I told him that I was well, and ses [says] he you are wanted in Preston and we cant dow without you Enny Longer. So the next morning [in early September] I bid farewell to the few and made my way for Preston as fast as posable and when I got thare; thare was a leter from Amaraca [America] forom [from] my wife contang [containing] menny pressious [precious] things from Kirtland and much other buseness that was nesesary fore me to be thare to see to, and Brother Hide felt to pras [praise] the Lord to see me. I remained thare there [three] or fores [four] days and Brother Hide and I went ten miles in to the country and was gone two days and preached twice and menny [were there] that believed on our words and [we] return back to Preston and preached evry day and baptising for the remission of sins. The work is roling in myty [mighty] power to the convinsing [of] menny. I stade laboring with Orson [Hyde] till the Spirrit sed [said] gow to Walkerfold and see to the Litle branch.

Left Preston Thursdy the 12 and came to the Litle branch in Walker Fold and found them much percued [p.13][persecuted] by there own fathers and mothers. This seam hard for them [but] when they see my fase they revived thear sperrits and felt to Rejoice in the Lord. Sum of them are driven from thare homes for the caus of Christ. At this time [I] have preached in new plases and thare are dores open in evry direction for me to preach. I have preached evry night since I have ben here. The harvest is truly great but the labours is few and going in to the ground. O the darkness that covers the Earth and grost [gross] darkness the people. It is a neough [enough] to a stonish one to see for the preasts have lulled them to sleep. It is like braking threw bars of iron to guit [get] to thare harts.

On Fridy the 14 I left that plase and went to Preston being Led so by the Spirrit of the God. When I got thare Brother Godson had returned from Bedford18 had left a litle church of 19 and Brother Wilard Richards with it. The worke of the Lord is going on in power in Preston and other wares [elsewhere] but the prees [priests] are criing folts [false] prophets and fals teachers and this only sturis [stirs] up the people more to come to hear us out of curilosity and menny are pricked to hart and brought in to the kingdom in this way. So evry thing that they dow it works for the advancing the caus of Christ. So we feel to trust in the Lord knowing that evry thing shall work for good for them the [that] Love the Lord and keep His commandments.

Sartady the 20 of Sept. We have riten a[n e]pistle this day to our brethen the twelve to give them a relation [p.14]of our mission thus far;19 my heth [health] is qite powerly [poorly] in helth this day. /I am/ trubled much with a bad cold. The climite [is] cold and dampt. The climet is diffrent from Amarica. The Lord is powering [pouring] out His Spirrit in this plase. On the Sabath Elder Hide and my self confurmed 35 and preached twice and baptised sevrel. On Wensdy evning we confirmed 12 more. Thare [they] are coming forward dayly to be baptise.

Sept the 21. I am going to Longridge20 to preach and from thence to Walker Fold if the Lord permit.

I will Relate a vision that I hade a day or two after we landed. I was [on] bord of a vessel with others and with me. The Ship was under full Sale. Seam as though thare was [a] difficuilt spot to pas threw. The wind blew harde and the chip was under great head way and thare was great danger of running bord of those snags. Thare was just room for it [the ship] to run betwixt them [the snags] and just as the chipe was pasing threw them thare [was] one right before it and the chip run over it and ground it to powder and did not hurt the chip and I have seen this fullfilled to the uttermost. Rev. Mister Fieldins Run before the work of God and it has destroid him and his influence and his church has left him and he is a object of pity; the Lord has ben with me and giving me drems and vissions and shown me of those things which was to come for this I thank my hevly [heavenly] Father for.

The 22 I went [to] New Roe21 and preashed [preached] once; then I preached at Longridge and from thence to Walker Fold and preached on Sunday to the [p.15]Litle church in that plase. On mondy I went in to Barcher Eves [Bashall Eaves], Yorksheir [Yorkshire]22 and preached twice more and baptised two and from [there] I went to Ribchester23 and preached twice and menny believe on my testamony in that plase. From thence I went to Longridg[e] and preached again and from thence I went to Preston and found the work of the Lord going on in the hands of Elder H[yde]. I have stade here twelve days with brother H. preaching and baptising for the ression [remission] of sins in River Rible.24 In the mean time [I] have confurmed forty by the laing on of hands for the gift of the Holy Gost and set the church in order and seprated them in to five branches in the town of Preston on the 8 of Oct.

Sept the 25. On Sundy Evning I preached to the little branch of the Church [and] the same night [was] rejected from two housses whare I expected to stay that night and thought I should have to [have] stade out dore that night but thare ware fore [four] Sisters that stuck bye me till they found a plase fore me to stay before they would leave me. These ware friends in time of need and they will be long rememberd by me fore thare kindness and for this thare names shall be handed down from jeneration to jeneration for a memoriel. These are thare names Nancy Smitieis [Smithies],25 Nancy Key, Lisebeth Key, Magdalon Noler; and one more fore hur kindness to me when I was in a strang Land and a pilgram and a stranger [p.16]on the Earth. She obtained a home for me. This is hur name Jane Richards; and may the blessing of God Rest on these Sisters from this time hens forth and for Ever, amen. Amen.

Sundy [October] the 9. We had a confrence of the Church of the Later day Saintes to dow buisness and set things in order. Thare was Elder Hide, Preast [Joseph] Felding26 and my self. /The number of Saints was one hundred fifty./ We chose eigh[t] men from the number of saints acording to the Spirrit of God that was in us. They ware nomanated and seckented [seconded] and voted in by the Church to receive the office of teachers, sevn of them and one fore a deacon. They was of one mind in this thing. Elder Hide and my self layd our hands on them and Ordained them. Seven of them teachers and one of them a deacon. This was done acorden to the Spirrit of God. We confurmed 13 by the Laing on of hands for the gift of the Holy Gost and the power of God was manifested in these things in mity Power. In the Evning O. Hide preached and after he got threw I rose up and bore testamony of the work of God. All though evry preast in the plase is crying fals teachers and fals prophets this only sturs up the people so that we are baptising thare members every day, and this is what ails them for they are [a]fraid that thare pasters [congregations] will be spilt [split]. Brother Hide and my self sleeping to gether.

I had a dreem that I [went on] bord of [a] strong chip in a narrow channel, thare was menny things heaped before it to hinder the progress of the chip but it went threw all oposition and brother Hide hade the same [dream] at the same time. The preas [priests] have com-[p.17]bined agains[t] us and have praid [to the] /Lord/ to drive us out of the plase and if this would not dow they praid that the Lord would smite us but it seames that there God has gon [gone] a circuit for he dont hear them while our God is power [pouring] out His blessings upon us. After this combination of preas twock place in Preston we have bapised fifty in about eight days. The Lord has sed Evry wepon that is formed against us should not prosper and this we have found to be fulfill[ed] in evry instance what ever they dow it work for the glory of God, and in our favour and praies the Lord for his kindness to me and His servents for He is all ways with us.

On the Sabath of the 16 Elder H[yde] and my self preached twic[e] and breck [broke] bread to about two hundred and confurm about thirty five by the laing on of our hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost and the Spirit cam[e] in power.

Brother H. and my self proseded to obtain a Lisence from the cort [court] of sessions in Preston that we might be protecked by the Laws of the Land. On the 18 of Oct. the Cort of Sessions set, we[n]t to the court and got it tended to in a bout one hours time. [The license reads as follows:]

Lancashire, to wit. These ar[e] to certify, that at the General Qarter Sessions of the Peace, held by Adjournment at Preston, in and for the said county; the Eightweenth day of October in the first year of the Reign of Hur Majesty Queen Victoria. Heber Chase Kimball came before the justices [of] Preston, and did then and thare in open court, take the Oaths appointed to be taken in the [presence] of [witnesses] the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and also the Ab-[p.18]juration Oath;27 the [above] subscribed his Name thereto; persuant to the Several in that Behalf made and provided.

Egorst [E. Gorst?]
Deputy Clark [clerk] of the Peace
in and for the said County
of Lancaster

Cost half a crown each one of us. After I obtained my Lisence I went to Walker Fold stade six days and baptised eight and Brother Feldins baptised one and then Returned to Preston. The work in [is] Roling on in that Reg[i]on.

On the 5 Oct. John Goodson and [John] Snider started for a Marica [America] being home sick. Brother Godson wanted to see his wife Brother Snider became discouredg and could not preach and became like a drone, the day will come when they will repent of it, for not being more diligent in the caus of [truth]. I think the Lord has giving us more power than we had before. There is but three of us in this part of the Country. Thare is cal[l]s in all parts for preaching.

On the 31. It came to pas[s] that I went to Exton [Euxton]28 to Frances Mones [Moon]29 and from thence I [p.19]went to Ritenton30 and preached to Joseph Gill and the next evning I preached at a Chapel in Egelston31 and the next Evning I preched in Esken32 and I reamined [remained] thare three days and baptis[ed] sevn and two of them /ware/ Ministers. From thence I went back to Exton to Frances Mons [Moon] and baptised his wife and two othere, and it came to passe that I went back to Preston and stade two we[e]ks for I was sick with a bad cold and so was Orson H. I batised sevrel in the time and preached sum and it came to pas that I went back to Exton on the Sabath and preached twice and baptise one and from thence went to Chorly33 and preached once and som[e] /thare/ that ware believing and from [there] to Leyland34 to Francis [Moon] for he had moved to that plase. Thare is menny pregs [priests] that are fi[gh]ting the work of God.

De[c]. the 2. And it came to pass that I went to Francis Moons and stade one night and brother Moon preached in Leland and I bore testamony after him and from thence went in company with Moon to Righlenton [Wrightington]. On the 3rd We preached and I babtise five and met the church and brock bread and confurmed seven. On Monday went to Chorly and preached once and baptised one. From thense went Riglenton [Wrightington] and preached once more and baptised fore [four] out of the family of Thomas Benson being a peculer [peculiar] family.35 He is a man thats 63 years of Age [p.20]and he has not one hare on his body. He was Re[a]dy to Recieve this work when I entered his hous and declarde that I was the servent of God and that he had menny things to tell me for I was the only one that he [had] ever see[n] that he could tell for he had seen menny vissions and had [experiences] and he had /seen/ Angels and from thence I went to one Mister Moon for they had ben praying that the Lord would send me thare and I felt constrained to gow thare and likwise I went and they sed that they had ben praying for me to come thare and the Lord hurd thare [their] prairs. So I went and stade with them half of a day and baptised six which was the man and his wife and fore daughters and the same night went to Ley Land to Frances Mons and stad all night.

The next morning I went to Preston and found my beloved Brother Hide and on the Sabath we confurmed 12 and administerd the Sackrement and Brother Hide Preached in the evening. I stade thare three we[e]ks with Brother Hide. Every preast in this plase was colling us fals Prophets and falts teacher. We saw that they [were] Blinding the Eies [Eyes] of the [h]onest. We felt to give them a chaling [challenge]. If thare was anny Respeckble Minister thought that they could stablished this [claim that we were false teachers] we would Stand in our own defence and [in] sum [some] commod[i]ous plase we would me[e]t the[m] enny time in [the] cours[e] of two weks giving us three days notes [notice]. When the time expired we renued [renewed] the promis and gave them two weeks more but they did not come. /Thare/ ware sevral preas that did not h[a]ve a good carictor coming [to] interfere with hare [our] Metings and tride to brack them [p.21]up menny times till the Sperrit of God was greived with them. After Brother Hide speking [spoke] to the people about one [h]our; I got up and bore testamony to the congration and shock [shook] my garments before them and told them that my garments ware clean of blo[o]d. Thare was menny preas that ware thare at that time but had Rejected our testamony and cold [called] us evry thing but good and shoock thare fist at us and sisced [hissed] at us and gnashed thare theth at us and thretned us evry way that they could. The nex[t] day we felt by the Spirrite of the Lord that we would gow and wash our feet against them and that we would not have now [any] more to dow with [them] for we was clean of thare blod and that we would have now [no] more to dow [do] with them hare after; then we went and washed our feet and hands and shuck our garments against them and bore testamony to our Father who art in heaven.

Since that we have ben /going/ forth in to the world to preach the gospel to those that are willen to Recieve it; after this we agree[d] to gow forth. Joseph Felding went to the north and Orson [Hyde] went to the East and I went to the South and [the] furst time that I preached I baptise twelve and continued fore or five days and brother Hide came to me and we Remained together till we Return back to Preston.

On Crismas day [1837] we held a confrence in Preston to tend to bisness of the Church. Thare was about three Hundr[e]d members met together. Joseph and Orson and my Self we blest one hundred children and ordain ten preas and seven teachers and confurm forteen and did much other bisness and set things in order and we are baptising Evry day and the work of Lord in [is] Roling on in power.

After this O. Hide and myself went to Longton [p.22]and preached once, Each and baptise ten; the weather was vary cold we went to the Sea becaus fresh water was frozen; then [we] return[ed] back to Preston and preached to them on the Sabath and Joseph Fielden and Brother Clague adminesterd the Sackament. The next day Brother [?] and myself started for the north to Regulate the churches. Went to Ribchester and I preched once. The next [day] went to Wadenton [Waddington]36 thare we blest eight chidren and I preached once. We left that pase [place] and went to Chaidgley [Chaigley]37 and cold [called] the Church to geather and strengthen[ed] them and blest the children and [ap]pointed two teachers one for that pase and one for Banchleves [Bashall Eaves] and we had a gloris time wa[i]ting on the Lord. We brock up our meting two clock at night we had to leave Lancashire and cros the River Oder [Hodder] in to Yorkshere for the inhabitence of that plase ware so hard that we could no git anny plase to stay. I think I never felt beter in my life than crosing the River that night. I had to [wait] while on the ice to give glory to God for we felt as though all heaven was pleas with what we had don that night; we went to bed betwix three and fore in the morning at James Smith[i]es for he got up and let us in, the day we went to Ribchester this was Sartady night. On Sundy morning I preached half past ten. Two in the after noon the church met to gether. We adminesterd the Sackriment and blest twelve children and ordain fore teachers and one preast and baptise two and in the Evning preached once more and after meting we confurmed Seven by the laing on of hands and the Lord was with us and the Chruch Recieved much strenght.


[p.23]Mondy [22 January?] left and went to Preston and found brother Hide in the Evning. The preas and teachers came togeather and we instructed them in things of the kingdom. This is on the Morning of 24 January and from thence [we] went to Longton with Brother H[yde] and we preached once a peas and baptised ten. From thence Return to Preston and stade two or three days and then I went on a mishon to Egelston [Eccleston] and in others plases and viseted six branches and strengthen the churches. Gon about Eighteen days and baptise 15 and cones [counseled those] that was believing. The weather was so cold that they dare not gow in to the water. I have not preached onc[e] in a plase but what I have baptised and bilt up a church.

Return to Preston and stade two or three days and baptised on the Sabath. H. and my self administerd the sackrement and confurme 12 and preached and did much other busness. From that weent to Longton and baptise three and confurm thirty and blest about thirty children and ordain one preast and ordain one teacher and one deacon. The[n] Returnn to Preston and from thence went to Whitle38 preashed onc[e] and baptised five then Return back to Preston February 23 [1838].

This first Kimball diary abruptly ends here. Diary one contains two additional short entries, separated from the rest of the manuscript by several blank pages, recorded out of chronological sequence, and which really pertain to Diary two. One entry, dated 18 February 1840, records Kimball’s arrival in New York enroute back to England for his second mission; the second entry covers 9 [p.24]

March 1840 when Kimball and his companions actually sailed for England. They read: I /arrived/ in New York on the 18 of Febuary 1840 found 5 of my brethren. Stade thare till the 9 of March teaching in publick and in privet [private] going from hous to hous calling upon all to Repent and be Baptised for the Remission of sines [sins]. In the time the Brethren Raised money and aid [for] our passage to Liver Pol [Liverpool] and gave us sum change to put in pockets. And found us beding cloths to sleep on. And found us provision to Last us crost [across]. I will give the dementions of our food, Potatoes, Aples green, Dride Aples, Pruens dride, Plums dride, Hames, Pork, Beaf, Cod fish, Swet loaf Bread, dried Bakors Bread, Corn loaf Bread, Crackers, Wrice, Rasons, Suogar, Grees [grease], Buter, Peper, Mustard, Salt, Horsh Redish, Pickles, Pickle Cabbag, Preservs, Quince, Peack [peaches], Plum, Rasons.

We started on the 9 March at 12 oClock. Thare was Sixty or a hundred Saints we[n]t to the waters Age [edge] to bid us fare well which was a time of sorrow to us.39

From other sources we know that a church conference was held in Preston on 8 April 1838. [p.25]

Between 600 and 700 Mormons attended, representing twenty-six branches with a total membership of about 1,300.40 During this conference twenty converts were baptized, 100 children were blessed, and instruction given. Since Kimball, along with Orson Hyde and Isaac Russell, was preparing to leave England, Joseph Fielding was sustained to preside in their absence, with Willard Richards and William Clayton as counselors. On 9 April the three Elders left Preston for Liverpool, where they sailed for home on 20 April, again on the Garrick. They arrived in New York on 12 May and in Kirtland, Ohio, on 22 May, eleven months and nine days from the time Kimball left.

Although few Mormons were still residing in Kirtland, Kimball’s family was in good health and was happy to see him. Over half the original church membership had withdrawn or been excommunicated, and the remaining faithful were relocating in Missouri. The Kimballs left Ohio in July to rejoin the Saints in Far West, Missouri. They were there only three months before the first casualties were incurred in the struggle with older residents for political parity in the “1838 Mormon War.” Kimball sent his family to safety in Illinois in February 1839 and joined them in Quincy in May. They then moved to the new Mormon settlement of Nauvoo. Kimball was in Nauvoo only long enough to construct a log house for his family before embarking on a second mission to England, this time with Apostle Brigham Young. They left Nauvoo on 18 September 1840.


1. The dates in this first diary, often added or changed by different hands, cannot be trusted. I have omitted all material not in Kimball’s own hand. All paragraphing has been supplied as there is none in the original. Also in this first diary are seven drawings by Peter O. Hansen (ca. 1846-47), six of which are published in my Heber C. Kimball: Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981). Scattered throughout this record book are also many jottings by Hansen consisting of brief, candid comments about members of Kimball’s family recorded while crossing Iowa in 1846. They are written in English, but in nineteenth-century Danish penmanship, and are difficult to read. They are not presented in what follows.

2. Sidney Rigdon (1793-1876) was first counselor to Joseph Smith in the church’s governing First Presidency.

3. Orson Hyde (1805-78) had been a Mormon apostle since 1835.

4. Hyrum Smith (1800-55) was Joseph Smith’s older brother and second counselor in the First Presidency.

5. Willard Richards (1804-54) was a Mormon convert of six months who became an apostle in 1840.

6. Joseph Fielding (1797-1864), a native of Bedfordshire, England, immigrated to Canada in 1832. His brother James, a minister in Preston, England, had invited him to lecture on Mormonism in his chapel.

7. John Taylor (1808-87) was an emigrant from Westmorland County, England, who would become a Mormon apostle in 1838 and president of the LDS church in 1880.

8. They sailed on the Garrick, a large, fast, first class packet of the E. K. Collins line. For details of this ship and sailing, see my “First Mission to Britain,” The Improvement Era (Oct. 1961): 720-21, 744-46.

9. The borough of Preston, located on the Ribble River about thirty miles north of Liverpool, was a grimy, crowded manufacturing community of approximately 45,000 inhabitants and was already 650 years old when the missionaries first arrived. The location was appropriate for the introduction of a new faith: it had been a strong Protestant center since the days of Cromwell and was considered to be as tolerant of religious diversity as any place in England. It was also an important center of the temperance movement. Furthermore, as already noted, Joseph Fielding’s brother, a minister, had invited the Mormons and was expecting them. (I served as a Mormon missionary there in 1950.)

10. At the time, a general election to Parliament was in progress. Queen Victoria had ascended to the throne only three days earlier. Politicking of this kind was abundant.

11. James Fielding was a former Methodist, then Independent, minister of Vauxhall Chapel, Vauxhall Road, Preston.

12. Kimball inexplicably shifts from first person to third person at this point in this paragraph. For enhanced readability, the nouns “Elder Kimball,” “Brother Kimball,” “him,” “he,” “myself,” and “our” are replaced by first person pronouns in brackets throughout the remainder of this paragraph.

13. Thomas Walmsley and his wife, Elizabeth, were two of Kimball’s first converts in Preston.

14. This is Jennetta Richards, later wife of Willard Richards.

15. This is John Richards, an Independent minister.

16. Walker Fold is about fifteen miles northeast of Preston.

17. Kimball took his dreams seriously, recording and interpreting many of them.

18. This is most likely the suburb of Leigh, twenty miles south of Preston, where the Rev. Timothy Matthews, the brother-in-law of James Fielding, was a minister. It might, however, be another Bedford, one that was fifty miles northeast of London. In 1841, Kimball visited a branch there. The record is not clear in this matter.

19. I have been unable to locate this report.

20. Longridge is eight miles northeast of Preston.

21. This may be a reference to New Roe near Church Town in Greater Southport.

22. Barshall Eaves was one of only two places Kimball preached outside of Lancashire during this first mission. It is thirteen miles northeast of Preston. The other place was Waddington.

23. Ribchester is eight miles northeast of Preston.

24. The Ribble River flows through Preston.

25. Kimball married Mary (1837-80), the daughter of James and Nancy Smithies in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1857. She was his forty-third and last wife.

26. Joseph Fielding held the priesthood office of priest in the Mormon church.

27. These three oaths date from the period 1534-1702 and refer to anti-Catholic acts in England that resulted from the English Reformation under Henry VII. In taking them, Kimball swore he would in no way advance Catholicism, that he acknowledged Queen Victoria as head of the Church of England, and that he denied the power of the Catholic pope in England.

28. Euxton is seven miles south of Preston.

29. Kimball baptized about thirty members of the large Moon family. He later married Dorothy (1804-70?) and Hannah Moon (1802-77) in 1856. Several members of this family were part of the first LDS emigrant company from England. This company of forty-one led by John Moon left Liverpool on 6 June 1840 on the Britannia and arrived in New York on 19 July. See my “The First Immigrants to Nauvoo,” The Improvement Era (March 1963): 178-80, 209-10.

30. This is probably Wrightington, thirteen miles south of Preston.

31. Eccleston is seven miles south of Preston.

32. Heskin is ten miles south of Preston.

33. Chorley is eight miles south of Preston.

34. Leyland is five miles south of Preston.

35. The Benson family belonged to a church that was exempt or independent from the jurisdiction of the Church of England, hence the more common sobriquet “peculiar.”

36. Waddington is sixteen miles northeast of Preston.

37. Chaigley is twelve miles northeast of Preston.

38. Whittle-le-Woods is seven miles southeast of Preston.

39. These two entries are followed by several blank pages. The rest of this record book consists of a “Day Book continued by Peter after his father Heber’s order,” an excellent and detailed account of the trek west from Garden Grove, Iowa, beginning 12 May 1846 through 23 February 1847 to Winter Quarters, Nebraska. Peter Olsen Hansen was one of Kimball’s adopted sons. Since Kimball evidently chose to use a new book to record his second mission to England in 1840, Hansen simply wrote in the unused portion of Kimball’s first diary rather than purchase a new book. Diary two, part one, begins two years and eleven months after the conclusion of diary one.

40. There were 1,517 baptisms for the period 1837-39. Kimball has traditionally been credited with 1,500 of them, but this is too generous.