During the summer of 1885 my mind was very much exercised about the manner of the redemption of Zion, which was caused by the manifestation of the Spirit, both in tongues and in prophecy, given at several different times through the summer and through several different persons and all agreeing that the redemption of Zion was very near at hand, and some saying of it as "even at the door."
I had been thinking of Z. H. Gurley and J. W. Briggs, and what they had done for the cause; and after all they had fallen, although they had occupied such high positions. This caused me to wonder how the weak ones of the Church could stand, if men who had received and borne such great testimony could be so shaken in their faith with regard to tithing, the doctrine of gathering and the redemption of Zion, as I knew that the Church had accepted these doctrines, as well as the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, in which they were taught. I had understood from reading section 63, paragraph 8, of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that the redemption of Zion would be by purchase.
These things caused me to doubt whether the before-mentioned gifts were of God or not, as it appeared to me to be an utter impossibility for the saints to purchase this land anywhere in the near future, because of the very high and rapidly advancing prices of all real estate in this region of country.
These things were a very great trial to my faith, because of the seeming impossibility for the land of Zion to be redeemed in a short time indicated through the gifts, without the intervention of the power of God. These thoughts caused me to exclaim, "Oh, Lord, why suffer Thy people to be tried so severely in this matter? Why not reveal unto Thy people that which will relieve them of this great trial and let them know how the redemption of Zion shall be," when I heard a voice (which I understood to be the voice of God) saying,
Then I saw
and very bright red ring, which inclosed Independence and a
portion of the surrounding country, the center of which seemed to be a
little southwest of where I was standing, on a high spot of ground. Then He
said, "Do you see that ring?"
I was given to understand that only such elders received this endowment as were chosen by the Holy Ghost at this time.
Then the vision opened to a very great distance, where I saw Peter judging Ananias and Sapphira by the Holy Ghost. Then looking back to near the center of the ring, I saw the judgment going on, yet at sufficient distance to prevent me from knowing anyone engaged in it. There were about ten or twelve men standing with their backs toward me, and about four or five feet to their right stood a man judging some person who was in front of them, yet hid from my sight by the other men.
Immediately there was a very great excitement around where the judgment was going on, which soon extended to all parts within the circle, all seeming to know that every one must immediately get out of the ring or come up and be judged by the Holy Ghost, which proved fatal to all whose consciences did not hold them guiltless; and I saw many hastening to get outside of the ring. Some ran, some walked and others went in wagons, one of whom I noticed more particularly. After he had driven over the ring he turned toward me, so that I could see the tears running down his cheeks, and I was enabled to hear what he was saying to himself. He said, "Now I have lost this great blessing because I have not lived up to my privilege." I was also given to understand that he could soon prepare himself by repentance and faithfulness to return and be able to abide the judgment, which he immediately sought to do. I also noticed another one, on foot, who did not care for, or know, what he had lost, but seemed to be glad he had escaped the judgment, and showed no signs of repentance. I understood that both of these were saints.
I looked back to where the judgment had been going on, but it had all vanished. Then I asked to know what degree of perfection would have to be attained to enable one to abide the judgment, and to have it manifested by pointing out some one that I knew. This He refused to do, but would tell me what kind of a character could abide the judgment and what kind of character would have to go out.
He said all those whose words had been just and true, all those in whose hearts there was no guile or deceit, can abide the judgment. He also told me that the following characters could not abide the judgment: All those that forgive with their lips, but not with their hearts; all those who have not spoken the true sentiments of their own hearts.
I had formerly believed that the land of Zion would comprise a great portion of America, which caused me to say, "If this is all the land of Zion, it is a failure, as I understand it."
Then He said,
I was given to understand that the time had now come that the gospel should go forth from this place to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, with signs following; and it should go forth by those who received this endowment and that they had power given them to smite the earth with all the plagues as often as they would--such as lightning, plagues, earthquakes, etc.
After I saw the foregoing vision I was very much exercised in my mind over it, as it was so different from anything I had ever thought of. I commenced reading and studying the Book of Doctrine and Covenants to see if it would corroborate any such idea, and immediately after I had finished it, which took about six months, I dreamed that I was telling the vision to some person, and told it all right until I came down to where I saw the judgment going on, and I said he laid death at the door of every house. Then I heard the same voice that I heard in the vision saying to me in an emphasized tone,
I awoke immediately after this. I never told the vision until I received the above dream. (Autumn Leaves, December, 1890 and Infallible Proofs, pages 84-89.)
In 1831 the Spirit said men would fail to build His kingdom.
& C. 108:12d