Those in supporting roles helped build kingdom of God

During the early, formative years of the restored gospel, at least 133 members of the Church were given a permanent place in Church history by being mentioned in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Other members carved out a place in Church history for themselves through their writings, some of which was set to music and preserved for posterity through Church hymnbooks.Still other early members lived and died as faithful Latter-day Saints, receiving little recognition for their sacrifices and contributions.

Following are vignettes of three persons, representative of early members of the Church, who helped build up of the Kingdom of God:

William Clayton spent the majority of his life in supporting roles, although he is well-known in the Church as the author of "Come, Come, Ye Saints."

According to Andrew Jenson's LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Clayton was one of the first to embrace the gospel when missionaries arrived in England in 1837. He was ordained to the priesthood soon after his baptism, and was sent out as a missionary. In March 1838, he was appointed second counselor in the British Mission presidency.

"In October 1838," wrote Jenson, "he quitted his temporal business to give himself wholly to the ministry, and he soon commenced preaching and baptizing in Manchester. Eighteen months later (April 15, 1840), he reported 240 members in the branch he had built up in that city."

Clayton immigrated to America and arrived in Nauvoo in December 1840. In the foreword in his journal is written: "In this city, he became a trusted friend of the founders of the Church, so much so that on Feb. 10, 1842, he was appointed secretary to Joseph Smith the Prophet." Clayton was also subsequently appointed clerk and recorder of the Nauvoo Temple, and was elected treasurer of the city of Nauvoo.

"He was present when Joseph Smith received the revelation on celestial marriage, and was an intimate associate and tried and trusted friend of the Prophet, to whom he continued to act as private secretary up to the time of the latter's martyrdom," Jenson recorded.

Clayton remained faithful after the prophet's death, and in 1846 headed west with the camp of Brigham Young. Clayton was the clerk of the camp and was one of the first pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.

He was not overly impressed with the Church's new home, but in his journal he recorded: "When I commune with my own heart and ask myself whether I would choose to dwell here in this wild looking country amongst the Saints surrounded by friends, though poor, enjoying the privileges and blessings of the everlasting priesthood, with God for our King and Father; or dwell amongst the gentiles . . . to be eternally mobbed, harassed, hunted . . . , the soft whisper echoes loud and reverberates back in tones of stern determination; give me the quiet wilderness and my family. . . ."

Hannah Last Cornaby's baptism in February 1852 near Great Yarmouth, England, was not a quiet, reverent event. It was one fraught with trauma and danger.

She and her husband, who had been baptized earlier, prepared for her baptism at a home near the sea. "We found the house surrounded by a mob, through which we with difficulty made our way; amid oaths and threats of what would be done if any attempt were made to go into the water," Sister Cornaby wrote in her Autobiography and Poems.

"We waited until near midnight, hoping the crowd would disperse; but it had all this time been increasing, until it numbered many hundreds, and we feared violence, not only to ourselves, but to the family, under whose roof we were waiting."

Sister Cornaby and her husband, who was to perform the ordinance, tried to sneak to the sea - but to no avail. "Before we reached the water's edge, the whole horde was upon us; and my husband baptized me amid a shower of stones, and shouts. . . . We then made our way back, as best we could, followed by the mob; and, although the stones whizzed around us thick as hail, not one touched us, and we reached home in safety, thanking God for our miraculous deliverance; determined, more than ever, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to adhere. . .to the principles we had embraced."

And embrace the gospel the 30-year-old woman and her husband did. Early in 1853, they sailed to America and crossed the plains to Salt Lake City.

Subsequent years brought joys and hardships for the English convert, including the deaths of children and a nearly six-year illness, during which she wrote the words to the LDS hymn "Who's on the Lord's Side?" She never lost her faith.

Toward the end of her autobiography, she wrote: "In conclusion, I would say it is now twenty-nine years since in my native land, I heard and obeyed the Gospel as restored by an angel to Joseph Smith, the prophet of this dispensation, and gathered to this land that I might hear a living prophet make known the will of God to His people. And have I been disappointed? No, a thousand times, no. Though Joseph was slain, and Brigham Young, his successor, has gone behind the veil, a living prophet still leads and guides the Latter-day Saints."

In April 1844, Curtis Edwin Bolton visited Nauvoo from Little Falls, N.J. A convert to the Church since September 1842, he was preparing for his family to gather with the saints. During the visit, he was ordained a high priest by Hyrum Smith.

He recorded in his journal the following: "A few minutes after my ordination I went on board the steamboat Maid of Iowa on my return home. The last I saw of Joseph Smith in whose house I lived all the time I was in Nauvoo, . . . he was standing with his youngest boy in his arms at the brow of the hill on the west side of the Nauvoo House in the middle of the street. No one was near him. He was the most beautifully formed man, and was laughing pleasantly to the brethren on board the steamboat, who were leaving to go a preaching. I never in this life shall look upon his like again."

Throughout his life, Bolton maintained his devotion to the memory of the Prophet and to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He moved his family to Nauvoo in May 1845, and worked on the temple as a carpenter.

Later, he became a writer for the temple timekeeper and worked for awhile as a temple clerk. He soon was called by Willard Richards, Church clerk and historian, to write Church history, which Bolton did for several months. He even took the minutes for the October 1845 conference of the Church.

Bolton and his family went with the saints to the Salt Lake Valley, reaching there in October 1848, but he wasn't there for long. He was called to serve a mission in France a year later.

He and others, including Elder John Taylor of the Council of the Twelve, reached France in June 1850. Bolton suffered pain, hunger - and great challenges and joy. When he later became president of the French Mission, he wrote: "Oh God protect me, be thou with me, or take me to thy self, for without thee I am nothing, and can do nothing right. Oh God grant wisdom, thy greatest gift, unto thy servant."

During his mission, he completed an arduous task - translating the Book of Mormon into French, a language in which he was fluent. The last page went into type in January 1852. Before that, he exclaimed in his journal his feelings of the work of translation: "What a glorious era in my eventful life. I am full of prayer, praise and thanksgiving to my God, for his grace and mercy in having allowed me the honor of this great work. Oh praise him O my soul."

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