Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Robert Edge by Elder Belnap Part 7

[Below is the continuation of an article written by Hyrum Belap about Robert Edge. Hyrum was responsible for telling the most detailed stories about this mysterious preacher. He wrote years after the fact and for the purpose of telling it to an audience. Like most stories, his tale was more detailed than the earlier versions]

This little band of Mr. Edge’s followers, according to his instructions met together often, talked to each other and sang praises to God. They frequently referred to the sayings of Mr. Edge in which he told them if they remained faithful and followed the dictations of the good spirit that other preachers would visit them and lead their footsteps to the main body of the church.

During the winter of 1880 there appeared in the New York Sun an interview with President John Taylor by O. J. Hollister, in which the officers of the church were named and many of its doctrines spoken of. This was the first thing to attract the attention of the followers of Mr. Edge toward the Latter Day Saints, and being desirous to learn more about this peculiar people they addressed a letter of inquiry to the county clerk of Salt Lake County. D. Beckholt, being clerk at that time, at once sent them the “Voice of Warning” and several copies of the Deseret News with the advice to address Pres. John Morgan at Rome, Georgia.

After reading the Voice of Warning and being favorably impressed with the doctrines contained therein, they addressed a letter to Pres. Morgan informing him that one of our preachers visited them a few years previous and laid his hands upon their heads for the reception of the Holy Ghost, but did not baptize them. Therefore they were very desirous of having an elder sent there to perform this ordinance.

Pres. Morgan at once forwarded the letter to Pres. Franklin Spencer at Shady Grove, Hickman County, Tennessee, who was then presiding over the Tennessee Conference, at the same time writing to these people in Henderson County, informing them that there was a branch of the Church on Cane Creek, Lewis County, Tennessee. On receiving this information, four of them mounted their horses and rode about sixty miles before they reached Cane Creek, but finding no elders there, they returned.

At this time this epistle came from Pres. Morgan there were laboring in the conference, Pres. Franklin Spencer, George H. Carver, Lorenzo Hunsaker and myself. Brother Carver and I were selected to visit West Tennessee. This left Pres. Spencer and Bro. Hunsaker each to travel alone. However, before starting, Pres. Spencer and I visited Cane Creek at the same time sending a letter to West Tennessee.
On arriving at Cane Creek we found this little branch somewhat exercised over the visit of these four gentlemen.

About the time our West Tennessee friends arrived home they received Pres. Spencer’s letter bringing the news that we would be at Cane Creek at a certain date. James H. Scott and Sireneous Reed wheeled their horses and came back.

They arrived at Cane Creek late in the afternoon. That evening and the following day was spent in conversing with these two gentlemen upon the principles of the gospel, who Mr. Edge was, how he taught the falling away and restoration of the gospel, the necessity of building temples, the name that one would receive who should remain faithful after passing thru the temples, etc.

Late in the afternoon of the same day these gentlemen, after having conversed together a short time, said: “What hindereth us from putting on the whole armor of God that we might withstand the fiery darts of the adversary?” Hence they were baptized and returned home rejoicing.

On the 13th day of May 1880, Brother George Carver and myself started on our trip to Henderson County, Tennessee. Not until we arrived within about thirty miles of Lexington, did we hear much about this peculiar preacher.

On the night of the 20th we staid with Squire Long, a very intelligent gentleman, who began telling us about that wonderful preacher, Robert Edge, who came into their midst some two years previous. As we knew nothing of Mr. Edge we sat and listened very attentively to his long story. He spoke about Mr. Edge pretending to be inspired of God, about his peculiar manner of going to and coming from meeting, of his being hunted down by mobs, of their fasting three days and more particularly about the lumbering noise he heard about the time Mr. Edge came among them.

On the evening of the 21st we arrived at Sireneous Reed’s. He received us kindly and sent out for a number of his brethren and you may be assured we had a good old time chat that evening.

To be continued...

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