Letter from William W. Phelps, 24 August 1834

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 191
, Mo. Aug. 24, 1834
Dear Brethren:—
Because I feel a great interest in the cause of our Redeemer, I take a little more time and paper than usual, and write. You are, in general, so well informed of all that is going on in this region of the Lord’s vineyard, that I cannot give any news. When I say all that is going on, I mean between us and the mob, for there are many other things, I presume, that you and the Saints abroad are ignorant of for months.
From petitions sent to Congres by the inhabitants of and other counties, a bill was got up in the house of Representatives, to annex all the land between this county and the , to this , together with a considerable quantity on the north, but it has all fell through, and I have understood that the Wyandots have selected that on the west, for their spot of gathering. A party of Pottowottomies passed through , not long since, on their way to the Kickapoos, whom they will join for the sake of their religion. Their prophet preached in just before the brethren came up last June, on the subject of their religion, and if he had had a true interpreter, would have given great light.
We have had several High Councils for the benefit of the scattered brethren; at one, the following letter was issued to four brethren, viz: , , , and .
To the Latter Day Saints who have been driven from the land of their inheritance, and also those who are gathering in the regions round about, in the western bounderies of ,—the , established according to the pattern given by our blessed Savior Jesus Christ, send greeting:
Dear Brethren, We have appointed our beloved brother and companion in tribulation, , to meat you in the name of the Lord Jesus. He, in connexion with others duly appointed also, will visit you alternately, for the purpose of instructing you in the necessary qualifications of the Latter Day Saints; that they may be perfected, that the officers and members of the body of Christ, may become very prayerful and very faithful, strictly keeping all the commandments, and walking in holiness before the Lord, continually. That all that mean to have “the Destroyer pass over them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them,” may live according to the “word of wisdom;” that the Saints by industry, diligence, faithfulness, and the prayer of faith, may become purified, and enter upon their inheritance, to build up according to the word of the Lord.
We are sure, If the Saints are very humble, very watchful and very prayful, that few will be deceived by those who have not authority to teach, or who have not the Spirit to teach according to the power of the Holy Ghost, in the scriptures. Lest any man’s blood should be required at your hands, we beseech you, as you value the salvation of souls, and are within, to set an example which is worthy to be followed by those without the k[i]ngdom of our God and his Christ, that peace by grace, and blessings by rightousness, may attend you till you are sanctified and redeemed.”
(Signed) “. Aug. 1, 1834.”
Since this document was issued, meetings have been held alternately at twelve different places, to the joy of the scattered brethren, and so far as I learn to the satisfaction of those who are “without” the kingdom. And they will be continued. It is very sickly now. There has been no rain of note since the first of July; every thing looks sorry for the want of it; and, what is here called “the chill fever” is attacking hundreds. * * * * * * * * , a worthy elder died on Saturday. There is a great deal to humble the Saints and make them possess their souls in patience. The great drought is an index of famine, and so much sickness denotes chastisment, and the Saints have only to say: “Though he slay us, yet will we trust in him.”
* * * * * * * * * *
We are looked upon as slaves, and in many instances, treated so. In fact, we are treated just as the Saints of God ever have been: despised, belied, slandered, whipped, mocked, buffeted, reproached, and considered, by other professors among the sects, as “the jest and riddle of the world,” to be laughed at, and “rendered any thing by every body:” and so be it, for Christ’s sake. The truth is in common meter, (as I have thought in poetry,) as follows:—
There is a land the Lord will bless,
Where all the Saints shall come;
There is a day for righteousness
When Israel gathers home.
 
Before the word goes forth—Destroy!
And all the wicked burn,
With songs of everlasting joy,
The pure-in-heart return.
 
Their fields beyond ’s flood,
Are in perspective seen,
As unto Israel “Canaan stood
While Jordan flow’d between.”
 
Though wicked men and Satan strive,
To keep us from that land,
And from their homes the Saints they drive
To try the Lord’s command:—
 
There all the springs of God will be;
And there an end of strife;
And there the righteous rising free
Shall have eternal life.
 
There shall the will of God be done,
And Saints and Angels greet;
And there, when all in Christ is one,
The best from worlds shall meet.
 
There, in the resurrection morn’,
The living live again,
And all their children will be born
Without the sting of sin.
 
How long our Father, O how long
Shall that pure time delay?
Come on, come on, ye holy throng,
And bring the glorious day.
As ever, .
To . [p. 191]
, Mo. Aug. 24, 1834
Dear Brethren:—
Because I feel a great interest in the cause of our Redeemer, I take a little more time and paper than usual, and write. You are, in general, so well informed of all that is going on in this region of the Lord’s vineyard, that I cannot give any news. When I say all that is going on, I mean between us and the mob, for there are many other things, I presume, that you and the Saints abroad are ignorant of for months.
From petitions sent to Congres by the inhabitants of and other counties, a bill was got up in the house of Representatives, to annex all the land between this county and the , to this , together with a considerable quantity on the north, but it has all fell through, and I have understood that the Wyandots have selected that on the west, for their spot of gathering. A party of Pottowottomies passed through , not long since, on their way to the Kickapoos, whom they will join for the sake of their religion. Their prophet preached in just before the brethren came up last June, on the subject of their religion, and if he had had a true interpreter, would have given great light.
We have had several High Councils for the benefit of the scattered brethren; at one, the following letter was issued to four brethren, viz: , , , and .
To the Latter Day Saints who have been driven from the land of their inheritance, and also those who are gathering in the regions round about, in the western bounderies of ,—the , established according to the pattern given by our blessed Savior Jesus Christ, send greeting:
Dear Brethren, We have appointed our beloved brother and companion in tribulation, , to meat you in the name of the Lord Jesus. He, in connexion with others duly appointed also, will visit you alternately, for the purpose of instructing you in the necessary qualifications of the Latter Day Saints; that they may be perfected, that the officers and members of the body of Christ, may become very prayerful and very faithful, strictly keeping all the commandments, and walking in holiness before the Lord, continually. That all that mean to have “the Destroyer pass over them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them,” may live according to the “word of wisdom;” that the Saints by industry, diligence, faithfulness, and the prayer of faith, may become purified, and enter upon their inheritance, to build up according to the word of the Lord.
We are sure, If the Saints are very humble, very watchful and very prayful, that few will be deceived by those who have not authority to teach, or who have not the Spirit to teach according to the power of the Holy Ghost, in the scriptures. Lest any man’s blood should be required at your hands, we beseech you, as you value the salvation of souls, and are within, to set an example which is worthy to be followed by those without the kingdom of our God and his Christ, that peace by grace, and blessings by rightousness, may attend you till you are sanctified and redeemed.”
(Signed) “. Aug. 1, 1834.”
Since this document was issued, meetings have been held alternately at twelve different places, to the joy of the scattered brethren, and so far as I learn to the satisfaction of those who are “without” the kingdom. And they will be continued. It is very sickly now. There has been no rain of note since the first of July; every thing looks sorry for the want of it; and, what is here called “the chill fever” is attacking hundreds. * * * * * * * * , a worthy elder died on Saturday. There is a great deal to humble the Saints and make them possess their souls in patience. The great drought is an index of famine, and so much sickness denotes chastisment, and the Saints have only to say: “Though he slay us, yet will we trust in him.”
* * * * * * * * * *
We are looked upon as slaves, and in many instances, treated so. In fact, we are treated just as the Saints of God ever have been: despised, belied, slandered, whipped, mocked, buffeted, reproached, and considered, by other professors among the sects, as “the jest and riddle of the world,” to be laughed at, and “rendered any thing by every body:” and so be it, for Christ’s sake. The truth is in common meter, (as I have thought in poetry,) as follows:—
There is a land the Lord will bless,
Where all the Saints shall come;
There is a day for righteousness
When Israel gathers home.
 
Before the word goes forth—Destroy!
And all the wicked burn,
With songs of everlasting joy,
The pure-in-heart return.
 
Their fields beyond ’s flood,
Are in perspective seen,
As unto Israel “Canaan stood
While Jordan flow’d between.”
 
Though wicked men and Satan strive,
To keep us from that land,
And from their homes the Saints they drive
To try the Lord’s command:—
 
There all the springs of God will be;
And there an end of strife;
And there the righteous rising free
Shall have eternal life.
 
There shall the will of God be done,
And Saints and Angels greet;
And there, when all in Christ is one,
The best from worlds shall meet.
 
There, in the resurrection morn’,
The living live again,
And all their children will be born
Without the sting of sin.
 
How long our Father, O how long
Shall that pure time delay?
Come on, come on, ye holy throng,
And bring the glorious day.
As ever, .
To . [p. 191]
Page 191