53991747

Letter from Joseph Bosworth, 17 February 1834

My Dear Breathren in Christ, at Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

More Info
The Visions which I have had from God for some month past Stand Conspicuous before my mind without which Every thing from my youth to this Day would Vanish out of my Sight or to nothing Compared to the two Visions most remarkable which I had Last night Surpassing all thing heretofore Known by me—
May I first then give thanks to God through Jesus christ to whom be glory power honor and Dignity for ever
you Know Breathren how Difficult it is to communicate the things which God Gives us by writeing1

Bosworth may have here been referencing JS and Rigdon’s own statement about what they saw in their 16 February 1832 vision: “Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Vision, 16 Feb. 1832, in “A Vision,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [3] [D&C 76:116].)  


I Shall therefor not attempt nor expect to give you but a verry Slight Sketch of the out Lines of my revalations or Visions
on the 16th Feb 10 Oclock in the Evening 1834 commenced the things a part of which I write to you
first Vision
I Saw a Strange appearance in the Sky in the East Next a boddy of Light raiseing up in the Same place. while this Lumenary was raising which was not brighter then the Sun— I Saw another most grand fountain of Light more magestick then any thing that Eever I Saw of Great magnitude and the Light that flowed from it is indecrible indescribable So bright that it would Shine bright on the Sun or as much brighter— then the Sun as the Sun is brighter then the moon this greater then all Light,— was far in the South So Low Down that it appered to be allmost Levil with the Surface of the Earth but not on the Earth tho it give its Light to the Earth which Light was not a flaming Light Like the Sun but the most pure Light to Look upon with great pleasure, the purity of this Light, I can not tell you any thing about neather can I tell you any thing of its great Splender I Looked at this great Sight in the South with great Earnestness. as I Supposed it would Soon Disappear and the other one in the East I could See after this had Disappeared if I Should Sit here and write respecting this most beautifull appearing Lumenary three Days I Should not be able to give you any Idea of the Exelence of its glorious appearance when or whether at all these Lights Disapeared in my Vision I am not able to tell as my Eyes were [p. [1]]
My Dear Breathren in Christ, at Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

More Info
The Visions which I have had from God for some  month past Stand Conspicuous before <my> mind with<out> which  Every thing from my youth to this Day would  Vanish out of my Sight or to nothing Compared to  the two Visions most remarkable which I had Last  night Surpassing all thing heretofore Known by  me—
May I first then give thanks to God through Jesus christ  to whom be glory power honor and Dignity for ever
you Know Breathren how Difficult it is to com municate the things which God Gives us by writeing1

Bosworth may have here been referencing JS and Rigdon’s own statement about what they saw in their 16 February 1832 vision: “Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Vision, 16 Feb. 1832, in “A Vision,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [3] [D&C 76:116].)  


I  Shall therefor not attempt nor expect to give you  but a verry Slight Sketch of the out Lines of my  revalations or Visions
on the 16th Feb 10 Oclock in the Evening 1834  commenced the things a part of which I write to you
first Vision
I Saw a Strange appearance in the Sky in the East  Next a boddy of Light raiseing up in the Same  place. while this Lumenary was raising which was not  brighter then the Sun— I Saw another most grand  fountain of Light more magestick then any thing thing  that Eever <I> Saw of Great magnitude and the Light  that flowed from <it> is indecrible [indescribable] So bright that it  would Shine bright on the Sun or as much br[i]ght er— then the Sun thn <as> the Sun is brighter then the moon  this greater then all Light,— was far in the South  So Low Down that it appered to be allmost Levil  with the Surface of the Earth but not on the Earth  tho it give its Light to the Earth which Light was not  a flaming Light Like the Sun but the most pure  Light to Look upon with great pleasure, the purity  of this Light, I can not tell you any thing about  neather can I tell you any thing of its great Splender  I Looked at this great Sight in the South <with> great Earnest ness. as I Supposed it would Soon Disappear and the other  one in the East I h <I could See> after this had Disappeared  if I Should Sit here and write respecting this most beautifull  appearing Lumenary three Days I Should not be able  to <give> you any Idea of the Exelence of its glorious appearan[c]e  when or whether at all these Lights Disapeared in my  Vision I am not able to tell as my Eyes were [p. [1]]
Next
In this letter, Joseph Bosworth

6 Mar. 1790–16 July 1850. Farmer. Born at Scituate, Providence Co., Rhode Island. Son of Benajah Bosworth. Moved to Burlington, Otsego Co., New York, by 1800. Married Lucina Hopkins, 17 May 1815. Moved to Copley, Medina Co., Ohio, by 1818. Baptized into LDS...

View Full Bio
recounted two visions he experienced the night of 16 February 1834, one week after meeting with JS and others at a conference in New Portage

Settled by 1815. Population severely diminished by epidemic, possibly typhus, in late 1820s. Mormon missionaries visited and preached at many meetings in town, by 1831. Large branch of LDS church organized, early 1830s. JS attended several church conferences...

More Info
, Medina County, Ohio.1 As the letter indicated, Bosworth was a former associate of Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

View Full Bio
and Walter Scott

31 Oct. 1796–23 Apr. 1861. Teacher, minister/preacher, editor/publisher, author. Born in Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. Son of John Scott and Mary Innes. Raised Calvinist. Studied music at University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. Immigrated to U.S., ca. 1818...

View Full Bio
, two men who before joining the Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
had been associated with Alexander Campbell

12 Sept. 1788–4 Mar. 1866. Teacher, minister, magazine publisher, college president. Born near Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Ireland. Son of Thomas Campbell and Jane Corneigle. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland, 1808. Immigrated to Buffalo ...

View Full Bio
’s religious movement. Bosworth’s association with Rigdon and Scott suggests that he too had been involved with Campbell and the Disciples of Christ. Bosworth’s belief in the reality of visions—as opposed to Campbell’s disregard for such experiences in modern times2

Alexander Campbell, “A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things, No. I,” Christian Baptist, 7 Feb. 1825, 50; Alexander Campbell, “The Creed Question,” Christian Baptist, 2 Apr. 1827, 197.  


—may have influenced his decision to join the Church of Christ. Bosworth’s probable familiarity with at least some of JS’s visionary experiences—including his and Rigdon’s “Vision” of 16 February 1832, published in the July 1832 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star3

Vision, 16 Feb. 1832, in “A Vision,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [2]–[3] [D&C 76].  


—may have contributed to his desire to share his own visions with church leaders in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

More Info
, Ohio. No response to Bosworth’s letter has been located.

Facts