30492

Letter to Church Leaders in Geneseo, New York, 23 November 1833

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...

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, November 23, 1833.
An epistle from a counsel

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

View Glossary
of high priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests. The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church. However, the Book of Mormon also discussed...

View Glossary
of 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
,1

No minutes of this council are extant. Though this letter identifies JS and Oliver Cowdery as, respectively, the moderator and clerk of this council, who else composed this council is unknown.  


organized on the 6th of April, A.D. 1830, to their brethren of the same church, residing at Geneseo

Agricultural area twenty-five miles west of Canandaigua. Incorporated as village, 1832. Population in 1840 about 900. While recruiting for Camp of Israel, JS and Sidney Rigdon preached to large congregation at conference in village, 16 Mar. 1834. Geneseo ...

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, Livingston County, New York:
Dearly beloved brethren,
It is with feelings of deep interest for your welfare, that we address ourselves to you by this Epistle, which we send by the hands of our worthy brethren, Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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, and Lyman Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

View Full Bio
,2

Pratt and Johnson left Kirtland on 27 November 1833 after a council of high priests assigned them to travel east and “visit the churches.” (Pratt, Diary, 27 Nov. 1833.)  


both personly known to us, whom we recommend to your fellowship, as men of good morals and of firm and unshaken integrity in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, to which ministry they have been called and regularly ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

View Glossary
by the hands of this church, and set apart to this office after having been received into the same by baptism

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

View Glossary
according to the Articles and Covenants thereof.3 It is just for us, for your sakes, to say, that our brother Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

View Full Bio
, was one of those who first embraced this gospel, and was soon set apart to the work of the ministry, and during an excessive labor of three years has conducted himself with that propriety, and has made such advances in the knowledge of the doctrine of the Kingdom of Christ, that we recommend him in full confidence as a man cabable of setting in order the ordinances

A religious rite. JS taught that ordinances were covenants between man and God, in which believers could affirm faith, gain spiritual knowledge, and seek blessings. Some ordinances were considered requisite for salvation. The manner in which ordinances were...

View Glossary
and requisitions of the same.5

See Revelation, 4 Nov. 1830 [D&C 34].  


Our brother Lyman Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

View Full Bio
has labored in the ministry more than two years, during which he has showed himself worthy of the high responsibility, and is justly entitled to the confidence of all the saints with whom he has labored, and is fully qualified to assist our brother Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

View Full Bio
in setting in order all matters of difficulty that may be among you.
Dear brethren, we have learned with painful feelings, that divisions and strifes in a degree have made their appearance among you, which evidently is the work of the adversary of our souls, to disaffect your minds toward the truth, and grieve the Holy Spirit6

See Ephesians 4:30.  


that it withdraws, and leaves you in darkness, to be led captive down to destruction: and with great anxiety of heart we have called upon our heavenly Father in the name of Jesus for you.*7

This asterisk directed the letter’s recipients to a lengthy addendum that follows the signatures in this letter. In the addendum, JS describes the disaffection of church members in Geneseo. The first half of this letter, from the beginning to this point, was copied into JS Letterbook 1, pp. 76–77.  


We need not prove to you by argument, brethren, that where there are contentions, and unbelief in the sacred things communicated [p. [1]]
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...

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, November 23, 1833.
An epistle from a counsel

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

View Glossary
of high priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests. The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church. However, the Book of Mormon also discussed...

View Glossary
of 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
,1

No minutes of this council are extant. Though this letter identifies JS and Oliver Cowdery as, respectively, the moderator and clerk of this council, who else composed this council is unknown.  


organized on the 6th of April, A.D. 1830, to their  brethren of the same church, residing at Geneseo

Agricultural area twenty-five miles west of Canandaigua. Incorporated as village, 1832. Population in 1840 about 900. While recruiting for Camp of Israel, JS and Sidney Rigdon preached to large congregation at conference in village, 16 Mar. 1834. Geneseo ...

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, Living ston County, New York:
Dearly beloved brethren,
It is with deep feelings of  <deep> interest for your welfare, that we address ourselves  to you by this Epistle, which we send by the hands  of our worthy brethren, Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

View Full Bio
, and Lyman  Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

View Full Bio
,2

Pratt and Johnson left Kirtland on 27 November 1833 after a council of high priests assigned them to travel east and “visit the churches.” (Pratt, Diary, 27 Nov. 1833.)  


both personly known to us, whom we rec ommend to your fellowship, as men of good  morals and of firm and unshaken integrity in  the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, to which min istry they have been called and regularly ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

View Glossary
 by the hands of this church, and set apart to this  office after having been received into the same  by baptism

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

View Glossary
according to the Articles and Cove nants thereof.3 It is just for us, for your sakes, to say,  that our brother Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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, was one of those who  first embraced this gospel, and was soon set apart  to the work of the ministry, and during an excessive  labor of three <years> has conducted himself with that p[ro ]priety,4

TEXT: “p[page torn]priety”.  


and has made such advances in the knowl edge of the doctrine of the Kingdom of Christ, that  we recommend him in full confidence as a man  cabable of setting in order the ordinances

A religious rite. JS taught that ordinances were covenants between man and God, in which believers could affirm faith, gain spiritual knowledge, and seek blessings. Some ordinances were considered requisite for salvation. The manner in which ordinances were...

View Glossary
and requi sitions of the same.5

See Revelation, 4 Nov. 1830 [D&C 34].  


Our brother Lyman Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

View Full Bio
has la bored in the ministry more than two years, during which  he has showed himself worthy of the high responsibility,  and is justly entitled to the confidence of all the  saints with whom he has labored, and is fully qual ified to assist our brother Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

View Full Bio
in setting  in order all matters of difficulty that may be  among you.
Dear brethren, we have learned with painful feelings,  that divisions and strifes in a degree have made their  appearance among you, which evidently is the work of  the adversary of our souls, to disaffect your minds  toward the truth, that <and grieve> the Holy Spirit6

See Ephesians 4:30.  


<that it> withdraws, and  leaves you in darkness, to be led captive down to de struction: and with great anxiety of heart we have called  upon our heavenly Father in the name of Jesus for you.*7

This asterisk directed the letter’s recipients to a lengthy addendum that follows the signatures in this letter. In the addendum, JS describes the disaffection of church members in Geneseo. The first half of this letter, from the beginning to this point, was copied into JS Letterbook 1, pp. 76–77.  


 We need not prove to you by argument, brethren, that where there  <are> contentions, and unbelief in the sacred things communic[ated]8

TEXT: “communic[page torn]”.  


[p. [1]]
Next
Geneseo

Agricultural area twenty-five miles west of Canandaigua. Incorporated as village, 1832. Population in 1840 about 900. While recruiting for Camp of Israel, JS and Sidney Rigdon preached to large congregation at conference in village, 16 Mar. 1834. Geneseo ...

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, Livingston County, New York, was the home of a small congregation of 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
in the early 1830s. By fall 1832, Joseph Smith Sr.

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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, Samuel Smith

13 Mar. 1808–30 July 1844. Farmer, logger, scribe, builder, tavern operator. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, by Mar. 1810; to Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, 1811...

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, Brigham

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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and Joseph Young

7 Apr. 1797–16 July 1881. Farmer, painter, glazier. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Moved to Auburn, Cayuga Co., New York, before 1830. Joined Methodist church, before Apr. 1832. Baptized into LDS...

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, and Heber C. Kimball

14 June 1801–22 June 1868. Blacksmith, potter. Born at Sheldon, Franklin Co., Vermont. Son of Solomon Farnham Kimball and Anna Spaulding. Married Vilate Murray, 22 Nov. 1822, at Mendon, Monroe Co., New York. Member of Baptist church at Mendon, 1831. Baptized...

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had all preached in the county, and the latter three helped found the congregation in Geneseo.1

Noble and Noble, Reminiscences, [3]–[4], [17]–[18].  


Kimball remembered that during that fall, “I was ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

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an Elder

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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by Joseph Young and in company with himself and his brother Brigham I labored in Genesee, Avon

Area settled, 1785. Formed as Hartford, Jan. 1789; name changed to Avon, 1808. Located in west-central New York on Genesee River, eighteen miles southwest of Rochester. Included village of Avon. Population in 1835 about 2,800. Population in 1840 about 3,000...

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and Lyonstown, where we baptized many and built up churches.” Ezra Landon

5 July 1790–11 Jan. 1869. Farmer. Born in New York. Son of Laban Landon and Betsy Gilless. Married Ruby Chapin, before 1821. Moved to Berkshire, Broome Co. (later in Tioga Co.), New York, by 1820. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Troy, Bradford Co., Pennsylvania...

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, who had recently been baptized into the Church of Christ—likely by Kimball or one of the Young brothers—also preached in Avon and Geneseo that fall and brought “eighteen or twenty” persons into the congregation. Kimball reminisced that, on at least one occasion, “the Holy Ghost

A right or privilege bestowed through the confirmation ordinance. Individuals were confirmed members of the church and received the gift of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands. The Book of Mormon explained that remission of sins requires not only...

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fell upon” the Geneseo church members.2

Kimball, “History,” 9.  


After the Youngs and Kimball departed from the region, Landon became the presiding officer over the Geneseo congregation.
On 23 March 1833, Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

View Full Bio
and Lyman Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

View Full Bio
, who had spent most of 1832 proselytizing in the East, received another “commandment

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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, through the prophet” to preach and visit the churches in the eastern United States

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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. They left 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...

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, Ohio, on 26 March to fulfill their mission.3

“History of Orson Pratt,” 16, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL; Minutes, 23 Mar. 1833–B; see also Revelation, 25 Jan. 1832–A [D&C 75:14]. Pratt and Johnson left Kirtland on 3 February 1832 and traveled to and preached in Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut for over a year. (“History of Orson Pratt,” 12–16, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1856–1858, 1861, CHL.)  


Sometime before 1 May 1833, they arrived in Geneseo

Agricultural area twenty-five miles west of Canandaigua. Incorporated as village, 1832. Population in 1840 about 900. While recruiting for Camp of Israel, JS and Sidney Rigdon preached to large congregation at conference in village, 16 Mar. 1834. Geneseo ...

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and discovered that Landon

5 July 1790–11 Jan. 1869. Farmer. Born in New York. Son of Laban Landon and Betsy Gilless. Married Ruby Chapin, before 1821. Moved to Berkshire, Broome Co. (later in Tioga Co.), New York, by 1820. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Troy, Bradford Co., Pennsylvania...

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refused to accept JS’s vision of the three degrees of afterlife glory as a revelation. He had also persuaded others in the congregation to reject the vision as well.4

See Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76]. In a later autobiographical account, Warren Foote wrote that Landon and several others had difficulties accepting the vision “concerning the three glories.” It was not uncommon for early church members to struggle with and accept “the Vision.” For instance, Brigham Young later stated, “Many things which were revealed through Joseph came in contact with our own prejudices: we did not know how to understand them.” Young referred to “the Vision” and acknowledged that “it was directly contrary and opposed to my former education. I said, Wait a little. I did not reject it; but I could not understand it. I then could feel what incorrect tradition had done for me.” (Foote, Autobiography, 5; Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 29 Aug. 1852, 6:280–281.)  


John Murdock

15 July 1792–23 Dec. 1871. Farmer. Born at Kortright, Delaware Co., New York. Son of John Murdock Sr. and Eleanor Riggs. Joined Lutheran Dutch Church, ca. 1817, then Presbyterian Seceder Church shortly after. Moved to Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ca. 1819....

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, another missionary who left 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...

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about the same time as Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

View Full Bio
and Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

View Full Bio
, was also in the Livingston County area at the time. In his journal, Murdock recorded that on 1 May 1833, “Br L Johnson came to me said he & O Pratt had visited Ezra Landing [Landon]

5 July 1790–11 Jan. 1869. Farmer. Born in New York. Son of Laban Landon and Betsy Gilless. Married Ruby Chapin, before 1821. Moved to Berkshire, Broome Co. (later in Tioga Co.), New York, by 1820. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Troy, Bradford Co., Pennsylvania...

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in Geneseo

Agricultural area twenty-five miles west of Canandaigua. Incorporated as village, 1832. Population in 1840 about 900. While recruiting for Camp of Israel, JS and Sidney Rigdon preached to large congregation at conference in village, 16 Mar. 1834. Geneseo ...

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who denied the vision & other Revelations & other members joined him & they wanted to get help[.] Br [Leonard] Rich

1800–1868. Farmer. Born in New York. Married first Keziah. Lived at Warsaw, Genesee Co., New York, 1830. Participated in Camp of Israel expedition to Missouri, 1834. Served as a president of First Quorum of the Seventy, 1835–1837. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga...

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& my self went with him.”5

Murdock, Journal, 1 May 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 6 Aug. 1833; 1830 U.S. Census, Warsaw, Genesee Co., NY, 297; Benjamin Bancroft, Wethersfield Springs, NY, to Timothy Bancroft, Clay Co., MO, 29 Apr. 1834, Bancroft Family Correspondence, CHL.  


According to Murdock, Landon claimed that the “vision was of the Devil & he believed it no more than he believed the devil was crucified . . . & that he Br Landing would not have the vision taught in the church for $1000.” Over a two-day period, Pratt, Johnson, Murdock, and Rich labored with Landon and other members of the branch. Eventually Landon declared that “he heartily received all we taught & would teach it to the church & said he would not for $2000 be put back where he was before we came to him. We forgave him allowing him to stand in his office We taught the same things to the church they promised obedience to all the commands of God.”6

Murdock, Journal, 1–2 May 1833.  


Landon retained his leadership position, and the missionaries continued their journey through the eastern United States

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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in mid-May 1833.
However, in September 1833, when Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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and Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

View Full Bio
stopped in Geneseo

Agricultural area twenty-five miles west of Canandaigua. Incorporated as village, 1832. Population in 1840 about 900. While recruiting for Camp of Israel, JS and Sidney Rigdon preached to large congregation at conference in village, 16 Mar. 1834. Geneseo ...

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on their way back to 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...

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, Pratt noted that “some of the brethren received not our teachings among whom was Bro. Landen

5 July 1790–11 Jan. 1869. Farmer. Born in New York. Son of Laban Landon and Betsy Gilless. Married Ruby Chapin, before 1821. Moved to Berkshire, Broome Co. (later in Tioga Co.), New York, by 1820. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Troy, Bradford Co., Pennsylvania...

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.”7

Pratt, Diary, 16 Sept. 1833.  


Pratt and Johnson arrived in Kirtland on 28 September and reported on their missionary efforts, mentioning the unbelief of Landon and his congregation, to JS and others. As the letter featured here indicates, on 23 November, a council of high priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests. The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church. However, the Book of Mormon also discussed...

View Glossary
tasked Pratt and Johnson with a special assignment to visit Geneseo and other churches in the East. Four days after the council of high priests met, Pratt and Johnson departed Kirtland with JS’s letter of introduction, featured here, authorizing them as official representatives of the Church of Christ sent to settle the disharmony among the church members in Geneseo.8

Pratt, Diary, 28 Sept. and 27 Nov. 1833.  


The letter made clear that disagreement with church doctrine, and particularly disbelief in JS’s revelations, was grounds for excommunication.
Nearly a month after they left 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...

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, Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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and Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

View Full Bio
again arrived in Geneseo

Agricultural area twenty-five miles west of Canandaigua. Incorporated as village, 1832. Population in 1840 about 900. While recruiting for Camp of Israel, JS and Sidney Rigdon preached to large congregation at conference in village, 16 Mar. 1834. Geneseo ...

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. On 29 December 1833, Pratt attended a meeting with John Murdock

15 July 1792–23 Dec. 1871. Farmer. Born at Kortright, Delaware Co., New York. Son of John Murdock Sr. and Eleanor Riggs. Joined Lutheran Dutch Church, ca. 1817, then Presbyterian Seceder Church shortly after. Moved to Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ca. 1819....

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, who was still preaching in the area. Pratt recorded in his journal, “Bro. Landen

5 July 1790–11 Jan. 1869. Farmer. Born in New York. Son of Laban Landon and Betsy Gilless. Married Ruby Chapin, before 1821. Moved to Berkshire, Broome Co. (later in Tioga Co.), New York, by 1820. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Troy, Bradford Co., Pennsylvania...

View Full Bio
did not ask us to preach but preached himself however Bro. John did say a few words to the congregation after Bro. Landen had got through. after meeting we went to visit Bro. Landen & found that he still rejected the vision & said that it was of the Devil in the evening Bro. Murdock preached upon the Priesthood.”9

Pratt, Diary, 29 Dec. 1833.  


Murdock confirmed that Landon continued to speak against JS’s vision.10

Murdock, Journal, 29 Dec. 1833.  


Pratt, Johnson, and Murdock scheduled a conference

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

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of elders for 31 December to discuss Landon’s attitudes and actions. At the conference, Johnson served as the moderator and Pratt as the clerk. Landon, however, refused to attend—an act that was interpreted as treating the visiting church representatives “with contempt & ridicule.” After examining Landon’s case, the elders at the conference “unanimously gave their voices against him & he was cut off from the church the same day we demanded his Licence

A document certifying an individual’s office in the church and authorizing him “to perform the duty of his calling.” The “Articles and Covenants” of the church implied that only elders could issue licenses; individuals ordained by a priest to an office in...

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but he refused to give it up.”11

Pratt, Diary, 31 Dec. 1833.  


Johnson reported to The Evening and the Morning Star that Landon had been “silenced by the voice of said conference for promulgating unscriptural principles, and refusing to give proper satisfaction for his conduct.” The Star further reported that when Landon refused to give up his elder’s license, he was excommunicated “according to the rules and regulations of the church.”12

“To Whom It May Concern,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Feb. 1834, 2:134.  


Landon

5 July 1790–11 Jan. 1869. Farmer. Born in New York. Son of Laban Landon and Betsy Gilless. Married Ruby Chapin, before 1821. Moved to Berkshire, Broome Co. (later in Tioga Co.), New York, by 1820. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Troy, Bradford Co., Pennsylvania...

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influenced others in the congregation, and over the next month, over two dozen other people in Geneseo

Agricultural area twenty-five miles west of Canandaigua. Incorporated as village, 1832. Population in 1840 about 900. While recruiting for Camp of Israel, JS and Sidney Rigdon preached to large congregation at conference in village, 16 Mar. 1834. Geneseo ...

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were also cut off from the church.13

See Pratt, Diary, 2, 6, 11, and 23 Jan. 1834; and Murdock, Journal, 2, 6, 11, and 21 Jan. 1833; 8, 13, and 16 Feb. 1833; see also “Amasa Lyman’s History,” Deseret News [Salt Lake City], 8 Sept. 1858, 117; and Foote, Autobiography, 4–5.  


The congregation, however, continued to function under the leadership of John Murdock

15 July 1792–23 Dec. 1871. Farmer. Born at Kortright, Delaware Co., New York. Son of John Murdock Sr. and Eleanor Riggs. Joined Lutheran Dutch Church, ca. 1817, then Presbyterian Seceder Church shortly after. Moved to Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ca. 1819....

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. In March 1834, JS and others traveled to Geneseo while recruiting men for the Camp of Israel

A group of approximately 205 men and about 20 women and children led by JS to Missouri, May–July 1834, to redeem Zion by helping the Saints who had been driven from Jackson County, Missouri, regain their lands; later referred to as “Zion’s Camp.” A 24 February...

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expedition. During their visit, JS attempted to reclaim Ezra Landon and show him “his rong,” but his effort was “all in vane.”14

Murdock, Journal, 15 Mar. 1834. According to his journal, JS was in Livonia, New York, on 15 March and in Geneseo the next day. (JS, Journal, 15–16 Mar. 1834.)  


JS, however, was successful in recruiting men from the Geneseo area for the Camp of Israel expedition.15

See Revelation, 24 Feb. 1834 [D&C 103]; Noble and Noble, Reminiscences, [6]; and Pratt, Autobiography, 116–122.  


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