30474

Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, 21 April 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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21 April 1833
Dear brethren in Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

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agreeable to a notice we gave you in Bro Whitney Newel K. Whitney’s

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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last letter to you1

This letter has not been located.  


with respect to answering your letters we now commence after giving thanks to our heavenly father for evry expression of [p. 32]
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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21 April 1833
Dear brethren in Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

More Info
agreeable to a notice we gave you in Bro  Whitney [Newel K. Whitney’s]

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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<last> letter to you1

This letter has not been located.  


with respect to answering  your letters we now commence after giving thanks  to our heavenly father for evry expression of [p. 32]
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Beginning in the summer of 1831, when a JS revelation placed the location of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

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in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, tensions arose between church leaders in Missouri and those approximately one thousand miles to the northeast, 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...

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, Ohio. The process of establishing Zion, which included actions ranging from deciding matters of ecclesiastical governance to resolving temporal concerns about the allocation of land and money, occasionally resulted in conflict among leaders in the two areas.1

For more information on the establishment of Missouri as Zion, see Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57].  


In the spring of 1832, JS visited Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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with 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...

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, Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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, and Jesse Gause

Ca. 1784–ca. Sept. 1836. Schoolteacher. Born at East Marlborough, Chester Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Gause (Goss) and Mary Beverly. Joined Society of Friends (Quakers), 1806. Moved to Fayette Co., Pennsylvania, 1808; to Chester Co., 1811; and to Wilmington...

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“to comfort the Saints and Setle som[e] little dificulties, and regulate the church and affairs concerning it.” According to John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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, the Missouri members “had a pleasant visit with them and they returned again in peace.”2 However, if the relationship between 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...

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and those in Missouri seemed peaceful at the time of parting, it soon deteriorated once again. A series of letters exchanged by Kirtland and Missouri leaders between June 1832 and March 1833 reveal the discord: After JS returned to Kirtland in June 1832, he received a letter from John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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, a counselor to Missouri bishop

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

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Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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. JS described the letter as an indictment of him for purportedly seeking after “Monarchal power and authority.” JS stated that Corrill’s letter demonstrated “that the devel had set to work” among the church leaders in Missouri “by stirring up [their] hearts . . . by raking up evry fault, which those eyes that are filled with beams could see in looking for motes.”3 Sidney Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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, the church’s agent in Missouri, penned another missive on 10 December 1832, which, according to Kirtland church leaders, also charged JS with seeking “Kingly power.”4

Neither this letter nor the aforementioned 2 June 1832 letter from John Corrill is extant. (See Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 14 Jan. 1833.)  


A January 1833 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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found these accusations to be “low, dark, & blind,” and the conference directed Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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and Hyrum Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

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to write a response to the Missouri leaders.5 In their letter, Hyde and Smith encouraged Gilbert to “do his business in the spirit of the Lord,” to repent, and to do the work commanded

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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of him.6

Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 14 Jan. 1833. A 20 July 1831 revelation instructed Gilbert to serve as an agent for the church and to “establish a store” to obtain money for the “good of the Saints.” (Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:6, 8].)  


Kirtland church leaders sent the letter in mid-January 1833 along with a letter from JS to William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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and a copy of a recent revelation known as the “olive leaf.”7

Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 14 Jan. 1833. In his January 1833 letter to Phelps, JS stated, “Let me say to you, seek to purefy yourselves, & also all the inhabitants of Zion lest the Lords anger be kindled to fierceness, repent, repent, is the voice of God, to Zion.” JS called the revelation that accompanied the January letter to Phelps the “Olieve leaf which we have plucked from the tree of Paradise” and “the Lords message of peace to us” because he saw it as a way to heal ongoing difficulties with Missouri church leaders. (Letter to William W. Phelps, 11 Jan. 1833; Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:1–126].)  


According to the letter featured below, these materials produced the “desired effect.”
Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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, Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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, and Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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had been embroiled off and on in tensions with JS and Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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church leaders for more than a year and a half when, on 26 February 1833, they called a “special 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...

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” in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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to resolve the conflict. The previous December, Partridge had “appointed a Solemn Asembley

A special church meeting or conference convened to conduct church business, administer sacred ordinances, and receive spiritual power and instruction. In November 1831, the Saints were directed by revelation to gather as a body in solemn assemblies. A December...

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in all the branches

An ecclesiastical organization of church members in a particular locale. A branch was generally smaller than a stake or a conference. Branches were also referred to as churches, as in “the Church of Shalersville.” In general, a branch was led by a presiding...

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, which was to be held as a day of confession, and repentance.” Partridge and other leaders “went from branch to branch exorting, until he had gone through them all.”8

Pettegrew, “History,” 15.  


At this February 1833 session of high priests, Partridge “laid before the council the effect of the proceedings of the Solemn assemblies as held throughout Zion.” Satisfied with the results of those solemn assemblies and in order “to effect a perfect harmony between” them and their “brethren 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...

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,” the Missouri high priests appointed a committee, which comprised Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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, William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, and John Corrill, to write an epistle reporting the widespread repentance in Missouri and confessing their previous error of challenging and criticizing JS and other Ohio leaders.9

Minute Book 2, 26 Feb. 1833.  


The three men wrote the letter, asking for forgiveness and seeking unity with the church in Kirtland, that same day.10

This letter is no longer extant.  


The council accepted it, and the letter was dispatched immediately to church leaders in Ohio. In the letter featured here, written on behalf of the Kirtland leadership, JS accepted the sentiments expressed in that February missive.
Aside from acknowledging the resolution of conflict among church leaders, the document is typical of many letters that JS sent to church leaders in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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. It responds to specific questions, communicates the contents of a recently dictated revelation, describes developments in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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, and offers general counsel. In this and subsequent letters, JS continued to advise and implore church leaders and members in Missouri to repent and to be obedient and humble. How the Missouri leaders reacted to this letter is unknown; the only extant record that mentions the letter, briefly and without commentary, is the June 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star.11

The Evening and the Morning Star mentioned the letter only to refer to Sidney Rigdon’s proselytizing efforts in Medina County, Ohio, which are discussed near the end of the missive. ([William W. Phelps], “The Progress of the Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1833, 100.)  


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