30474

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

of his goodness in preserving our unprofitable lives2

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 157 [Mosiah 2:21].  


to the present time and the health and other blessing which we now enjoy through his mercies— With Joy we received your general epistle writen the 26 of Feby which contained the conffescion of our brethren concerned3

The men in the “special council of High Priests,” which prepared the letter containing “the conffescion of our brethren” from Missouri leaders to JS in Kirtland, were Wheeler Baldwin, Calvin Beebe, Simeon Carter, John Corrill, Oliver Cowdery, Peter Dustin, Sidney Gilbert, Solomon Hancock, Levi Jackman, Newel Knight, Thomas B. Marsh, Isaac Morley, Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, Daniel Stanton, Harvey Whitlock, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, Peter Whitmer Jr., and Lyman Wight. (Minute Book 2, 26 Feb. 1833.)  


all of which was to our entire satisfaction it was read by the 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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with feelings of the deepest interest knowing as we did that the anger of the Lord was kindled against you and nothing but repentance of the greatest humility would turn it away4

A revelation dictated in September 1832 called for church members to “repent of ther former evil works” and for church leaders in Missouri to repent specifically “for there rebellion” against JS. By this time, JS had also sent several letters to Missouri calling the leaders to repentance. For instance, in his January letter to William W. Phelps, JS wrote, “Repent, repent, is the voice of God, to Zion . . . hear the warning. voice of God lest Zion fall.” He added, “The Brethren in Kirtland pray for you unceasingly, for knowing the terrors of the Lord, they greatly fear for you.” (Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:76]; Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832; Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832; Letter to William W. Phelps, 11 Jan. 1833.)  


and I will assure you that expressions of Joy beemed on evry countenance when they saw that our epistle and the revelation5 was received by our 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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& it had its desired effect6

JS repeated this sentiment in a letter to Bishop Edward Partridge approximately ten days later: “Be assured that we all feel thankful, that the brethren in Zion are beginning to humble themselves, & trying to keep the commandments of the Lord.” (Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  


For your satisfaction I insert here a revelation given to Bro Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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the 15th of March 1833 constituting him a member of the United firm

An organization that supervised the management of church enterprises and properties from 1832 to 1834. In March and April 1832, revelations directed that the church’s publishing and mercantile endeavors be organized. In accordance with this direction, the...

View Glossary
7

Revelation, 15 Mar. 1833 [D&C 92]. Half of the members of the United Firm resided in Missouri. Because of their location, they would not have yet known about this decision, made in Kirtland, to appoint Williams a member of the United Firm.  


——
Verely thus saith the Lord I give unto the united firm (organized agreeable to the 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...

View Glossary
previously given) a revelation and commandment concerning my servant Frederick

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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that ye shall receive him into the firm, what I say unto one I say unto all, and again I say unto you my my servant Frederick

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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thou shalt be a lively member in this firm and inasmuch as thou art faithful in keeping all former commandments thou shalt be blessed for ever Amen
With respect to Bro 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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s letter of the 10 Dec8

This letter has not been located.  


I would say to him as follows firstly we received the letter with this [p. 33]
of his goodness in preserving our unprofitable  lives2

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 157 [Mosiah 2:21].  


to the present time and the health and  other blessing which we now enjoy through his  mercies— With Joy we received your letter  general epistle writen the 26 of Feby which con tained the conffescion of our brethren concerned3

The men in the “special council of High Priests,” which prepared the letter containing “the conffescion of our brethren” from Missouri leaders to JS in Kirtland, were Wheeler Baldwin, Calvin Beebe, Simeon Carter, John Corrill, Oliver Cowdery, Peter Dustin, Sidney Gilbert, Solomon Hancock, Levi Jackman, Newel Knight, Thomas B. Marsh, Isaac Morley, Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, Daniel Stanton, Harvey Whitlock, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, Peter Whitmer Jr., and Lyman Wight. (Minute Book 2, 26 Feb. 1833.)  


all of  which was to our entire satisfaction it was read by  the 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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with feelings of the  deepest interest knowing as we did that the anger  of the Lord was kindled against you and [no]thing  but repentance of of the greatest humility would  turn it away4

A revelation dictated in September 1832 called for church members to “repent of ther former evil works” and for church leaders in Missouri to repent specifically “for there rebellion” against JS. By this time, JS had also sent several letters to Missouri calling the leaders to repentance. For instance, in his January letter to William W. Phelps, JS wrote, “Repent, repent, is the voice of God, to Zion . . . hear the warning. voice of God lest Zion fall.” He added, “The Brethren in Kirtland pray for you unceasingly, for knowing the terrors of the Lord, they greatly fear for you.” (Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:76]; Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832; Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832; Letter to William W. Phelps, 11 Jan. 1833.)  


and I will assure you that  expressions of Joy beemed on evry countenance  when they saw that our epistle and the  revelation5 was received by our 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
& it had its desired effect6

JS repeated this sentiment in a letter to Bishop Edward Partridge approximately ten days later: “Be assured that we all feel thankful, that the brethren in Zion are beginning to humble themselves, & trying to keep the commandments of the Lord.” (Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  


For your satisfaction I insert here  a revelation given to Bro Frederick [G. Williams]

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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the  15th of March 1833 constituting him a  member of the United firm

An organization that supervised the management of church enterprises and properties from 1832 to 1834. In March and April 1832, revelations directed that the church’s publishing and mercantile endeavors be organized. In accordance with this direction, the...

View Glossary
7

Revelation, 15 Mar. 1833 [D&C 92]. Half of the members of the United Firm resided in Missouri. Because of their location, they would not have yet known about this decision, made in Kirtland, to appoint Williams a member of the United Firm.  


—— 
Verely thus saith the Lord I give unto  the united firm (organized agreeable to  the 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...

View Glossary
previously given)  a revelation and commandment  concerning my servant Frederick

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

View Full Bio
 that ye shall receive him into the  firm, what I say unto one I say unto  all, and again I say unto you my  my servant Frederick

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

View Full Bio
thou shalt  be a lively member in this firm  and inasmuch as thou art faithful  in keeping all former commandments  thou shalt be blessed for ever Amen
With respect to Bro [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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s letter of  the 10 Dec8

This letter has not been located.  


I would say to him as follows  firstly we received the letter with this [p. 33]
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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...

More Info
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...

View Glossary
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...

View Full Bio
, 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...

View Full Bio
, 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...

View Full Bio
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...

More Info
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,...

View Full Bio
, 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...

More Info
. 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.)  


Facts