30477

Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, 25 June 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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June 25— 1833
Brethren we have received your last containing a number of questions which you desire us to answer, this we do the more readily as we desire with all our hearts, the prosperity 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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and the peace of her inhabitents for we have as great an intrest in the welfare of Zion as you can have— First as respects getting the book of Commandments bound we think it is not necessary. they will be sold as well without binding and there is no book binder to be had as we know off, nor is there materials to be had for binding without keeping the books too long from circulation1

Church conferences in November 1831 decided to publish a collection of JS’s revelations in a volume called A Book of Commandments, for the Government of the Church of Christ. Knowing that William W. Phelps was nearing completion of this project, the presidency of the high priesthood instructed that the volume be distributed unbound. However, by late July 1833, when Phelps would have learned of this instruction, Jackson County citizens had razed and destroyed the church’s printing office. By that point, Phelps had printed five thirty-two-page signatures of the Book of Commandments and probably intended that the sixth signature, which was not yet printed, would be the final signature in the volume. (Minutes, 1–2 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 8 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831; Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833; Historical Introduction to Book of Commandments.)  


——
With regard to the books of Mormon which are in the hand of brother Burket2

Possibly George Burket, or Bergat, who was among the church members driven from Jackson County a few months later. (See George Burket, Affidavit, Adams Co., IL, 13 May 1839, Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845, CHL.)  


we say to you get them from brother Burkeet give him receipt for them in the name of the 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...

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3

By 30 April 1832, six members of the United Firm also composed the Literary Firm, a component of the United Firm that was responsible for overseeing church publications. (Revelation, 1 Mar. 1832 [D&C 78]; Revelation, 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82:11–21]; Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 26–27 Apr. 1832; Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70:1–3]; Minutes, 30 Apr. 1832.)  


Let 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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pay bro Chapin his mony4

“Bro Chapin” is possibly Adolphus Chapin, who in May 1835 was among those selected to receive “inheritances in Zion.” It is not known why or how much money Gilbert would have owed Chapin at this time. (Whitmer, History, 71–72.)  


——
We have not found the book of Jasher nor any of the other lost books mentioned in the bible as yet nor wille we obtain them at present—5

It is not clear to what extent early church members were interested in the book of Jasher, beyond what is offered in this letter. Two passages in the Old Testament refer to the book of Jasher, which was first translated into English by Moses Samuel, a Jewish scholar residing in Liverpool, England. In 1840, Samuel’s translation was published as Sefer ha-yashar, or, The Book of Jasher; Referred to in Joshua and Second Samuel in New York by Mordecai M. Noah & A. S. Gould. Mormons showed interest in the lost books of the Bible early in the church’s history. Of the latter part of 1830, JS’s history records, “Much conjecture and conversation frequently occurred among the saints, concerning the books mentioned and referred to, in various places in the old and new testaments, which were now no where to be found.” For more on Mormons’ views of lost and Apocryphal books of the Bible, see Historical Introduction to Revelation, 9 Mar. 1833 [D&C 91]. (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18; Wasserstein, “Moses Samuel,” 95; JS History, vol. A-1, 80; see also Brandt, “History, Content, and Latter-day Saint Use of the Book of Jasher,” 8, 14–15, 122–131.)  


respecting the Apochraphy Apocrypha the Lord Said to us that there were many things in it which were true and ther were many things in it which were not true and to those who desired, it should be given by the spirit to know true from the false,6

See Revelation, 9 Mar. 1833 [D&C 91].  


we have received some revelations within a short time back which you will obtain in due time.7

Since JS had last written to Missouri on 2 May 1833, he had dictated three revelations, though it is unclear when he sent them to Missouri. The revelations were transcribed into Revelation Book 1, which was kept in Missouri. (See Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833; Revelation, 6 May 1833, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 178–181 [D&C 93]; Revelation, 1 June 1833, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 181–182 [D&C 95]; and Revelation, 4 June 1833, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 182–183 [D&C 96].)  


As soon as we can get time, we will review the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon, after which they will be forwarded to you—8

The presidency may have sent manuscripts of the Book of Mormon as part of their plan, expressed two months earlier, to print the Book of Mormon and the New Testament together. Alternatively, this portion of the letter could be related to William W. Phelps’s intent to publish the Book of Mormon serially in The Evening and the Morning Star so that “the world will have an opportunity to read for themselves.” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 21 Apr. 1833; “The Book of Mormon,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1833, [2].)  


We commend the plan highly of your choossing a teacher to instruct the 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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that they may be able to silence gainsayers—9

This idea to hire an instructor may have stemmed from an injunction in a December 1832 revelation to “teach one another, the doctrines, of the kingdom,” which resulted in the creation of the School of the Prophets in Kirtland. This revelation may have also prompted the creation of a similar school in Missouri. At some point in summer 1833, church leaders in Missouri selected Parley P. Pratt to teach and lead a school, and on 2 August 1833, a revelation encouraged Pratt to continue to conduct that school. (Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:77]; Pratt, Autobiography, 99–100; Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–A [D&C 97:3–6].)  


Concerning Bishops

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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we recommend the following, to let Bro Isaac Morley

11 Mar. 1786–24 June 1865. Farmer, cooper, merchant, postmaster. Born at Montague, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Thomas Morley and Editha (Edith) Marsh. Family affiliated with Presbyterian church. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, before 1812. Married...

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be ordained second Bishop 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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. And let Bro John Carrel 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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be ordained third—10

For the prior two years, Isaac Morley and John Corrill had served as Bishop Edward Partridge’s two official assistants, or counselors, in Jackson County. In December 1832, Morley and Corrill were assigned to “set in order the different Branches of the Church of Christ in the land of Zion.” The influx of church members arriving in Missouri may have prompted Partridge or other Missouri leaders to ask JS and the presidency how they were to govern the increasing population. According to Parley P. Pratt, in summer 1833, “immigration had poured into the County of Jackson in great numbers; and the Church in that county now numbered upwards of one thousand souls.” Corrill later wrote that instructions on how church members should prepare to resettle in Zion were disregarded in the rush to gather: “The rich were afraid to send up their money to purchase lands, and the poor crowded up in numbers, without having any places provided, contrary to the advice of the bishop and others.” Anticipating church members’ continued immigration to Missouri, church leaders stated in the postscript of the letter featured here that “when Zion is once properly regulated there will be a Bishop to each square,” referring to the squares on the plat map and in the explanation of the city of Zion plat, which accompanied this letter. (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; Minute Book 2, 3 Dec. 1832; Pratt, Autobiography, 99; Corrill, Brief History, 19; Plat of the City of Zion, ca. Early June–25 June 1833.)  


Let Bro 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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choose as counsellors

A governing body comprising a bishop and his counselors. The bishop’s council was charged with overseeing the temporal affairs of the church, administering goods under the law of consecration, and assisting the poor. The bishop’s council had authority to ...

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in their place, Bro Parley P 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 Bro Titus Billings

24 Mar. 1793–6 Feb. 1866. Stonemason, carpenter, musician. Born in Greenfield, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Ebenezer Billings and Esther Joyce. Moved to Mentor, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1817. Married Diantha Morley, 16 Feb. 1817, in Geauga Co. Moved to...

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, ordaining Bro Billings

24 Mar. 1793–6 Feb. 1866. Stonemason, carpenter, musician. Born in Greenfield, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Ebenezer Billings and Esther Joyce. Moved to Mentor, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1817. Married Diantha Morley, 16 Feb. 1817, in Geauga Co. Moved to...

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to the High Priesthood

The authority and power held by certain officers in the church. The Book of Mormon referred to the high priesthood as God’s “holy order, which was after the order of his Son,” and indicated that Melchizedek, a biblical figure, was a high priest “after this...

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. Let Bro Morley

11 Mar. 1786–24 June 1865. Farmer, cooper, merchant, postmaster. Born at Montague, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Thomas Morley and Editha (Edith) Marsh. Family affiliated with Presbyterian church. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, before 1812. Married...

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choose for his counsellors Bro Christian Whitmer

18 Jan. 1798–27 Nov. 1835. Shoemaker. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Married Anna (Anne) Schott, 22 Feb. 1825, at Seneca Co., New York. Ensign in New York militia, 1825. Constable of Fayette, Seneca Co., 1828–1829. Member...

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whom ordain to the High Priesthood11

Christian Whitmer was ordained a high priest by Simeon Carter on 21 August 1833, though it is unclear whether his ordination was connected to the instruction here. (Minute Book 2, 21 Aug. 1833.)  


and Bro Newel Knights Knight

13 Sept. 1800–11 Jan. 1847. Miller, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Knight Sr. and Polly Peck. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, ca. 1809. Moved to Windsor (later in Colesville), Broome Co., New...

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— Let Bro Carrol

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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choose bro Daniel Staunton Stanton

28 May 1795–26 Oct. 1872. Farmer, carpenter. Born in Manlius, Onondaga Co., New York. Son of Amos Stanton and Elizabeth Wyman. Moved to Pompey, Onondaga Co., by 1800. Married Clarinda Graves, 16 Mar. 1816. Moved to Mayfield, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, by 1820. Moved...

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and Bro Hezekiah Peck

19 Jan. 1782–25 Aug. 1850. Millwright. Born at Guilford, Cumberland Co., New York (later in Windham Co., Vermont). Son of Joseph Peck and Elizabeth Read. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, by 1812. Married Martha Long, by 1812. Baptized...

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for his counsellors, let Bro Hezekiah

19 Jan. 1782–25 Aug. 1850. Millwright. Born at Guilford, Cumberland Co., New York (later in Windham Co., Vermont). Son of Joseph Peck and Elizabeth Read. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, by 1812. Married Martha Long, by 1812. Baptized...

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also be ordained to the high Priesthood—12

In the aftermath of the violence that church members faced in July and November 1833, it is unclear if these new three-man bishoprics were ever formally organized. However, on 11 September 1833, when a church council met in Jackson County and appointed “High Priests to wach over the several Branches,” four of the eight men designated here as new bishops and counselors—Parley P. Pratt, Newel Knight, John Corrill, and Daniel Stanton—were each called to preside over one of the ten branches. These appointments may have acted as an extension or alteration of the direction here to appoint them as counselors in bishoprics. Whether the ten Missouri branches were ever formally organized is unknown. (Minute Book 2, 11 Sept. 1833; see also Letter from William W. Phelps, 6–7 Nov. 1833; Letter from William W. Phelps, 14 Nov. 1833; and Letter from Edward Partridge, between 14 and 19 Nov. 1833.)  


Bro John Johnson

14 Apr. 1779–30 July 1843. Farmer, innkeeper. Born at Chesterfield, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Johnson and Abigail Higgins. Married Alice (Elsa) Jacobs, 22 June 1800. Moved to Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont, ca. 1803. Settled at Hiram, Portage...

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of Hiram

Area settled by immigrants from Pennsylvania and New England, ca. 1802. Located in northeastern Ohio about twenty-five miles southeast of Kirtland. Population in 1830 about 500. Population in 1840 about 1,100. JS lived in township at home of John and Alice...

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has been received as a member of the 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...

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by 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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and has just come 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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to live.13

See Minutes, 4 June 1833; and Revelation, 4 June 1833 [D&C 96:6–9].  


As soon as we get a power of Agency signed agreeable to law for Bro 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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, we will forward it to him, and will immediately expect one from that part of the firm to Bro 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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signed in the same manner.14

A “power of Agency,” or power of attorney, established a consensual relationship wherein one party granted another party authority to act on its behalf to deal with a third entity. A power of agency may have facilitated and created flexibility in making economic and land transactions between the two branches of the United Firm. (See De Pillis, “Development of Mormon Communitarianism,” 221.)  


We would again say to Bro Edward

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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to be sure to get a form according to law for secureing a gift, we have found by examineing the Law that a gift cannot be retained without this—15

This direction reiterates JS’s previous counsel to Edward Partridge to refine the process of making deeds of consecration and land stewardship in Jackson County. (Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  


The truth triumphs gloriously in the East, Multitudes are embraceing it.16

Gideon Carter wrote to Missouri church leaders, stating, “The work is prospering in all the regions round about, especially east, much addition is made to several churches, and new ones are springing up. Brother Jared has been to Michigan and raised up three small ones.” Sylvester Smith likewise wrote: “It is about six weeks since I left Kirtland to take a mission to the east; since which time I have visited twelve churches, and passed three others, in coming to this place: all of which are nearly in the course from Kirtland to Chenango, New York: so grows, and so spreads the mighty work of the Lord. Some of said churches are composed of nearly one hundred members; and, in nearly all of them, the work is still going on. With some few exceptions, union prevails among them.” (“Progress of the Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 108.)  


I 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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who write this letter in behalf of the Presidency

Both the office of the president of the high priesthood and the body comprising the president and his counselors; the presiding body of the church. In November 1831, a revelation directed the appointment of a president of the high priesthood. The individual...

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have had the privilege of seeing my aged Mother Baptized

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...

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into the faith of the Gospel a few weeks since at the advanced age of seventy five, she now resides with me.17

Nancy Gallaher Rigdon was actually seventy-four years old at this time. A former longstanding resident of the Pittsburgh area, she was born in 1759. A later history of Luke Johnson states that Johnson, while on a proselytizing mission with Sidney Rigdon, baptized Rigdon’s mother; Johnson stated, “We journeyed to Pittsburgh to the place where Sidney was born & raised, here we preached the Gospel to his relatives & I baptized his mother & his oldest brother & several others & organized a branch.” (“History of Luke Johnson,” [2], Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861, CHL.)  


We send by this mail a draft of the City of Zion with explanations, and a draft of the house to be built immediately 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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for the presidency as well as all purposes of Religion and instruction.18 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 Stake

Ecclesiastical organization of church members in a particular locale. Stakes were typically large local organizations of church members; stake leaders could include a presidency, a high council, and a bishopric. Some revelations referred to stakes “to” or...

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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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,19

According to a JS revelation, Jackson County was the primary gathering place for members of the church at this time, while Kirtland was designated as a temporary gathering place, known as the stake of Zion. (See Revelation, 4 June 1833 [D&C 96:1].)  


is strengthening continually, when they the enemies look at her, they wag their heads and march along.20

See Jeremiah 18:16; and Lamentations 2:15.  


We anticipate the day when the enemies will have fled away and be far from us.21

See Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:66–67].  


You will remember that the power of agency must be signed by the wives as well as their husbands, and the wives must be examined separate & apart from the husband the same as signing a deed, and a specification to that effect inserted at the bottom by the Justice before whom said acknowledgement is made, otherwise the power will be of none effect.22

It was standard legal practice at the time for both the husband and the wife to sign a deed transaction. For example, when JS and Emma Smith bought property from her parents, Isaac and Elizabeth Hale, both Isaac and Elizabeth signed the transaction in the presence of a local justice of the peace. Written on the bottom of the deed is testimony that Elizabeth Hale, “being of proper age & being examined Apart from her Said husband,” signed the deed “of her own free will & not from any fear” of her husband. (Deed from Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Hale, 25 Aug. 1830.)  


Clarrissa Bachellor23

Possibly Clarissa Nye Bachelor Blaisdell. (See Vital Records of Salisbury, Massachusetts, 20, 266; 1840 U.S. Census, Salisbury, Essex Co., MA, 297; Hyde, Journal, 30 July 1832; and Samuel Smith, Diary, 30 July 1832.)  


of Boston

Capital city located on eastern seaboard of Massachusetts at mouth of Charles River. Founded by English Puritans, 1630; received city charter, 1822. Population in 1820 about 43,000; in 1830 about 61,000; and in 1840 about 93,000. JS’s ancestor Robert Smith...

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wants her paper24

The Evening and the Morning Star.  


discontinued because she has gone from the place, and she has turned from the faith. Send a paper to Joshua Baley25

Probably Joshua Bailey, father of Mary Bailey, who later married JS’s brother Samuel Smith. (See Geauga Co., OH, Probate Court, Marriage Records, 1806–1920, vol. C, p. 60, 13 Aug. 1834, microfilm 873,461, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  


Andover Vermont26

Located in the south-central region of the state, Andover was about fifty-five miles southeast of Benson, Vermont.  


[p. [1]]

Frederick G. Williams handwriting begins.  


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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June 25— 1833
Brethren we have received your last containing a number of  questions which you desire us to answer, this we do the more  readily as we desire with all our hearts, the prosperity 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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 and the peace of her inhabitents for we have as great an intrest in  the welfare of Zion as you can have— First as respects getting the  book of Commandments bound we think it is not necessary[.] they  will be sold as well without binding and there is no book binder  to be had as we know off, nor is there materials to be had for bin ding without keeping the books too long from circulation1

Church conferences in November 1831 decided to publish a collection of JS’s revelations in a volume called A Book of Commandments, for the Government of the Church of Christ. Knowing that William W. Phelps was nearing completion of this project, the presidency of the high priesthood instructed that the volume be distributed unbound. However, by late July 1833, when Phelps would have learned of this instruction, Jackson County citizens had razed and destroyed the church’s printing office. By that point, Phelps had printed five thirty-two-page signatures of the Book of Commandments and probably intended that the sixth signature, which was not yet printed, would be the final signature in the volume. (Minutes, 1–2 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 8 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831; Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833; Historical Introduction to Book of Commandments.)  


——
With regard to the books of Mormon which are in the hand  of brothe[r] Burket2

Possibly George Burket, or Bergat, who was among the church members driven from Jackson County a few months later. (See George Burket, Affidavit, Adams Co., IL, 13 May 1839, Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845, CHL.)  


we say to you get them from brothe[r] Burke et give him receipt for them in the name of the littery 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...

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3

By 30 April 1832, six members of the United Firm also composed the Literary Firm, a component of the United Firm that was responsible for overseeing church publications. (Revelation, 1 Mar. 1832 [D&C 78]; Revelation, 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82:11–21]; Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 26–27 Apr. 1832; Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70:1–3]; Minutes, 30 Apr. 1832.)  


 Let 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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pay bro Chapin his mony4

“Bro Chapin” is possibly Adolphus Chapin, who in May 1835 was among those selected to receive “inheritances in Zion.” It is not known why or how much money Gilbert would have owed Chapin at this time. (Whitmer, History, 71–72.)  


——
We have not found the book of Jasher nor any of the othe[r]  lost books mentioned in the bible as yet nor wille we obtain  obtain them at present—5

It is not clear to what extent early church members were interested in the book of Jasher, beyond what is offered in this letter. Two passages in the Old Testament refer to the book of Jasher, which was first translated into English by Moses Samuel, a Jewish scholar residing in Liverpool, England. In 1840, Samuel’s translation was published as Sefer ha-yashar, or, The Book of Jasher; Referred to in Joshua and Second Samuel in New York by Mordecai M. Noah & A. S. Gould. Mormons showed interest in the lost books of the Bible early in the church’s history. Of the latter part of 1830, JS’s history records, “Much conjecture and conversation frequently occurred among the saints, concerning the books mentioned and referred to, in various places in the old and new testaments, which were now no where to be found.” For more on Mormons’ views of lost and Apocryphal books of the Bible, see Historical Introduction to Revelation, 9 Mar. 1833 [D&C 91]. (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18; Wasserstein, “Moses Samuel,” 95; JS History, vol. A-1, 80; see also Brandt, “History, Content, and Latter-day Saint Use of the Book of Jasher,” 8, 14–15, 122–131.)  


respecting the Apochraphy [Apocrypha] the Lord  Said to us that there were many things in it which were true  and ther were many things in it which were not true and  to those who desired, it should be given by the spirit to  know true from the false,6

See Revelation, 9 Mar. 1833 [D&C 91].  


we have received some revelations within  a short time back which you will

Frederick G. Williams handwriting ends; Orson Hyde begins.  


obtain in due time.7

Since JS had last written to Missouri on 2 May 1833, he had dictated three revelations, though it is unclear when he sent them to Missouri. The revelations were transcribed into Revelation Book 1, which was kept in Missouri. (See Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833; Revelation, 6 May 1833, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 178–181 [D&C 93]; Revelation, 1 June 1833, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 181–182 [D&C 95]; and Revelation, 4 June 1833, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 182–183 [D&C 96].)  


As soon as we  can get time, we will review the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon, after which they  will be forwarded to you—8

The presidency may have sent manuscripts of the Book of Mormon as part of their plan, expressed two months earlier, to print the Book of Mormon and the New Testament together. Alternatively, this portion of the letter could be related to William W. Phelps’s intent to publish the Book of Mormon serially in The Evening and the Morning Star so that “the world will have an opportunity to read for themselves.” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 21 Apr. 1833; “The Book of Mormon,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1833, [2].)  


We commend the plan highly of your choossing a  teacher to instruct the 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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that they may be able to silence gainsayers—9

This idea to hire an instructor may have stemmed from an injunction in a December 1832 revelation to “teach one another, the doctrines, of the kingdom,” which resulted in the creation of the School of the Prophets in Kirtland. This revelation may have also prompted the creation of a similar school in Missouri. At some point in summer 1833, church leaders in Missouri selected Parley P. Pratt to teach and lead a school, and on 2 August 1833, a revelation encouraged Pratt to continue to conduct that school. (Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:77]; Pratt, Autobiography, 99–100; Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–A [D&C 97:3–6].)  


 Concerning Bishops

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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we recommend the following, to let Bro I[saac] Morley

11 Mar. 1786–24 June 1865. Farmer, cooper, merchant, postmaster. Born at Montague, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Thomas Morley and Editha (Edith) Marsh. Family affiliated with Presbyterian church. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, before 1812. Married...

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be ord ained second Bishop 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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. And let Bro John Carrel [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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be ordained third—10

For the prior two years, Isaac Morley and John Corrill had served as Bishop Edward Partridge’s two official assistants, or counselors, in Jackson County. In December 1832, Morley and Corrill were assigned to “set in order the different Branches of the Church of Christ in the land of Zion.” The influx of church members arriving in Missouri may have prompted Partridge or other Missouri leaders to ask JS and the presidency how they were to govern the increasing population. According to Parley P. Pratt, in summer 1833, “immigration had poured into the County of Jackson in great numbers; and the Church in that county now numbered upwards of one thousand souls.” Corrill later wrote that instructions on how church members should prepare to resettle in Zion were disregarded in the rush to gather: “The rich were afraid to send up their money to purchase lands, and the poor crowded up in numbers, without having any places provided, contrary to the advice of the bishop and others.” Anticipating church members’ continued immigration to Missouri, church leaders stated in the postscript of the letter featured here that “when Zion is once properly regulated there will be a Bishop to each square,” referring to the squares on the plat map and in the explanation of the city of Zion plat, which accompanied this letter. (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; Minute Book 2, 3 Dec. 1832; Pratt, Autobiography, 99; Corrill, Brief History, 19; Plat of the City of Zion, ca. Early June–25 June 1833.)  


 Let Bro 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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choose as counsellors

A governing body comprising a bishop and his counselors. The bishop’s council was charged with overseeing the temporal affairs of the church, administering goods under the law of consecration, and assisting the poor. The bishop’s council had authority to ...

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in their place, Bro Parley P 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 Bro  Titus Billings

24 Mar. 1793–6 Feb. 1866. Stonemason, carpenter, musician. Born in Greenfield, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Ebenezer Billings and Esther Joyce. Moved to Mentor, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1817. Married Diantha Morley, 16 Feb. 1817, in Geauga Co. Moved to...

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, ordaining Bro Billings

24 Mar. 1793–6 Feb. 1866. Stonemason, carpenter, musician. Born in Greenfield, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Ebenezer Billings and Esther Joyce. Moved to Mentor, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1817. Married Diantha Morley, 16 Feb. 1817, in Geauga Co. Moved to...

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to the High Priesthood

The authority and power held by certain officers in the church. The Book of Mormon referred to the high priesthood as God’s “holy order, which was after the order of his Son,” and indicated that Melchizedek, a biblical figure, was a high priest “after this...

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. Let Bro Morley

11 Mar. 1786–24 June 1865. Farmer, cooper, merchant, postmaster. Born at Montague, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Thomas Morley and Editha (Edith) Marsh. Family affiliated with Presbyterian church. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, before 1812. Married...

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 choose for his counsellors Bro Christian Whitmer

18 Jan. 1798–27 Nov. 1835. Shoemaker. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Married Anna (Anne) Schott, 22 Feb. 1825, at Seneca Co., New York. Ensign in New York militia, 1825. Constable of Fayette, Seneca Co., 1828–1829. Member...

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whom ordain to the High  Priesthood11

Christian Whitmer was ordained a high priest by Simeon Carter on 21 August 1833, though it is unclear whether his ordination was connected to the instruction here. (Minute Book 2, 21 Aug. 1833.)  


and Bro Newel Knights [Knight]

13 Sept. 1800–11 Jan. 1847. Miller, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Knight Sr. and Polly Peck. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, ca. 1809. Moved to Windsor (later in Colesville), Broome Co., New...

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— Let Bro Carrol

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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choose bro Daniel Staunton [Stanton]

28 May 1795–26 Oct. 1872. Farmer, carpenter. Born in Manlius, Onondaga Co., New York. Son of Amos Stanton and Elizabeth Wyman. Moved to Pompey, Onondaga Co., by 1800. Married Clarinda Graves, 16 Mar. 1816. Moved to Mayfield, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, by 1820. Moved...

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 and Bro Hezekiah Peck

19 Jan. 1782–25 Aug. 1850. Millwright. Born at Guilford, Cumberland Co., New York (later in Windham Co., Vermont). Son of Joseph Peck and Elizabeth Read. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, by 1812. Married Martha Long, by 1812. Baptized...

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for his counsellors, let Bro Hezekiah

19 Jan. 1782–25 Aug. 1850. Millwright. Born at Guilford, Cumberland Co., New York (later in Windham Co., Vermont). Son of Joseph Peck and Elizabeth Read. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, by 1812. Married Martha Long, by 1812. Baptized...

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also be ordained  to the high Priesthood—12

In the aftermath of the violence that church members faced in July and November 1833, it is unclear if these new three-man bishoprics were ever formally organized. However, on 11 September 1833, when a church council met in Jackson County and appointed “High Priests to wach over the several Branches,” four of the eight men designated here as new bishops and counselors—Parley P. Pratt, Newel Knight, John Corrill, and Daniel Stanton—were each called to preside over one of the ten branches. These appointments may have acted as an extension or alteration of the direction here to appoint them as counselors in bishoprics. Whether the ten Missouri branches were ever formally organized is unknown. (Minute Book 2, 11 Sept. 1833; see also Letter from William W. Phelps, 6–7 Nov. 1833; Letter from William W. Phelps, 14 Nov. 1833; and Letter from Edward Partridge, between 14 and 19 Nov. 1833.)  


Bro John Johnson

14 Apr. 1779–30 July 1843. Farmer, innkeeper. Born at Chesterfield, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Johnson and Abigail Higgins. Married Alice (Elsa) Jacobs, 22 June 1800. Moved to Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont, ca. 1803. Settled at Hiram, Portage...

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of Hiram

Area settled by immigrants from Pennsylvania and New England, ca. 1802. Located in northeastern Ohio about twenty-five miles southeast of Kirtland. Population in 1830 about 500. Population in 1840 about 1,100. JS lived in township at home of John and Alice...

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has been received as a memb er of the 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...

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by 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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and has just come 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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to live.13

See Minutes, 4 June 1833; and Revelation, 4 June 1833 [D&C 96:6–9].  


As soon  as we get a power of Agency signed agreeable to law for Bro 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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, we will  forward it to him, and will immediately expect one from that part of the firm to  Bro 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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signed in the same manner.14

A “power of Agency,” or power of attorney, established a consensual relationship wherein one party granted another party authority to act on its behalf to deal with a third entity. A power of agency may have facilitated and created flexibility in making economic and land transactions between the two branches of the United Firm. (See De Pillis, “Development of Mormon Communitarianism,” 221.)  


We would again say to Bro Edward

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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 to be sure to get a form according to law for secureing a gift, we have found by  examineing the Law that a gift cannot be retained without this—15

This direction reiterates JS’s previous counsel to Edward Partridge to refine the process of making deeds of consecration and land stewardship in Jackson County. (Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  


The truth  triumphs gloriously in the East, Multitudes are embraceing it.16

Gideon Carter wrote to Missouri church leaders, stating, “The work is prospering in all the regions round about, especially east, much addition is made to several churches, and new ones are springing up. Brother Jared has been to Michigan and raised up three small ones.” Sylvester Smith likewise wrote: “It is about six weeks since I left Kirtland to take a mission to the east; since which time I have visited twelve churches, and passed three others, in coming to this place: all of which are nearly in the course from Kirtland to Chenango, New York: so grows, and so spreads the mighty work of the Lord. Some of said churches are composed of nearly one hundred members; and, in nearly all of them, the work is still going on. With some few exceptions, union prevails among them.” (“Progress of the Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 108.)  


I 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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who write this  letter in behalf of the Presidency

Both the office of the president of the high priesthood and the body comprising the president and his counselors; the presiding body of the church. In November 1831, a revelation directed the appointment of a president of the high priesthood. The individual...

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have had the privilege of seeing my aged Mother  Baptized

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...

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into the faith of the Gospel a few weeks since at the advanced age of  seventy five, she now resides with me.17

Nancy Gallaher Rigdon was actually seventy-four years old at this time. A former longstanding resident of the Pittsburgh area, she was born in 1759. A later history of Luke Johnson states that Johnson, while on a proselytizing mission with Sidney Rigdon, baptized Rigdon’s mother; Johnson stated, “We journeyed to Pittsburgh to the place where Sidney was born & raised, here we preached the Gospel to his relatives & I baptized his mother & his oldest brother & several others & organized a branch.” (“History of Luke Johnson,” [2], Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861, CHL.)  


We send by this mail a draft of the City of  Zion with explanations, and a draft of the house to be built immediately 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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for  the presidency as well as all purposes of Religion and instruction.18 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 Stake

Ecclesiastical organization of church members in a particular locale. Stakes were typically large local organizations of church members; stake leaders could include a presidency, a high council, and a bishopric. Some revelations referred to stakes “to” or...

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 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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,19

According to a JS revelation, Jackson County was the primary gathering place for members of the church at this time, while Kirtland was designated as a temporary gathering place, known as the stake of Zion. (See Revelation, 4 June 1833 [D&C 96:1].)  


is strengthening continually, when they [the?] enemies look at her, they wag their  heads and march along.20

See Jeremiah 18:16; and Lamentations 2:15.  


We anticipate the day when the enemies will have fled away  and be far from us.21

See Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:66–67].  


You will remember that the power of agency must be signed  by the wives as well as their husbands, and the wives must be examined separate &  apart from the husband the same as signing a deed, and a specification to that effect  inserted at the bottom by the Justice before whom said acknowledgement is made,  otherwise the power will be of non[e] effect.22

It was standard legal practice at the time for both the husband and the wife to sign a deed transaction. For example, when JS and Emma Smith bought property from her parents, Isaac and Elizabeth Hale, both Isaac and Elizabeth signed the transaction in the presence of a local justice of the peace. Written on the bottom of the deed is testimony that Elizabeth Hale, “being of proper age & being examined Apart from her Said husband,” signed the deed “of her own free will & not from any fear” of her husband. (Deed from Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Hale, 25 Aug. 1830.)  


Clarrissa Bachellor23

Possibly Clarissa Nye Bachelor Blaisdell. (See Vital Records of Salisbury, Massachusetts, 20, 266; 1840 U.S. Census, Salisbury, Essex Co., MA, 297; Hyde, Journal, 30 July 1832; and Samuel Smith, Diary, 30 July 1832.)  


of Boston

Capital city located on eastern seaboard of Massachusetts at mouth of Charles River. Founded by English Puritans, 1630; received city charter, 1822. Population in 1820 about 43,000; in 1830 about 61,000; and in 1840 about 93,000. JS’s ancestor Robert Smith...

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wants  her paper24

The Evening and the Morning Star.  


discontinued because she has gone from the place, and she has turned  from the faith. Send a paper to Joshua Baley25

Probably Joshua Bailey, father of Mary Bailey, who later married JS’s brother Samuel Smith. (See Geauga Co., OH, Probate Court, Marriage Records, 1806–1920, vol. C, p. 60, 13 Aug. 1834, microfilm 873,461, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  


Andover Vermont26

Located in the south-central region of the state, Andover was about fifty-five miles southeast of Benson, Vermont.  


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In the first six months of 1833, communication characterized by accusations and chastisement between church leaders 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 those 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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transitioned to messages, such as the letter featured here, that aimed at conciliation and developing a spirit of “perfect harmony.” Correspondence from Missouri, including responses to JS’s letters of 21 April 1833 and 2 May 1833, in part prompted this letter, which addressed inquiries on diverse topics, including consecration

The dedicating of money, lands, goods, or one’s own life for sacred purposes. Both the New Testament and Book of Mormon referred to some groups having “all things common” economically; the Book of Mormon also referred to individuals who consecrated or dedicated...

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, the Book of Commandments, new bishoprics

Initially referred to a bishop’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction, but eventually described the ecclesiastical body comprising the bishop and his assistants, or counselors. John Corrill and Isaac Morley were called as assistants to Bishop Edward Partridge in 1831...

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in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Missouri, and 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...

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’s operations and membership.1

This 25 June letter addresses similar topics to those found in the April and May 1833 letters from Kirtland, Ohio, particularly the introduction of Frederick G. Williams as a member of the United Firm and the law of consecration. The repeated discussion of these topics suggests that, after receiving the two letters in April and May, Missouri church leaders had more questions concerning these matters and that this letter was part of an ongoing conversation. (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 21 Apr. 1833; Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  


This letter also included warnings against teaching false doctrine and responded to a question as to whether JS had yet obtained any of the lost books of the Bible.
The letter was part of a package, with two other documents enclosed with it: “a draft of the City of Zion with explanations, and a draft of the house to be built immediately 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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for the presidency

An organized body of leaders over priesthood quorums and other ecclesiastical organizations. A November 1831 revelation first described the office of president over the high priesthood and the church as a whole. By 1832, JS and two counselors constituted ...

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as well as all purposes of Religion and instruction.” This letter gave directions concerning these two other documents. The “house to be built immediately in Zion,” for instance, was to be similar to the House of the Lord

JS revelation, dated Jan. 1831, directed Latter-day Saints to migrate to Ohio, where they would “be endowed with power from on high.” In Dec. 1832, JS revelation directed Saints to “establish . . . an house of God.” JS revelation, dated 1 June 1833, chastened...

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that church leaders had begun constructing 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.2 It was one of the twenty-four houses of the Lord, or temples, planned to be built in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, according to the explanations given in the two documents that accompanied this letter.3 This letter also advised Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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church leaders that should they “not understand the explanations,” they should send any questions or concerns to leaders in Kirtland so that they “may have a propper understanding” of the city plat and the architectural plan of the House of the Lord. The drafting and sending of the documents in this package represent a significant moment in the articulation of the church presidency’s vision for the growing church 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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.
This letter and the two enclosed documents were postmarked 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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on 26 June 1833. By the time church leaders in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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received the package on 29 July 1833, violent confrontations with antagonistic county residents had already occurred. 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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and 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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immediately replied to this letter to inform the Kirtland leaders of the growing unrest.4 Such events prevented 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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church leaders from following many of the directions given in this letter.
Though in the handwriting of 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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and 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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, the letter is written primarily in the first-person voice 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...

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, who was writing on behalf of the presidency of the high priesthood

Both the office of the president of the high priesthood and the body comprising the president and his counselors; the presiding body of the church. In November 1831, a revelation directed the appointment of a president of the high priesthood. The individual...

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. The letter also contains a postscript from JS.

Facts