30477

Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, 25 June 1833

Should you not understand the explanations Sent with the drafts you will inform us, so as you may have a propper understanding, for it is meet that all things should be done according to the pattern—27

Elsewhere the presidency had written that the “pattern” for the city of Zion and its first temple had been “given us of the Lord.” Church leaders in Missouri did have questions about the explanations sent to them, and on 13 August 1833, Bishop Edward Partridge wrote from Jackson County seeking clarification. (Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833; Letter to Vienna Jaques, 4 Sept. 1833.)  


The following errors we have found in the commandments

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
as printed 40th. Chap 10th. verse third line, instead of corruptable put corrupted28 14 verse of the same chapter 5th. line instead of respecter to persons, put respecter of persons.29 21st. verse 2nd. line of the same chapter, instead of respecter to, put respecter of30 44 Chapter 12 verse last line, instead of hands, put heads—31

Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Book of Commandments 44:12 [D&C 42:11]. This and the three previous locators refer to passages in the Book of Commandments, a compilation of previously dictated revelations. Either the presidency was correcting page proofs, or they were noticing errors in the final printed signatures. The printing establishment in Missouri was destroyed and publication halted before William W. Phelps received these corrections, but in any case the printing of the signatures containing these revelations had been completed. In the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, only two of these changes were made: those to chapter 40, verse 14, line 5, and to chapter 44, verse 12, line 6. The other two changes listed here were made in the 1876 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, perhaps as a result of a later study of this letter. (See Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 12:3, 4, 5, 1835 ed. [D&C 38:11, 16, 26]; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 13:4, 1835 ed. [D&C 42:11]; “‘Regulating’ the Mormonites,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 9 Aug. 1833, [3]; and Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833.)  


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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Sir, I proceed to answer your questions concerning the 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...

View Glossary
of Property.32

Whether these inquiries were written before or after Bishop Edward Partridge received JS’s 2 May 1833 letter is unknown. The issues addressed here, however, seem to deal with different aspects of consecration than what is found in the May letter, which offers counsel on how to legally prevent those leaving the church from reclaiming property they had formerly consecrated for the use of the poor. (Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  


First, it is not right to condescend to verry great paticulars in takeing inventories. the fact is this, that a man is bound by the law of the church to consecrate to the 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...

View Glossary
before he can be considered a legal heir to the Kingdom 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 ...

View Glossary
, and this too, without constraint, and unless he does this, he cannot be acknowledged before the Lord on the Church Book.33

Seven months earlier, JS wrote, “It is conterary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not the inherttenc [inheritance] by consecration agree[a]ble to his law . . . should have there names enrolled with the people of God, neithe[r] is the[ir] geneology to be kept or to be had where it may be found on any of the reccords or hystory of the church there names shall not be found neithe[r] the names of ther fathers or the names of the[ir] children writen in the book of the Law of God saith the Lord of hosts.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832.)  


Therefore, to condescend to particulars, I will tell you that every man must be his own judge how much he should receive, and how much he should suffer to remain in the hands of the Bishop. I speak of those who consecrate more than they need for the support of themselves and family The matter of consecration must be done by the mutual consent of both parties— For, to give the Bishop power to say how much every man shall have and he be obliged to comply with the Bishops judgment, is giveing to the Bishop more power than a King has and upon the other hand, to let every man say how much he needs and the Bishop obliged to comply with his judgment, is to throw Zion into confusion and make a Slave of the Bishop. The fact is, there must be a balance or equalibrium of power between the bishop and the people, and thus harmony and good will may be preserved among you. Therefore, those persons consecrating property to the 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...

More Info
, and then receiveing an inheritance

Generally referred to land promised by or received from God for the church and its members. A January 1831 revelation promised church members a land of inheritance. In March and May 1831, JS dictated revelations commanding members “to purchase lands for an...

View Glossary
back, must show reasonably to the Bishop that he wants as much as he claims. but in case the two parties cannot come to a mutual agreement, the Bishop is to have nothing to do about receiveing their consecrations and the case must be laid before a council

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

View Glossary
of twelve high Priests

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

View Glossary
, the Bishop not being one of the council, but he is to lay the case before them.34

See Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:78–80].  


Say to Bro 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
that we have no means in our power to assist him in a pecuniary point, as we know not the hour when we shall be Sued for debts which we have contracted ourselves in New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

More Info
.35

This is a possible reference to the debt Newel K. Whitney acquired the previous fall when procuring goods in New York for his store, which operated under the governance of the United Firm. (See Minutes, ca. 1 May 1832; Letter to Emma Smith, 13 Oct. 1832; and Frederick G. Williams, Kirtland, OH, to “Dear Brethren,” 10 Oct. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 56–60.)  


Say to him that he must exert himself to the utmost to obtain means himself to replenish his Store

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, directed A. Sidney Gilbert, Newel K. Whitney’s Ohio business partner, to establish store in Independence. Gilbert first purchased vacated log courthouse, located on lot 59 at intersection of Lynn and Lexington Streets, to...

More Info
for it must be replenished and it is his duty to attend to it.36

In 1831 Sidney Gilbert was appointed church agent and directed to open a store in Jackson County for the church. Gilbert’s store, an asset of the United Firm, was expected to generate profits for land purchases and for the bishop’s storehouse that could then be used to assist the poor and to finance other projects, including printing church publications under the direction of the Literary Firm. Although this goal would have been difficult to achieve in the best of circumstances, in January 1833 Gilbert was rebuked for having “fearfulness that God will not provide for his saints in their last days and these fears lead him on to covitousness, This ought not so to be, but let him do just as the Lord has commanded him and then the Lord will open his coffers, and his wants will be liberally supplied.” Consistent with that earlier counsel, here the presidency denied Gilbert’s request for financial aid and reminded him that it was his duty, not theirs, to find a way to restock the store and thereby generate funds needed for church operations in Jackson County. (Revelation, 8 June 1831 [D&C 53:4]; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:8–10]; Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 14 Jan. 1833.)  


We were not a little surprised to hear that some of our letters of a public nature which we sent for the good of 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
have been kept back from the Bishop

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
, this is conduct which we highly disapprobate,37

JS had previously expressed his displeasure that letters sent to Missouri addressed to one leader or generically to the “brethren” were not freely circulated among the other leaders or the entire congregation when applicable. A similar sentiment is reiterated by JS in the postscript to this letter. (Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  


Answers to queries in Bro Phelps William W. Phelps’s

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
letter of June 4th.38

This letter has not been located.  


First in relation to the poor, when the Bishops are appointed according to our reccommendation, it will involve upon them to see to the poor according to the laws of the church

Principles given to the church and its members in February 1831 revelations. In January 1831, a revelation promised the saints in New York that the law would be given after they gathered in Ohio. Once in Ohio, on 9 and 23 February 1831, JS dictated two revelations...

View Glossary
.39

Bishops were charged with managing the consecrations and inheritances of church members and looking after the poor among them. Just days after a revelation called Edward Partridge as bishop, another revelation known as “the Law” directed that the residue of members’ consecrations “shall be kept in my store house to administer to the poor and needy as shall be appointed by . . . the Bishop.” Another revelation likewise told Kirtland bishop Newel K. Whitney of his responsibility to “travel round about and among all the churches searching after the poor to administer to ther wants by humbling the rich and the proud.” (Revelation, 4 Feb. 1831 [D&C 41:9]; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:34]; Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:112].)  


In regard to the printing of the New translation it cannot be done until we can attend to it ourselves, and this we will do as soon as the Lord permit—40

The “New translation” refers to JS’s inspired revision of the Bible. On 2 February 1833, Frederick G. Williams recorded that JS had finished his revision work on the New Testament and that it was “sealed up no more to be broken till it goes to Zion.” In early July, a letter from the presidency to Missouri leaders indicated that JS had completed work on the Old Testament. In April, JS clarified that “it is not the will of the Lord to print any of the new translation in the Star but when it is published it will all go to the world together in a volume by itself.” The comment here, however, suggests that publication plans were changing. Indeed, six weeks later, the presidency wrote, “You will see by these revelations that we have to print the new translation here at kirtland for which we will prepare as soon as possible.” In that letter, the presidency clarified that the Church of Christ would publish two editions of the scriptures simultaneously, one in Kirtland and one in Jackson County. (Minute Book 1, 2 Feb. 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 2 July 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 21 Apr. 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 6 Aug. 1833; see also Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–B [D&C 94:10].)  


As 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...

View Full Bio
, all members 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
are considered one,41

See Revelation, 15 Mar. 1833 [D&C 92].  


The order of the literary firm

The branch of the United Firm responsible for church publications. In November 1831, a revelation appointed JS, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Sidney Rigdon, and William W. Phelps as “stewards over the revelations & commandments.” In March 1832...

View Glossary
is a matter of stewardship

One who managed property and goods under the law of consecration; also someone given a specific ecclesiastical responsibility. According to the “Laws of the Church of Christ,” members of the church were to make donations to the bishop, who would record the...

View Glossary
which is of the greatest importance and the mercantile establishment God 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
to be devoted to the support thereof, and God will bring every transgressor into judgment.42

While it is not clear exactly to whom this warning is directed, it may have been meant for Sidney Gilbert, who, as noted earlier in this letter, seems to have been unable to earn an adequate profit in the store he ran for the United Firm in Jackson County. The store’s unprofitability or Gilbert’s use of proceeds from the mercantile establishment for unauthorized purposes would have compromised plans to publish the scriptures.  


Say to the Brethren Hulits and to all others that the Lord never authorized them to say that the Devil nor his angels nor the Sons of perdition43

The phrase “Sons of perdition” is also found in the written account of a JS and Sidney Rigdon vision dated February 1832. The vision outlined three levels of heavenly glory and stated that the “sons of perdition” were excluded from any of those three levels. (Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76:43–44].)  


should ever be restored,44

“Brethren Hulits” refers to Charles and Sylvester Hulet. Sylvester Hulet was again reprimanded the following year because “the Hulet branch believed that they recieved the word of the Lord by the gift of tongues and would not proceed to their temporal business without recieving the word of the Lord. Silvester would speak and Sally Crandle interpreted. Said that they would not recieve the teachings of ordained members even br. Joseph Smith jr. unless it agreed with their gifts.” (Minute Book 2, 6–7 Aug. 1834; see also Minute Book 2, 31 July–1 Aug. 1834.)  


for their state of destiny was not revealed to man, is not revealed, nor ever shall be revealed save to those who are made partakers thereof, consequently, those who teach this doctrine have not received it of the Spirit of the Lord, Truly, Bro 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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declared it to be the doctrine of devils.45

See 1 Timothy 4:1.  


We therefore, command that this doctrine [p. [2]]
Should you not understand the explanations Sent with the drafts you will inform  us, so as you may have a propper understanding, for it is meet that all things sh ould be done according to the pattern—27

Elsewhere the presidency had written that the “pattern” for the city of Zion and its first temple had been “given us of the Lord.” Church leaders in Missouri did have questions about the explanations sent to them, and on 13 August 1833, Bishop Edward Partridge wrote from Jackson County seeking clarification. (Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833; Letter to Vienna Jaques, 4 Sept. 1833.)  


The following errors we have found in the co mmandments

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
as printed 40th. Chap 10th. verse third line, instead of corruptable put corrupted28  14 verse of the same chapter 5th. line instead of respecter to persons, put respecter  of persons.29 21st. verse 2nd. line of the same chapter, instead of respecter to, put respecter  of30 44 Chapter 12 verse last line, instead of hands, put heads—31

Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Book of Commandments 44:12 [D&C 42:11]. This and the three previous locators refer to passages in the Book of Commandments, a compilation of previously dictated revelations. Either the presidency was correcting page proofs, or they were noticing errors in the final printed signatures. The printing establishment in Missouri was destroyed and publication halted before William W. Phelps received these corrections, but in any case the printing of the signatures containing these revelations had been completed. In the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, only two of these changes were made: those to chapter 40, verse 14, line 5, and to chapter 44, verse 12, line 6. The other two changes listed here were made in the 1876 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, perhaps as a result of a later study of this letter. (See Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 12:3, 4, 5, 1835 ed. [D&C 38:11, 16, 26]; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 13:4, 1835 ed. [D&C 42:11]; “‘Regulating’ the Mormonites,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 9 Aug. 1833, [3]; and Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833.)  


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...

View Full Bio
 Sir, I proceed to answer your questions concerning the 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...

View Glossary
of Property.32

Whether these inquiries were written before or after Bishop Edward Partridge received JS’s 2 May 1833 letter is unknown. The issues addressed here, however, seem to deal with different aspects of consecration than what is found in the May letter, which offers counsel on how to legally prevent those leaving the church from reclaiming property they had formerly consecrated for the use of the poor. (Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  


First,  it is not right to condescend to verry great paticulars in takeing inventories. the fact is  this, that a man is bound by the law of the church to consecrate to the 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...

View Glossary
 before he can be considered a legal heir to the Kingdom 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 ...

View Glossary
, and this too,  without constraint, and unless he does this, he cannot be acknowledged before  the Lord on the Church Book.33

Seven months earlier, JS wrote, “It is conterary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not the inherttenc [inheritance] by consecration agree[a]ble to his law . . . should have there names enrolled with the people of God, neithe[r] is the[ir] geneology to be kept or to be had where it may be found on any of the reccords or hystory of the church there names shall not be found neithe[r] the names of ther fathers or the names of the[ir] children writen in the book of the Law of God saith the Lord of hosts.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832.)  


Therefore, to condescend to particulars, I will tell  you that every man must be his own judge how much he should receive, and  how much he should suffer to remain in the hands of the Bishop. I speak of  those who consecrate more than they need for the support of themselves and family  The matter of consecration must be done by the mutual consent of both parties— For,  to give the Bishop power to say how much every man shall have and he be obliged  to comply with the Bishops judgment, is giveing to the Bishop more power than a King has  and upon the other hand, to let every man say how much he needs and the Bishop  obliged to comply with his judgment, is to throw Zion into confusion and make a  Slave of the Bishop. The fact is, there must be a balance or equalibrium of  power between the bishop and the people, and thus harmony and good will  may be preserved among you. Therefore, those persons consecrating property to the  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...

More Info
, and then receiveing an inheritance

Generally referred to land promised by or received from God for the church and its members. A January 1831 revelation promised church members a land of inheritance. In March and May 1831, JS dictated revelations commanding members “to purchase lands for an...

View Glossary
back, must show reasonably  to the Bishop that he wants as much as he claims. but in case the two parties  can<not> come to a mutual agreement, the Bishop is to have nothing to do  about receiveing their consecrations and the case must be laid before a council

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

View Glossary
of  twelve high Priests

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

View Glossary
, the Bishop not being one of the council, but he is to lay the  case before them.34

See Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:78–80].  


Say to Bro 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
that we have no means in our power to  assist him in a pecuniary point, as we know not the hour when we shall  be Sued for debts which we have contracted ourselves in N[ew] York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

More Info
.35

This is a possible reference to the debt Newel K. Whitney acquired the previous fall when procuring goods in New York for his store, which operated under the governance of the United Firm. (See Minutes, ca. 1 May 1832; Letter to Emma Smith, 13 Oct. 1832; and Frederick G. Williams, Kirtland, OH, to “Dear Brethren,” 10 Oct. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 56–60.)  


Say to him  that he must exert himself to the utmost to obtain means himself to replenish  his Store

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, directed A. Sidney Gilbert, Newel K. Whitney’s Ohio business partner, to establish store in Independence. Gilbert first purchased vacated log courthouse, located on lot 59 at intersection of Lynn and Lexington Streets, to...

More Info
for it must be replenished and it is his duty to attend to it.36

In 1831 Sidney Gilbert was appointed church agent and directed to open a store in Jackson County for the church. Gilbert’s store, an asset of the United Firm, was expected to generate profits for land purchases and for the bishop’s storehouse that could then be used to assist the poor and to finance other projects, including printing church publications under the direction of the Literary Firm. Although this goal would have been difficult to achieve in the best of circumstances, in January 1833 Gilbert was rebuked for having “fearfulness that God will not provide for his saints in their last days and these fears lead him on to covitousness, This ought not so to be, but let him do just as the Lord has commanded him and then the Lord will open his coffers, and his wants will be liberally supplied.” Consistent with that earlier counsel, here the presidency denied Gilbert’s request for financial aid and reminded him that it was his duty, not theirs, to find a way to restock the store and thereby generate funds needed for church operations in Jackson County. (Revelation, 8 June 1831 [D&C 53:4]; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:8–10]; Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 14 Jan. 1833.)  


We  were not a little surprised to hear that some of our letters of a public nature  which we sent for the good of 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
<have been> kept back from the Bishop

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
, this is cond uct which we highly disapprobate,37

JS had previously expressed his displeasure that letters sent to Missouri addressed to one leader or generically to the “brethren” were not freely circulated among the other leaders or the entire congregation when applicable. A similar sentiment is reiterated by JS in the postscript to this letter. (Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  


Answers to queries in Bro Phelps [William W. Phelps’s]

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
letter of June  4th.38

This letter has not been located.  


First in relation to the poor, when the Bishops are appointed according to  our reccommendation, it will involve upon them to see to the poor according to  the laws of the church

Principles given to the church and its members in February 1831 revelations. In January 1831, a revelation promised the saints in New York that the law would be given after they gathered in Ohio. Once in Ohio, on 9 and 23 February 1831, JS dictated two revelations...

View Glossary
.39

Bishops were charged with managing the consecrations and inheritances of church members and looking after the poor among them. Just days after a revelation called Edward Partridge as bishop, another revelation known as “the Law” directed that the residue of members’ consecrations “shall be kept in my store house to administer to the poor and needy as shall be appointed by . . . the Bishop.” Another revelation likewise told Kirtland bishop Newel K. Whitney of his responsibility to “travel round about and among all the churches searching after the poor to administer to ther wants by humbling the rich and the proud.” (Revelation, 4 Feb. 1831 [D&C 41:9]; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:34]; Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:112].)  


In regard to the printing of the New translation it  cannot be done until we can attend to it ourselves, and this we will do as soon  as the Lord permit—40

The “New translation” refers to JS’s inspired revision of the Bible. On 2 February 1833, Frederick G. Williams recorded that JS had finished his revision work on the New Testament and that it was “sealed up no more to be broken till it goes to Zion.” In early July, a letter from the presidency to Missouri leaders indicated that JS had completed work on the Old Testament. In April, JS clarified that “it is not the will of the Lord to print any of the new translation in the Star but when it is published it will all go to the world together in a volume by itself.” The comment here, however, suggests that publication plans were changing. Indeed, six weeks later, the presidency wrote, “You will see by these revelations that we have to print the new translation here at kirtland for which we will prepare as soon as possible.” In that letter, the presidency clarified that the Church of Christ would publish two editions of the scriptures simultaneously, one in Kirtland and one in Jackson County. (Minute Book 1, 2 Feb. 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 2 July 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 21 Apr. 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 6 Aug. 1833; see also Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–B [D&C 94:10].)  


As 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...

View Full Bio
, all members 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...

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are  considered one,41

See Revelation, 15 Mar. 1833 [D&C 92].  


The order of the literary firm

The branch of the United Firm responsible for church publications. In November 1831, a revelation appointed JS, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Sidney Rigdon, and William W. Phelps as “stewards over the revelations & commandments.” In March 1832...

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is a matter of stewardship

One who managed property and goods under the law of consecration; also someone given a specific ecclesiastical responsibility. According to the “Laws of the Church of Christ,” members of the church were to make donations to the bishop, who would record the...

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 which is of the greatest importance and the mercantile establishment God com manded

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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for to be devoted to the support thereof, and God will bring every  transgressor into judgment.42

While it is not clear exactly to whom this warning is directed, it may have been meant for Sidney Gilbert, who, as noted earlier in this letter, seems to have been unable to earn an adequate profit in the store he ran for the United Firm in Jackson County. The store’s unprofitability or Gilbert’s use of proceeds from the mercantile establishment for unauthorized purposes would have compromised plans to publish the scriptures.  


Say to the Brethren Hulits and to all others  that the Lord never authorized them to say that the Devil nor his angels  nor the Sons of perdition43

The phrase “Sons of perdition” is also found in the written account of a JS and Sidney Rigdon vision dated February 1832. The vision outlined three levels of heavenly glory and stated that the “sons of perdition” were excluded from any of those three levels. (Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76:43–44].)  


should ever be restored,44

“Brethren Hulits” refers to Charles and Sylvester Hulet. Sylvester Hulet was again reprimanded the following year because “the Hulet branch believed that they recieved the word of the Lord by the gift of tongues and would not proceed to their temporal business without recieving the word of the Lord. Silvester would speak and Sally Crandle interpreted. Said that they would not recieve the teachings of ordained members even br. Joseph Smith jr. unless it agreed with their gifts.” (Minute Book 2, 6–7 Aug. 1834; see also Minute Book 2, 31 July–1 Aug. 1834.)  


for their state of destiny  was not revealed to man, is not revealed, nor ever shall be revealed save to  those who are made partakers thereof, consequently, those who teach this doctrine  have not received it of the Spirit of the Lord, Truly, Bro 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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declared it  to be the doctrine of devils.45

See 1 Timothy 4:1.  


We therefore, command that this doctrine [p. [2]]
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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.

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