30475

Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 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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Ohio May 2d 1833
Beloved Brother 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...

View Full Bio
,
I commence answering your letter & sincere request to me, by begging your pardon for not having addressed you, more particularly in letters which I have written to 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
, for I have always felt, as though a letter written to any one in authority in Zion, would be the property of all, & it mattered but little to whom it was directed.1

Partridge may have complained to JS that letters containing important administrative counsel had not been addressed to him. JS repeated his displeasure the following month to Missouri church leaders that “some of our letters of a public nature which we sent for the good of Zion have been kept back from the Bishop, this is conduct which we highly disapprobate.” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 25 June 1833, underlining in original.)  


But I am satisfied that this is an error, for instruction that is given pointedly, and expressly to us, designating our names as individuals, seems to have double power and influence over our minds, I am thankful to the Lord for the testimony of his spirit, which he has given me, concerning your honesty, and sincerity before him,2

Several months earlier, JS expressed a similar reliance on revelation in determining a colleague’s character when he wrote to William W. Phelps, “In the love of God having the most implicit confidence in you as a man of God having obtained this confidence by a vision of heavn therefore I will procede to unfold to you some of the feelings of my heart.” Though on a number of occasions during the previous two years Edward Partridge had been corrected and chastened by revelation, his honesty and integrity were never questioned. Indeed, the February 1831 revelation calling him to be bishop likened him “unto Nathaniel of old in whome there is no guile.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832; Revelation, 9 May 1831 [D&C 50:39]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:14–15]; Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831 [D&C 64:17]; Revelation, 4 Feb. 1831 [D&C 41:11].)  


and the Lord loveth you, and also 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
, for he chasteneth whom he loveth, and scourgeth every son & daughter whom he receiveth,3

See Hebrews 12:6; Revelation 3:19; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 447–448 [Helaman 15:3].  


and he, will not suffer you to be confounded,4

One of the definitions for confounded in Webster’s 1828 dictionary is “put to shame and silence.” (“Confounded,” in American Dictionary; see also Psalm 22:5; 1 Peter 2:6; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 76 [2 Nephi 7:7].)  


and of this thing you may rest assured, notwithstanding, all the threatning of the enemy, and your perils among false brethren,5

See 2 Corinthians 11:26.  


For verily I say unto you, that this is my prayer, and I verily believe the prayer of all the saints in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

More Info
, recorded in heaven, in these words, Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ thy son, preserve brother 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
, 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
of thy church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
, and give him wisdom, knowledge & power, & the holy ghost, that he may impart to thy saints 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
. their 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
, & to every man his portion of meat in due season,6

See Luke 12:42.  


and now, this is our confidence & record on high, therefore fear not little flock, for it has been your fathers good will to give you the kingdom,8

See Luke 12:32  


. and now, I will proceed to tell you my views, concerning 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
, property, and giving inheritances &c. The law of the Lord,9

See Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:1–72]; and Revelation, 23 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:74–93]. The earliest version of the “law of the Lord” included this directive: “Behold thou shalt consecrate all thy properties that which thou hast unto me with a covenant & a deed which cannot be Broken.” (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Revelation Book 1, p. 64 [D&C 42:30]; for later instructions regarding consecration, see Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51]; Revelation, 15 June 1831 [D&C 56]; Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70]; Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–A [D&C 73:3–8]; Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–B [D&C 72:9–23]; Revelation, 1 Mar. 1832 [D&C 78:3–12]; Revelation, 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82:11–24]; Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832; and Revelation, 23 Apr. 1834, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 192–198 [D&C 104]; see also Parkin, “Joseph Smith and the United Firm,” 5–66.)  


binds you to receive, whatsoever property is consecrated, by deed, The consecrated property, is considered the residue kept for the Lords store house

Both a literal and a figurative repository for goods and land donated to the church. The book of Malachi directed the house of Israel to bring “all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house.” In JS’s revision of the Old Testament...

View Glossary
, and it is given for this consideration, for to purchase inheritaces for the poor,10

After property was initially consecrated, the bishop was to “appoint every man a Steward over his own property or that which he hath received in as much as shall be sufficient for him self and family & the residue shall be kept to administer to him that hath not that every man may receive according as he stands in need & the residue shall be kept in my store house to administer to the poor and needy.” Given the vague instructions that appear in previous revelations, it is unclear if JS considered the stewardship as private or church property before this letter. The 9 February 1831 revelation, for instance, stated that the bishop “shall appoint every man a Steward over his own property.” The same revelation declared, “It shall come to pass that he that sinneth & rep[e]nteth not shall be cast out & shall not receive again that which he hath consecrated unto me.” Regarding consecrated property, the 20 May 1831 revelation specifically told Partridge that the steward was to “hold it of the Church.” Such ambiguous phrases in the revelations—such as “his own property,” “not receive again,” and “hold it of the Church”—might also explain why Partridge initially considered the inheritances to be property of the church. (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:32–34, 37]; Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51:4].)  


this, any man has a right to do, agreeable to all laws of our country, to donate, give or consecrate all that he feels disposed to give, and it is your duty, to see that whatsoever is given, is given legally, therefore, it must be given for the consideration of the poor saints, and in this way no man can take any advantage of you in law,11

A week before JS wrote this letter, news of a court case in which an individual sued Partridge over consecrated property was published in the northeastern Ohio area. (“Mormonism,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 26 Apr. 1833, [3]; see also “The Elders Stationed in Zion to the Churches Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 110; and “Still Later from Mount Zion,” Cincinnati Journal, 22 Mar. 1833, 46.)  


Again, concerning inheritances, you are bound by the law of the Lord, to give a deed, secureing to him who receives inheritances, his inheritance, for an everlasting inheritance, or in other words, to be his individual property, his privat 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
, and if he is found a transgressor & should be cut off, out of the church, his inheritance is his still and he is dilivered over to the buffetings of satan

A fallen angel, or son of God, known by many names, including Lucifer, the devil, the father of lies, the prince of darkness, perdition, and the adversary. In the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s Bible revisions, Satan was described as a tempter of men...

View Glossary
, till the day of redemption,12

For other uses of the phrase “delivered over to the buffetings of satan until the day of redemption,” see Revelation, 1 Mar. 1832 [D&C 78:12]; and Minutes, 22–23 Jan. 1833.  


But the property which he consecrated to the poor, for their benefit, & inheritance, & stewardship, he cannot obtain again by the law of the Lord, Thus you see the propriety of this law, that rich men cannot have power to disinherit the poor by obtaining again that which they have consecrated, which is the residue, signified in the law, that you will find in the second paragraph of the extract from the law, in the second number,13

This refers to part of a 9 February 1831 revelation published as “Extract from the Laws for the Government of the Church of Christ” in the second issue of The Evening and the Morning Star in July 1832. The consecration of property is actually discussed in the third paragraph. (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in “Extract from the Laws for the Government of the Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [1] [D&C 42:29–41].)  


And now brother 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
, be assured that we all feel thankful, that the brethren in Zion

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

More Info
are beginning to humble themselves, & trying to keep 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
of the Lord,14

In previous months, there had been significant misunderstandings between church leaders in Missouri and those in Ohio. (See Letter to William W. Phelps, 11 Jan. 1833; and Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 21 Apr. 1833.)  


which is our prayer to God, you may all be able to do, and now, may the grace of God be with all, amen.
Joseph Smith Jun
The above is a true copy of a letter, directed & sent, & subscribed agreeable thereto [p. [1]]
Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

More Info
Ohio May 2d 1833
Beloved Brother 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...

View Full Bio
,
I commence answering your letter &  sincere request to me, by begging your pardon for not having  addressed you, more particularly in letters which I have written to  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
, for I have always felt, as though a letter written to any one  in authority in Zion, would be the property of all, & it mattered but  little to whom it was directed.1

Partridge may have complained to JS that letters containing important administrative counsel had not been addressed to him. JS repeated his displeasure the following month to Missouri church leaders that “some of our letters of a public nature which we sent for the good of Zion have been kept back from the Bishop, this is conduct which we highly disapprobate.” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 25 June 1833, underlining in original.)  


But I am satisfied that this is an  error, for instruction that is given pointedly, and expressly to us,  designating our names as individuals, seems to have double power  and influence over our minds, I am thankful to the Lord for  the testimony of his spirit, which he has given me, concerning your honesty,  and sincerity before him,2

Several months earlier, JS expressed a similar reliance on revelation in determining a colleague’s character when he wrote to William W. Phelps, “In the love of God having the most implicit confidence in you as a man of God having obtained this confidence by a vision of heavn therefore I will procede to unfold to you some of the feelings of my heart.” Though on a number of occasions during the previous two years Edward Partridge had been corrected and chastened by revelation, his honesty and integrity were never questioned. Indeed, the February 1831 revelation calling him to be bishop likened him “unto Nathaniel of old in whome there is no guile.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832; Revelation, 9 May 1831 [D&C 50:39]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:14–15]; Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831 [D&C 64:17]; Revelation, 4 Feb. 1831 [D&C 41:11].)  


and the Lord loveth you, and also 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
, for  he chasteneth whom he loveth, and scourgeth every son & daughter whom he  receiveth,3

See Hebrews 12:6; Revelation 3:19; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 447–448 [Helaman 15:3].  


and he, will not suffer you to be confounded,4

One of the definitions for confounded in Webster’s 1828 dictionary is “put to shame and silence.” (“Confounded,” in American Dictionary; see also Psalm 22:5; 1 Peter 2:6; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 76 [2 Nephi 7:7].)  


and of this thing you  may rest assured, notwithstanding, all the threatning of the enemy, and your  perils among false brethren,5

See 2 Corinthians 11:26.  


For verily I say unto you, that this is my  prayer, and I verily believe the prayer of all the saints in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

More Info
, recorded  in heaven, in these words, Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ thy son, pre serve brother 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
, 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
of thy church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
, and give him wisdom, knowledge  & power, & the holy ghost, that he may impart to thy saints 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
. their  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
, & to every man his portion of meat in due season,6

See Luke 12:42.  


and  now, this is our confidence & record on high, therefore fear not little flock, for it  has been your fathers good will to giv[e]7

TEXT: With the exception of the supplied character in “b[r]other” at the end of this paragraph, all bracketed insertions in this document supply characters missing because of holes in the paper.  


you the king[dom],8

See Luke 12:32  


. and now, I will  proceed to tell you my views, concerning 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
, property, and giving  inheritances &c. The law of the Lord,9

See Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:1–72]; and Revelation, 23 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:74–93]. The earliest version of the “law of the Lord” included this directive: “Behold thou shalt consecrate all thy properties that which thou hast unto me with a covenant & a deed which cannot be Broken.” (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Revelation Book 1, p. 64 [D&C 42:30]; for later instructions regarding consecration, see Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51]; Revelation, 15 June 1831 [D&C 56]; Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70]; Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–A [D&C 73:3–8]; Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–B [D&C 72:9–23]; Revelation, 1 Mar. 1832 [D&C 78:3–12]; Revelation, 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82:11–24]; Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832; and Revelation, 23 Apr. 1834, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 192–198 [D&C 104]; see also Parkin, “Joseph Smith and the United Firm,” 5–66.)  


binds you to receive, whatsoever property  is consecrated, by deed, The consecrated property, is considered the residue  kept for the Lords store house

Both a literal and a figurative repository for goods and land donated to the church. The book of Malachi directed the house of Israel to bring “all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house.” In JS’s revision of the Old Testament...

View Glossary
, and it is given for this consideration, for  to purchase inheritaces for the poor,10

After property was initially consecrated, the bishop was to “appoint every man a Steward over his own property or that which he hath received in as much as shall be sufficient for him self and family & the residue shall be kept to administer to him that hath not that every man may receive according as he stands in need & the residue shall be kept in my store house to administer to the poor and needy.” Given the vague instructions that appear in previous revelations, it is unclear if JS considered the stewardship as private or church property before this letter. The 9 February 1831 revelation, for instance, stated that the bishop “shall appoint every man a Steward over his own property.” The same revelation declared, “It shall come to pass that he that sinneth & rep[e]nteth not shall be cast out & shall not receive again that which he hath consecrated unto me.” Regarding consecrated property, the 20 May 1831 revelation specifically told Partridge that the steward was to “hold it of the Church.” Such ambiguous phrases in the revelations—such as “his own property,” “not receive again,” and “hold it of the Church”—might also explain why Partridge initially considered the inheritances to be property of the church. (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:32–34, 37]; Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51:4].)  


this, any man has a right to do,  agreeable to all laws of our country, to donate, give or consecrate all that  he feels disposed to give, and it is your duty, to see that whatsoever is  given, is given legally, therefore, it must be given for the consideration  of the poor saints, and in this way no man can take any advantage  of you in law,11

A week before JS wrote this letter, news of a court case in which an individual sued Partridge over consecrated property was published in the northeastern Ohio area. (“Mormonism,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 26 Apr. 1833, [3]; see also “The Elders Stationed in Zion to the Churches Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 110; and “Still Later from Mount Zion,” Cincinnati Journal, 22 Mar. 1833, 46.)  


Again, concerning inheritances, you are bound by  the law of the Lord, to give a deed, secureing to him who receives inherit ances, his inheritance, for an everlasting inheritance, or in other words, to be his  individual prope[r]ty, his privat ste[wa]rdship

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
, and if he is found a transgressor  & should be cut off, out of the church, his inheritance is his still and he is dilivere[d]  over to the buffetings of satan

A fallen angel, or son of God, known by many names, including Lucifer, the devil, the father of lies, the prince of darkness, perdition, and the adversary. In the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s Bible revisions, Satan was described as a tempter of men...

View Glossary
, till the day of redemption,12

For other uses of the phrase “delivered over to the buffetings of satan until the day of redemption,” see Revelation, 1 Mar. 1832 [D&C 78:12]; and Minutes, 22–23 Jan. 1833.  


But the property which  he consecrated to the poor, for their benefit, & inheritance, & stewardship, he cannot  obtain again by the law of the Lord, Thus you see the propriety of this law, that  rich men cannot have power to disinherit the poor by obtaining again that  which they have consecrated, which is the residue, signified in the law, that  you will find in the second paragraph of the extract from the law, in the second  number,13

This refers to part of a 9 February 1831 revelation published as “Extract from the Laws for the Government of the Church of Christ” in the second issue of The Evening and the Morning Star in July 1832. The consecration of property is actually discussed in the third paragraph. (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in “Extract from the Laws for the Government of the Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [1] [D&C 42:29–41].)  


And now b[r]other 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
, be assured that we all feel thankful, that  the brethren in Zion

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

More Info
are beginning to humble themselves, & trying to keep the comman dments

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

View Glossary
of the Lord,14

In previous months, there had been significant misunderstandings between church leaders in Missouri and those in Ohio. (See Letter to William W. Phelps, 11 Jan. 1833; and Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 21 Apr. 1833.)  


which is our prayer to God, you may all be able to do, and  now, may the grace of God be with all, amen.
Joseph Smith Jun
The above is a true copy of a letter, directed &  sent, & subscribed agreeable thereto [p. [1]]
Next
This letter from JS in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

More Info
, Ohio, to 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
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...

View Full Bio
in Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

More Info
, Missouri, clarified aspects of JS’s nascent economic order, which was based on 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
and 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
. The first revelation concerning these arrangements, dictated on 9 February 1831, directed church members to transfer, or “consecrate,” their property to the church via the bishop and his two assistants, or counselors, by a “covena[n]t

A binding agreement between two parties, particularly between God and man. The term covenant was often associated with “commandments,” referring to revelation texts. The gospel as preached by JS—including the need for faith, repentance, baptism, and reception...

View Glossary
and Deed which cannot be broken.”1

Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:30]. A revelation appointed Edward Partridge as bishop of the church five days earlier. (Revelation, 4 Feb. 1831 [D&C 41:9]; see also License for Edward Partridge, ca. 4 Aug. 1831–ca. 5 Jan. 1832.)  


In addition, a May 1831 revelation directed the bishop to give “a writing” to an individual who consecrated his or her property to the church to “secure unto him his portion that he shall hold it of the Church untill he transgress.”2

Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51:4].  


In the writing, the bishop would apportion property (both land and personal items), called 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
,3

These “inheritances” were reminiscent of the land inheritances that Moses allotted the tribes of Israel. (See, for example, Joshua chaps. 13–14.)  


to individual church members, who would then act as stewards over the property. The amount appropriated to a person was determined by what was deemed “sufficient for him self and family.” Whatever property or money remained after the bishop deeded the stewardships was used for supporting the poor and for “building up of the New Jerusalem

The Book of Mormon indicated that, in preparation for Jesus Christ’s second coming, a city should be built on the American continent and called the New Jerusalem. The Book of Mormon further explained that the remnant of the seed of Joseph (understood to be...

View Glossary
.”4

Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:32, 35]; see also Revelation, 15 June 1831 [D&C 56:8–10]; and Historical Introduction to Revelation, 15 May 1831. Although the 9 February revelation pointed to the prospect of building the New Jerusalem mentioned by John the Revelator, the building site of the New Jerusalem—Jackson County, Missouri—was not designated until 20 July 1831. (Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:3].)  


The wording of these revelations was ambiguous regarding who legally owned the stewardships assigned to church members.
After relocating to 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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, 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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began to issue property to church members. He initially gave members land by lease, rather than by deed, for their stewardship. Sometime between 28 January and 12 October 1832, Partridge provided deeds of stewardship, which were still, in effect, a type of lease, to faithful members of the church who consecrated money, possessions, or property 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. The deeds of stewardship stipulated that the land assigned to them was to be considered an inheritance over which they held responsibility as stewards, but not as owners. This agreement also mandated that the steward pay property taxes and that all surplus income generated from the property be given to the bishop. In the case of the steward’s defection or excommunication, the church would retain possession of the inheritance.5

How these inheritances were understood and managed is partly revealed in the text of extant inheritance forms. One of Partridge’s forms, for instance, reads that Benjamin Eames gave his consecrated property, valued at $95.75, “for the purpose of purchasing lands in Jackson County Mo, and building up the New Jerusalem, even Zion, and for relieving the wants of the poor and needy. For which I the said Benjamin Eames do covenant and bind myself and my heirs forever, to release all my right and interest to the above described property, unto him the said Edward Partridge, bishop of said church. And I the said Edward Partridge, bishop of said church, having received the above described property, of the said Benjamin Eames do bind myself, that I will cause the same to be expended for the above mentioned purposes of the said Benjamin Eames to the satisfaction of said church; and in case I should be removed from the office of bishop of said church, by death or otherwise, I hereby bind myself and my heirs forever, to make over to my successor in office, for the benefit of said church, all the above described property, which may then be in my possession.” A partial inheritance form for the lease to Joseph Knight Jr. reads: “And as a consideration for the use of the above described property, I the said Joseph Knight junr do bind myself to pay the taxes, and also to pay yearly unto the said Edward Partridge bishop of said church, or his successor in office, for the benefit of said church, all that I shall make or accumulate more than is needful for the support and comfort of myself and family. . . . during the life of the said Joseph Knight Junr unless he transgress, and is not deemed worthy by the authority of the church, according to its laws, to belong to the church. And in that case I the said Joseph Knight Junr do acknowlydge that I forfeit all claim to the above described leased and loaned property, and hereby bind myself to give back the leased, and also pay an equivalent for the loaned, for the benefit of said church, unto the said Edward Partridge bishop of said church, or his successor in office.” (Benjamin Eames and Edward Partridge, Deed of Stewardship, on verso of Edward Partridge, to “Honored Father” et al., 22 Oct. 1834, draft, Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL, emphasis in original; Joseph Knight Jr. and Edward Partridge, Deed of Stewardship, 12 Oct. 1832, CHL, italics added.)  


Thus, the church, not the steward, remained the owner of the property in Missouri.6

A 15 May 1839 affidavit demonstrates that Partridge was the actual owner of the consecrated property. Regarding his landholdings at the time of his expulsion from Missouri, Partridge testified, “Nov. 1833 I was compelled by a mob to leave Jackson county, at which time I held the title to two thousand one hundred and thirty six acres of land all lying in that county and also two village lots situated in the village of Independence.” (Edward Partridge, Petition for Redress, 15 May 1839, copy, Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL; see also the partial deeds of stewardship on verso of Edward Partridge, to “Honored Father” et al., 22 Oct. 1834, draft, Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL.)  


Scholars have argued that 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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’s use of leases rather than deeds offered at least three advantages. First, he was unsure how many Mormons would settle 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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, and with leases, he retained control over the properties and could more easily reapportion the inheritances if needed. Second, if the lands were leased and not deeded, then greedy settlers who had no intention of building up the church would be dissuaded from settling in hopes of acquiring free land. And finally, since a land stewardship could be revoked if members were not considered in good standing, Partridge could ensure that the tenants avoided idleness and conformed to the church’s ethical standards.7

Arrington et al., Building the City of God, 23.  


Despite these advantages, this land program as implemented by 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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caused problems for both the bishop and the 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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. For instance, some members who withdrew from the church wanted to retain their property despite the program’s requirement that they relinquish their inheritances. Some sued for their leased properties and won in Missouri courts. One case, reported in the July 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star, involved “one Bates from New-London, Ohio,” who won a lawsuit against Partridge for fifty dollars. It appears the same case was reported by Benton Pixley in a 4 March 1833 letter written to the editor of the Cincinnati Journal. Pixley reported that an unnamed plaintiff sued Partridge “to recover certain moneys sent to him [Partridge] . . . for certain objects . . . [that] had not been fulfilled.” The plaintiff complained of coercion, stating that if he and others did not conform to expected church behavior, they risked losing the “poor privilege of living on these lands.” Pixley also noted that “several others on this decision stand ready to make s[i]milar demands on the Bishop.”8

“The Elders Stationed in Zion to the Churches Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 110; “Still Later from Mount Zion,” Cincinnati Journal, 22 Mar. 1833, 46, italics in original. Pixley, according to the Cincinnati Journal, was a Presbyterian clergyman who apparently resided in Jackson County at this time. Because of the timing and other similarities of the cases reported in the Star and Journal (for instance, Pixley also reported that the plaintiff sued for fifty dollars), it is possible that Bates was the plaintiff in both reports. Pixley reported that the case was heard “last Friday.” If Bates was the plaintiff in Pixley’s report and if the March 4 date for the newspaper report is accurate, then the date of Bates’s court appearance was Friday, 1 March 1833.  


JS must have been aware of 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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’s legal problems, which were likely outlined in Partridge’s letter to JS, no longer extant, to which JS here responds. On 21 April 1833, JS wrote to 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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leaders, counseling them to align their interpretation of the law of consecration and stewardship with previous revelations concerning these matters and with Missouri’s laws: “On the subject of giving deeds & receiving contrabutions from brethren &c I have nothing further to say on the subject but to make yourselves acquainted with 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...

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of the Lord and the Laws of the State and govern yourselves accordingly.”9 In the letter featured here, JS further counseled Partridge to grant inheritances by deed. The steward would receive an “everlasting inheritance”—a “private stewardship.” If the steward apostatized or was excommunicated, he or she would retain the property. However, the portion from the steward’s original consecration that was given freely for the poor could not be returned, for legally it was considered a charitable donation.10

A redaction made to JS’s 20 May 1831 revelation specifically addressed this issue but does not appear in any version of the revelation predating the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. The revision reads, “If he shall transgress, and is not accounted worthy to belong in the church, he shall not have power to claim that portion which he has consecrated unto the bishop for the poor and the needy of my church: therefore, he shall not retain the gift, but shall only have claim on that portion that is deeded unto him.” (Revelation, 20 May 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 23:1, 1835 ed. [D&C 51:5].)  


JS also told Partridge that if he allotted land in this manner, “no man can take any advantage of you in law.” No deeds reflecting this change in the implementation of consecration are known. This may be because in late July 1833, less than two months after Partridge received this letter, open hostilities against church members broke out in Missouri, and by the end of the year, the Mormons had been expelled from 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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.

Facts