30495

Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 10 December 1833

manifested, I am sensable that I aught not to murmer13

In a letter to church leaders in Missouri written five days earlier, JS said, “In this your great calamity . . . remember not to murmur at the dealings of God with his creature.” (Letter to Edward Partridge, 5 Dec. 1833.)  


and do not murmer only in this, that those who are innocent are compelled to suffer for the iniquities of the guilty; and I cannot account for this, only on this wise, that the saying of the savior has not been strictly observed: If thy right eye offend thee pluck it out. and cast it from thee or if thy right arm offend thee pluck it off and cast it from thee. Now the fact is, if any of the members of our body are disordered, the rest of our body will be effected with them and then all is brought into bondage together.14

See Matthew 5:29–30. Oliver Cowdery expressed similar views in an August 1833 letter. (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 10 Aug. 1833.)  


And yet notwithstanding all this, it is with difficulty that I can restrain my feelings; when I know that you my brethren with whom I have had so many happy hours, sitting as it were in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.15

See Ephesians 2:6.  


and also haveing the witness which I feel, and even have felt, of the purity of your motives— are cast out, and are as strangers and pilgrims on the earth,16

See Hebrews 11:13.  


exposed to hunger, cold, nakedness peril, sword &c I say when I contemplate this, it is with difficulty that I can keep from complaining and murmerings against this dispensation;17

The second definition of dispensation in Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary is “the dealing of God to his creatures; the distribution of good and evil, natural or moral, in the divine government.” (“Dispensation,” in American Dictionary.)  


but I am sensible that this is not right and may God grant that notwithstanding your great afflictions and sufferings there may not any thing sepperate us from the Love of Christ.18

See Romans 8:35.  


Brethren, when we learn your sufferings it awakens evry sympathy of our hearts; it weighs us down; we cannot refrain from tears yet we are not able to realize only in part your sufferings. And I often hear the brethren saying they wish they were with you that they might bear a part of your sufferings; and I myself should have been with you had not God prevented it in the order of his providence, that the yoke of affliction might be less grievous upon you; God having forewarned me concerning these things for your sakes;19

JS shared a similar sentiment in a letter to church leaders in Missouri written four months earlier: “I do know that I have been keept from going up as yet for your sa[k]es.” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833.)  


and also 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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, could not lighten your afflictions by tarrying longer with you, for his presence would have so much the more enraged your enemies; therefore, God hath dealt mercifully with us.20

In August 1833, JS wrote, “Oliver will or aught rather to stay with me or in this land [Kirtland, Ohio] until I am permitted to Come with him . . . Oliver can stay here to good advantage and have his wife come to him and he can be instrumental of doing great good in this pla[ce].” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833.)  


O brethren, let us be thankful [p. 72]
manifested, I am sensable that I aught not to murmer13

In a letter to church leaders in Missouri written five days earlier, JS said, “In this your great calamity . . . remember not to murmur at the dealings of God with his creature.” (Letter to Edward Partridge, 5 Dec. 1833.)  


 and do not murmer only in this, but that those who are innocent  are compelled to suffer for the iniquities of the guilty;  and I cannot account for this, only on this wise, that  the saying of the savior has not been strictly observed:  If thy right eye offend thee pluck it out. and cast it  from thee <or if thy right arm offend thee pluck it of[f] and cast it from thee>. Now the fact is, if any of the members of our body  are disordered, the rest of our body will be effected with them  and then all is brought into bondage together.14

See Matthew 5:29–30. Oliver Cowdery expressed similar views in an August 1833 letter. (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 10 Aug. 1833.)  


And yet  notwithstanding all this, it is with difficulty that I can  restrain my feelings; when I know that you my brethren  with whom I have had so many happy hours, sitting as  it were in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.15

See Ephesians 2:6.  


and also have ing the witness which I feel, and even have felt, of the  purity of your motives— are cast out, and are as strangers  and pilgrims on the earth,16

See Hebrews 11:13.  


exposed to hunger, cold,  nakedness peril, sword &c I say when I contemplate  this, it is with difficulty that I can keep from complaining  and murmerings against this dispensation;17

The second definition of dispensation in Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary is “the dealing of God to his creatures; the distribution of good and evil, natural or moral, in the divine government.” (“Dispensation,” in American Dictionary.)  


but I am  sensible that this is not right and may God grant  that notwithstanding your great afflictions and sufferings  there may not any thing sepperate us from the Love  of Christ.18

See Romans 8:35.  


Brethren, when we learn your sufferings it  awakens evry sympathy of our hearts; it weighs us  us down; we cannot refrain from tears [illegible] yet we are  not able to realize only in part your sufferings. And I  often hear the brethren saying they wish they were with you  that they might bear a part of your sufferings; and I myself  should have been with you had not God prevented it in  the order of his providence, that the yoke of affliction might  be less grievous upon you; God having forewarned me  concerning these things for your sakes;19

JS shared a similar sentiment in a letter to church leaders in Missouri written four months earlier: “I do know that I have been keept from going up as yet for your sa[k]es.” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833.)  


and also 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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,  could not lighten your afflictions by tarrying longer  with you, for his presence would have so much the  more enraged your enemies; therefore, God hath deals dealt  mercifully with us.20

In August 1833, JS wrote, “Oliver will or aught rather to stay with me or in this land [Kirtland, Ohio] until I am permitted to Come with him . . . Oliver can stay here to good advantage and have his wife come to him and he can be instrumental of doing great good in this pla[ce].” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833.)  


O brethren, let us be thankful [p. 72]
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On 5 December 1833, JS responded to two letters: one written by 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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on 6–7 November and one penned by 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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to the editors of the Missouri Republican on 9 November. In his 5 December letter, JS sought clarification on the conflicting reports written by the two men concerning events 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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and requested more information. In mid-November, just after being 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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, 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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, Phelps, and John Corrill

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

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wrote letters to JS that provided more details about the violence against church members in Missouri.1 JS received these letters on 10 December 1833 and on the same day wrote a letter, featured here, that responded to the more in-depth information his colleagues had sent him.
In this response, JS extensively referred the 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 to the scriptures

The sacred, written word of God containing the “mind & will of the Lord” and “matters of divine revelation.” Members of the church considered the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s revelations to be scripture. Revelations in 1830 and 1831 directed JS to ...

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and to his revelations. He agonized over the catastrophe 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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, the reasons for which, he noted in this letter, “I am ignorant and the Lord will not show me.” Though “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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would suffer sore affliction,” JS reminded church members that “after much tribulation cometh the blessing.” He invoked both the Old Testament and the New Testament to provide support and spiritual guidance to church members in Missouri as they began to settle new lands with few provisions. Regarding their property in Jackson County, JS also urged them to “retain [their] lands even unto the uttermost.” In addition, JS encouraged the Missouri church members to vigorously pursue protection and seek redress of grievances through appeals to the local courts, the governor of Missouri, the president of the United States

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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, and, as always, the Lord. A revelation dictated six days after JS wrote this letter reaffirmed this guidance.2 This instruction to seek redress and protection through legal and political means reflected the approach that JS and the church would take regarding their losses in Missouri through the end of JS’s life. JS ended his letter with a long prayer in behalf of the careworn Saints in Missouri.
It is unknown how, or if, church members in Missouri

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

More Info
received JS’s 10 December 1833 letter. 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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copied the letter into JS’s letterbook, which is the only known extant version.

Facts