30495

Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 10 December 1833

shall be likened unto the wise virgins who took oil in their lamps, But all those who are unbelieving and fearful, will be likened unto the foolish virgins, who took no oil in their Lamps;28

See Matthew 25:1–12.  


and when they shall return, and say unto the saints, give us of your lands, behold there will be no room found for them. As respects giving deeds I would advise to give deeds as far as the brethren have legal and Just claims for them and then let evry man answer to God for the disposal of them.29

Edward Partridge wrote to JS that some members of the church in Missouri were “desirous to receive a deed of some land & I have thought it best to give deeds to such as are anxious to have them. I want your advice upon the subject of the lands.” Partridge had purchased approximately 2,100 acres of land in Jackson County to which he held title. After being threatened with legal action by persons withdrawing from the church, Partridge requested instructions from JS. JS instructed Partridge to give individuals the titles to the stewardships of land they had received through the church’s practice of the law of consecration. JS here reaffirmed those instructions even though church members could not now occupy those lands. (Letter from Edward Partridge, between 14 and 19 Nov. 1833; Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  


I would suggest some Ideas to bro William P.

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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not knowing as they will be of any real benefit, but suggest them for consideration I would be glad that he were here, but dare not advise, were it possable for him to come,30

William W. Phelps remained in Missouri and did not relocate to Ohio until spring 1834. John Whitmer documented that Phelps and his son Waterman departed Missouri on 28 April 1834 with Whitmer and his family “in obediance to the direction of Joseph the seer.” (See Phelps, “Short History,” [2]–[4]; and Whitmer, History, 70.)  


not knowing what shall befall us, as we are under very heavy and serious threatening from a great many people in this place.31 But purhaps, the people in Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

More Info
may feel willing, God having power to soften the hearts of all men, to have a press established there; and if not, in some other place;32

Kirtland leaders were already working to establish a new press in Ohio. In October 1833, Oliver Cowdery traveled to New York to purchase a new press and type for the church. Cowdery then took over as editor of The Evening and the Morning Star in Kirtland. The first proof sheets of the renewed Star were ready for review only eight days after JS wrote this letter. (Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland Mills, OH, to Ambrose Palmer, New Portage, OH, 30 Oct. 1833, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 4–5; JS, Journal, 18 Dec. 1833.)  


any place where it can be the most convenient and it is possable to get to it: God will be willing to have it in any place where it can be practiculer and safe. we must be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.33

See Matthew 10:16.  


Again I desire that bro William

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
would collect all the information, and give us a true history of the begining and rise 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
, and her calamities &c34

It appears Phelps had a similar plan to write a history about the Mormons’ experiences in Missouri. Several histories of the Missouri conflicts were later written by other church members as well. (See Letter from William W. Phelps, 15 Dec. 1833; see also, for example, the histories published in volume 2 of the Histories series of The Joseph Smith Papers.)  


Now hear the prayer of your unworthy Brother in the bonds of the new and everlasting covenant

Generally referred to the “fulness of the gospel”—the sum total of the church’s message, geared toward establishing God’s covenant people on the earth; also used to describe individual elements of the gospel, including marriage. According to JS, the everlasting...

View Glossary
: O my God! thou who has called and chosen a few through thy weak instrument by commandment

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

View Glossary
and sent them 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...

More Info
a place which thou didst call 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 commanded thy servants to consecrate unto thyself for a place of refuge, and of safety for the gathering

As directed by early revelations, church members “gathered” in communities. A revelation dated September 1830, for instance, instructed elders “to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect” who would “be gathered in unto one place, upon the face of this land...

View Glossary
of thy saints, to be built up a holy city unto thyself and as thou hast said that none [p. 74]
shall be likened unto the wise virgins who took oil  in their lamps, But all those who are unbelieving and  fearful, will be likened unto the foolish virgins, who  took no oil in their Lamps;28

See Matthew 25:1–12.  


and when they shall return,  and say unto the saints, give us of your lands, behold  there will be no room found for them. As respects  giving deeds I would advise to give deeds as far  as the brethren have legal and Just claims for their them  and then let evry man answer to God for the  disposal of them.29

Edward Partridge wrote to JS that some members of the church in Missouri were “desirous to receive a deed of some land & I have thought it best to give deeds to such as are anxious to have them. I want your advice upon the subject of the lands.” Partridge had purchased approximately 2,100 acres of land in Jackson County to which he held title. After being threatened with legal action by persons withdrawing from the church, Partridge requested instructions from JS. JS instructed Partridge to give individuals the titles to the stewardships of land they had received through the church’s practice of the law of consecration. JS here reaffirmed those instructions even though church members could not now occupy those lands. (Letter from Edward Partridge, between 14 and 19 Nov. 1833; Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  


I would suggest some Ideas to bro  William P.

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
not knowing as they will be of any  real benefit, but suggest them for consideration  I would be glad that he were here, but dare not  advise, were it possable for him to come,30

William W. Phelps remained in Missouri and did not relocate to Ohio until spring 1834. John Whitmer documented that Phelps and his son Waterman departed Missouri on 28 April 1834 with Whitmer and his family “in obediance to the direction of Joseph the seer.” (See Phelps, “Short History,” [2]–[4]; and Whitmer, History, 70.)  


not kno wing what shall befall us, as we are under  very heavy and serious threatening from a great  many people in this place.31 But purhaps, the  people in Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

More Info
may feel willing, God having  power to soften the hearts of all men, to have a  press established there; and if not, in some other  place;32

Kirtland leaders were already working to establish a new press in Ohio. In October 1833, Oliver Cowdery traveled to New York to purchase a new press and type for the church. Cowdery then took over as editor of The Evening and the Morning Star in Kirtland. The first proof sheets of the renewed Star were ready for review only eight days after JS wrote this letter. (Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland Mills, OH, to Ambrose Palmer, New Portage, OH, 30 Oct. 1833, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 4–5; JS, Journal, 18 Dec. 1833.)  


any place where it can be the most convenient  and it is possable to get to it: God will be willing to  have it in any place where it can be practiculer  and safe. we must be wise as serpents and  harmless as doves.33

See Matthew 10:16.  


Again I desire that bro William

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
would  collect all the information, and give us a true history of  the begining and rise 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
, and her calamities &c34

It appears Phelps had a similar plan to write a history about the Mormons’ experiences in Missouri. Several histories of the Missouri conflicts were later written by other church members as well. (See Letter from William W. Phelps, 15 Dec. 1833; see also, for example, the histories published in volume 2 of the Histories series of The Joseph Smith Papers.)  


 Now hear the prayer of your unworthy Brothe[r] in the  bonds of the new and everlasting covenant

Generally referred to the “fulness of the gospel”—the sum total of the church’s message, geared toward establishing God’s covenant people on the earth; also used to describe individual elements of the gospel, including marriage. According to JS, the everlasting...

View Glossary
: O my  God! thou who has called and chosen a few through  thy weak instrument by commandment

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

View Glossary
and  sent them 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...

More Info
a place which thou didst call  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 commanded thy servants to consecrate  unto thyself for a place of a refuge, and of safety  for the gathering

As directed by early revelations, church members “gathered” in communities. A revelation dated September 1830, for instance, instructed elders “to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect” who would “be gathered in unto one place, upon the face of this land...

View Glossary
of thy saints, to be built up a holy  city unto thyself and as thou hast said that none [p. 74]
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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,...

View Full Bio
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...

More Info
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...

View Full Bio
, 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...

More Info
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...

More Info
, 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 ...

View Glossary
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