53991758

Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 30 March 1834

This item is reproduced by permission of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
try to live Godly in Christ Jesus, the more we are made to feel the weight of persecution, inflicted by those who are under the influence of the enemy of the souls of men. But let this suffice: I shall proceed first to answer some of the most important items contained in your last communications, the more part which gave us much satisfaction. We admire the confidence & love which our brethren have manifested in them, in giving us sharp, piercing, & cutting reproofs, which are calculated to wake us up & make us search about ourselves, & put a double watch over ourselves in all things that we do. And we acknowledge that it is our duty to receive all reproofs & chastisements given of the spirit of the most Holy One. And if being chastised and reproved of what we are guilty, seems not to be joyous for the present but grievous, O, how wounding, & how poignant must it be to receive chastisements & reproofs, for things that we are not guilty of from a source we least expect them, arising from a distrustful, a fearful, & jealous spirit. However, we feel to make all allowances, & reflect seariously & consider upon all sides before we make an effort to throw off the yoke, lest we should be found in anywise blamable before God. There are some items contained in 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,...

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’s letters by the way of reproof, that we feel to give, we think some reasonable excuses, that you may know how far you have reasons to give reproof, that you may not have wrong feelings concerning those to whom you are espoused in Christ Jesus who always will be found true to all confidence that shall be imposed in them.
Firstly, you have given us to understand that there are glaring errors in the Revelation,6

In a letter to church members “scattered abroad” in Missouri written on 22 January 1834, the presidency of the high priesthood included a broadside of the 16–17 December 1833 revelation printed by Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland printing office. The errors in the revelation referred to here included minor misspellings and grammatical mistakes. (Letter to the Church in Clay Co., MO, 22 Jan. 1834; see also Verily, I Say unto You, concerning Your Brethren Who Have Been Afflicted [Kirtland, OH: ca. Jan. 1834], copy at CHL [D&C 101].)  


or rather, have shown us the most glaring ones, which are not calculated to suit the refinement of the age in which we live, of the great men, &c. We would say, by way of excuse, that we did not think so much of the orthography,7

JS here used “orthography” to mean spelling and grammar.  


or the manner, as [p. 31]
try to live Godly in Christ Jesus, the more we are made to feel the  weight of persecution, inflicted by those who are under the inf luence of the enemy of the souls of men. But let this suf fice: I shall proceed first to answer some of the most important  items contained in your last communications, the more part  which gave us much satisfaction. We admire the confi dence & love which our brethren have manifested in them, in  giving us sharp, piercing, & cutting reproofs, which are  calculated to wake us up & make us search about ourse lves, & put a double watch over ourselves in all things  that we do. And we acknowledge that it is our duty  to receive all reproofs & chastisements given of the spi rit of the most Holy One. And if being chastised and  reproved of what we are guilty, seems not to be joyous  for the present but grievous, O, how wounding, &  how poignant must it be to receive chastisements &  reproofs, for things that we are not guilty of from  a source we least expect them, arising from a distrus tful, a fearful, & jealous spirit. However, we feel  to make all allowances, & reflect seariously & consider  upon all sides before we make an effort to throw off  the yoke, lest we should be found in anywise blamable before  God. There are some items contained in 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,...

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’s letters  by the way of reproof, that we feel to give, we think  some reasonable excuses, that you may <know> how far you  have reasons to give reproof, that you may not have  wrong feelings concerning those to whom you are espoused  in Christ Jesus who always will be found true to all con fidence that shall be imposed in them.
Firstly, you have given us to understand that there are  glaring errors in the Revelation,6

In a letter to church members “scattered abroad” in Missouri written on 22 January 1834, the presidency of the high priesthood included a broadside of the 16–17 December 1833 revelation printed by Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland printing office. The errors in the revelation referred to here included minor misspellings and grammatical mistakes. (Letter to the Church in Clay Co., MO, 22 Jan. 1834; see also Verily, I Say unto You, concerning Your Brethren Who Have Been Afflicted [Kirtland, OH: ca. Jan. 1834], copy at CHL [D&C 101].)  


or rather, have shown us the  most glaring ones, which are not calculated to suit the  refinement of the age in which we live, of the great men, &c.  We would say, by way of excuse, that we did not  think so much of the orthography,7

JS here used “orthography” to mean spelling and grammar.  


or the manner, as [p. 31]
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From the end of February to the end of March 1834, JS traveled to recruit individuals for the Camp of Israel

A group of approximately 205 men and about 20 women and children led by JS to Missouri, May–July 1834, to redeem Zion by helping the Saints who had been driven from Jackson County, Missouri, regain their lands; later referred to as “Zion’s Camp.” A 24 February...

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expedition 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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.1 On 28 March, he returned to Kirtland

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

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, Ohio, and found that he had received several letters from Missouri church leaders, some of which were from 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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. Those letters, though no longer extant, seem to have discussed, among other things, the business of the firm, including its losses. The letters from Missouri must have also criticized JS and other Kirtland church leaders; according to JS, the letters contained “sharp, piercing, & cutting reproofs,” partly because of misspellings and grammatical errors that appeared in a published broadside of a December 1833 revelation and partly because of the lack of financial support from Kirtland for Missouri church members. Earlier missives from Missouri were similarly critical of Kirtland church leaders, and Missouri members had been consequently rebuked for being contentious.2 A December 1833 revelation even declared that church members had been driven 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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, Missouri, in part because of the “jar[r]ings and contentions envyings and strifes and lustful and covetous desires among them.”3 Although 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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acknowledged that “it was right that we should be driven out of the land 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...

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,” the letters that JS received in March 1834 apparently exhibited at least a measure of the same critical spirit found in earlier correspondence.4
After spending the preceding day with his family and in the midst of attending to ecclesiastical affairs, JS penned a reply to 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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leaders on 30 March 1834. The letter, featured here, offers a glimpse into how the hardships of late 1833 and early 1834 affected JS and how he handled criticism. This letter exhibited JS’s frustration over their complaints but also evinced his desire to forgive past transgressions for the sake of unity. In the letter, JS also offered more information on the matters with which 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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and others had found fault, bemoaned the persecution the church was experiencing in both Missouri and 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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, and reported on the expected expedition of “able brethren” to Missouri. Specifically, he noted church members’ lack of support (in terms of both financial donations and individual volunteers) for the contemplated expedition 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...

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. JS also suggested that though he intended to be part of the expedition, he had other matters to resolve before departing. In fact, it was not until 9 April 1834, after the legal proceedings against Doctor Philastus Hurlbut

3 Feb. 1809–16 June 1883. Clergyman, farmer. Born at Chittenden Co., Vermont. “Doctor” was his given name. Preacher for Methodist Episcopal Church in Jamestown, Chautauque Co., New York. Baptized into LDS church, 1832/1833, at Jamestown. Ordained an elder...

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(who had been charged with threatening to kill JS) had successfully concluded, that JS finally determined to “go to Zion.”5

JS, Journal, 9–10 Apr. 1834. This 9 April notation in JS’s journal is the first known documentary evidence that JS had decided to go with the Camp of Israel.  


The letter further provided information on the advantage of employing 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
attorney general Robert W. Wells in the Mormons’ legal suits, on debts and finances 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 the recent purchase of a printing press by 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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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,...

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, and on the selling of 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
property. Though some church leaders in Missouri wrote letters to Kirtland in the months following this letter, they did not specifically address this letter or its contents.6

See, for example, “The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, May 1834, 160; and “The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1834, 168.  


Therefore, it is not clear if the men 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
in Missouri received this letter.

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