53991758

Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 30 March 1834

This item is reproduced by permission of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
To 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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, Williams 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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, and others 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
.
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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, March 30, 1834.
Dear Brethren:
We have received several communications from you of late;1

The letters referenced here have not been located. It is possible that the 27 February 1834 letter from William W. Phelps had arrived and was one of the “several communications” that JS had recently received, though he does not respond to that letter here. (See Letter from William W. Phelps, 27 Feb. 1834.)  


but the most of us being absent, brother 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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laid them over till council could be had;2

Cowdery was apparently unwilling to answer these letters in JS’s absence. JS and Cowdery likely conferred on the letters’ contents before JS made this reply.  


and I now seat myself to dictate to answer them all in one. Since brothers, Parley P. Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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& Lyman Wight

9 May 1796–31 Mar. 1858. Farmer. Born at Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Levi Wight Jr. and Sarah Corbin. Served in War of 1812. Married Harriet Benton, 5 Jan. 1823, at Henrietta, Monroe Co., New York. Moved to Warrensville, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ...

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, arrived3

Parley P. Pratt and Lyman Wight arrived in Kirtland in February 1834 to report on the condition of church members in Missouri to the Kirtland high council. (Minutes, 24 Feb. 1834.)  


I have written a few lines with my own hand in letters which have already gone: one from this place, and one from Freedom

Area settled, 1811. Township created, 1820. Population in 1835 and 1840 about 1,800. Included Freedom village, which had about fifteen dwellings in 1836. Branch of LDS church organized in township, 1834. Warren Cowdery appointed to preside in area. JS preached...

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N.Y.4

These letters have not been located.  


but was not able to write the more weighty matters, and did not think to say anything more than to comfort your hearts if possible, and keep you from fainting, while God, in his wisdom, and in the order of his Providence, is preparing all things before his face for the redemption of Zion

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...

View Glossary
. We rejoic greatly on learning that you and the brethren, so many of them, are yet spared in the midst of those who wear the form of human beings, but are less merciful than the prowling beast of the wilderness. We would inform you that with very few exceptions the 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
in this place are all well; and every man, woman & child, that belongs to the Church, as far as I have any knowledge of the matter, are crying day & night to God for the deliverance and prosperity of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

View Glossary
; and many are preparing with all zeal to do all that lies in their power to accomplish the great work, and it will be seen in due time, that the saints in this region are not slack towards you considering their circumstances, & their great poverty, & afflictions & persecutions with which they are called to suffer in this part5

For a discussion on the “afflictions & persecutions” of the Mormons in Kirtland around the time this letter was written, see Historical Introduction to Prayer, 11 Jan. 1834.  


as well as you in that region; for the more we [p. 30]
To 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
, Williams [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
, and others 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
.
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
, March 30, 1834.
Dear Brethren:
We have received several communications from  you of late;1

The letters referenced here have not been located. It is possible that the 27 February 1834 letter from William W. Phelps had arrived and was one of the “several communications” that JS had recently received, though he does not respond to that letter here. (See Letter from William W. Phelps, 27 Feb. 1834.)  


but the most of us being absent, brother 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...

View Full Bio
 laid them over till council could be had;2

Cowdery was apparently unwilling to answer these letters in JS’s absence. JS and Cowdery likely conferred on the letters’ contents before JS made this reply.  


and I now  seat myself to dictate to answer them all in one.  Since brothers, Parley [P. Pratt]

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

View Full Bio
& Lyman [Wight]

9 May 1796–31 Mar. 1858. Farmer. Born at Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Levi Wight Jr. and Sarah Corbin. Served in War of 1812. Married Harriet Benton, 5 Jan. 1823, at Henrietta, Monroe Co., New York. Moved to Warrensville, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ...

View Full Bio
, arrived3

Parley P. Pratt and Lyman Wight arrived in Kirtland in February 1834 to report on the condition of church members in Missouri to the Kirtland high council. (Minutes, 24 Feb. 1834.)  


I have written  a few lines with my own hand in letters which  have already gone: one from this place, and one  from Freedom

Area settled, 1811. Township created, 1820. Population in 1835 and 1840 about 1,800. Included Freedom village, which had about fifteen dwellings in 1836. Branch of LDS church organized in township, 1834. Warren Cowdery appointed to preside in area. JS preached...

More Info
N.Y.4

These letters have not been located.  


but was not able to write the more  weighty matters, and did not think to say anything  more than to comfort your hearts if possible, and  keep you from fainting, while God, in his wisdom,  and in the order of his Providence, is preparing  all things before his face for the redemption of  Zion

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...

View Glossary
. We rejoic greatly on learning that you  and the brethren, so many of them, are yet spared  in the midst of those who wear the form of human  beings, but are less merciful than the prowling  beast of the wilderness. We would inform you that  with very few exceptions the 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
in this  place are all well; and every man, woman &  child, that belongs to the Church, as far as  I have any knowledge of the matter, are crying  day & night to God for the deliverance and  prosperity of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

View Glossary
; and many are preparing  with all zeal to do all that lies in their  power to accomplish the great work, and  it will be seen in due time, that the saints  in this region are not slack towards you  considering their circumstances, & their great  poverty, & afflictions & persecutions with  which they are called to suffer in this part5

For a discussion on the “afflictions & persecutions” of the Mormons in Kirtland around the time this letter was written, see Historical Introduction to Prayer, 11 Jan. 1834.  


as  well as you in that region; for the more we [p. 30]
Next
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...

View Glossary
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...

More Info
, 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...

View Glossary
. 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,...

View Full Bio
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...

More Info
,” 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...

More Info
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,...

View Full Bio
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...

More Info
, 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...

More Info
. 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...

More Info
, 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...

View Full Bio
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.

Facts