53991758

Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 30 March 1834

This item is reproduced by permission of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
revelation! for when you hint they will ask a question, and if by any means in the heat of zeal you would hit them a kick it never fails to turn over the dish. Therefore, when we give them a hint, and they ask a question, we sometimes answer them plainly; but all this is a wonder and a mystery; but it wont do to kick, therefore to unfold the mystery we must of necessity send out the word of God unto the different churches

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...

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, or they could not be made to understand, that they, with their moneys, and their young men & their middle aged, must, in order to do the will of God, redeem the land which had been purchased, & the children 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 ...

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— and if by chance in doing all this we should have to suffer peril by false brethren. For men are as liable in this generation to turn aside from the holy 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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, as were the children of Israel when Aaron bought the golden calf at the expense of all the jewelry, & riches of the children of Israel, while Moses tarried yet forty days in the mount, that he might receive the law of the everlasting gospel upon tables of stone, written by the finger of of God, while they, the children of Israel, were delivered over, & bowed down and worshiped the dumb idol, and said, These be our Gods that brought us up out of the land of Egypt. And Moses being angry destroyed the tables of Stone, and the golden calf and made the children of Isarel drink the substance of their God, which they said brought them up out of the land of Egypt.13

See Exodus chap. 32.  


Therefore, I say, if we should suffer peril among false brethren, should it be accounted a strange thing? But here comes up another question, a great mystery! How did the revelation come to be garbled by the printers of the day, published and sent to Jackson Co.

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 elsewhere? But if all these things, upon a little reflection had been rightly considered and understood, there would have been no mystery, nor any question asked. Not a sigh— not a lingering thought— not a grief, or a single reflection cast upon the innocent, a virgin, the spouse of Zion! Suffice it to say, that the revelation went into the hands of the world by stealth, through the means of false brethren,14

Here, JS may have been referring to a revelation that was leaked to the Painesville Telegraph. The paper published the revelation on 24 January 1834. In August 1833, Oliver Cowdery warned the Church of Christ leaders in Missouri against “tatling” and admonished them to keep revelations “from false brethren & tatlers.” (See “A Scrap of Mormonism,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 24 Jan. 1834, [1]; Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101]; and Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 10 Aug. 1833.)  


and lest it should reach the ears of the President and Governor

14 Jan. 1790–25 July 1844. Farmer, tavern owner, businessman, investor, lawyer, politician. Born near Greenville, Greenville District, South Carolina. Son of Joseph Dunklin Jr. and Sarah Margaret Sullivan. Moved to what became Caldwell Co., Kentucky, 1806...

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, with a false coloring, being misrepresented, [p. 33]
revelation! for when you hint they will ask a question, and  if by any means in the heat of zeal you would hit them a kick it  never fails to turn over the dish. Therefore, when we give them a hint,  and they ask a question, we sometimes answer them plainly; but all this  is a wonder and a mystery; but it wont do to kick, therefore  to unfold the mystery we must of necessity send out the word of  the mystery we must of God unto the different churches

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
, or they  could not be made to understand, that they, with their moneys, and  their young men & their middle aged, must, in order to do the  will of God, redeem the land which had been purchased, & the  children 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 if by chance in doing all this <we> should have  to suffer peril by false brethren. For men are as liable in this generation  to turn aside from the holy 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
, as were the children of  Israel when Aaron bought the golden calf at the expense of all the  jewelry, & riches of the children of Israel, while Moses tarried yet  forty days in the mount, that he might receive the law of the  everlasting gospel upon tables of stone, written by the finger of  of God, while they, the children of Israel, were delivered over, &  bowed down and worshiped the dumb idol, and said, These be  our Gods that brought us up out of the land of Egypt. And Moses  being angry destroyed the tables of Stone, and the golden calf and made  the children of Isarel drink the substance of their God, which they  said brought them up out of the land of Egypt.13

See Exodus chap. 32.  


Therefore, I  say, if we should suffer peril among false brethren, should it  be accounted a strange thing? But here comes up another question,  a great mystery! How did the revelation come to be garbled by  the printers of the day, published and sent to Jackson Co.

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 elsewhere? But if all these things, upon a little reflection  had been rightly considered and understood, there would have  been no mystery, nor any question asked. Not a sigh—  not a lingering thought— not a grief, or a single reflection  cast upon the innocent, a virgin, the spouse of Zion! Suffice it  to say, that the revelation went into the hands of the world by stealth,  through the means of false brethren,14

Here, JS may have been referring to a revelation that was leaked to the Painesville Telegraph. The paper published the revelation on 24 January 1834. In August 1833, Oliver Cowdery warned the Church of Christ leaders in Missouri against “tatling” and admonished them to keep revelations “from false brethren & tatlers.” (See “A Scrap of Mormonism,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 24 Jan. 1834, [1]; Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101]; and Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 10 Aug. 1833.)  


and lest it should reach the ears  of the President and Governor

14 Jan. 1790–25 July 1844. Farmer, tavern owner, businessman, investor, lawyer, politician. Born near Greenville, Greenville District, South Carolina. Son of Joseph Dunklin Jr. and Sarah Margaret Sullivan. Moved to what became Caldwell Co., Kentucky, 1806...

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, with a false coloring, being misrepresented, [p. 33]
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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...

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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...

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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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