30473

Letter to John S. Carter, 13 April 1833

attend an unorganised band in Journeying in the last days9

A December 1831 revelation instructed that “a certificate from the judge or Bishop in this part of the vinyard [Kirtland] unto the Bishop in Zion rendereth every man acceptable and answereth all things for an inheritence and to be received as a wise steward and as a faithfull labourer otherwise shall not be accepted of the Bishop in Zion.” Nothing in John S. Carter’s journal indicates that anyone from the Benson area was sent to Kirtland to procure the recommended certificate or license. At some point, possibly based on counsel given in an earlier revelation, Carter himself apparently received authority or permission to issue such certificates; in August 1833 he noted in his journal that he wrote “the covenant, and certifficates for the brethren who go to Zion.” (Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–B [D&C 72:17–18]; Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–C [D&C 72:25]; John S. Carter, Journal, 21 Aug. 1833.)  


and again those in debt should in all cases pay their debts10

An editorial in The Evening and the Morning Star in January 1833 made this point clear: “Every soul that comes up to Zion for an inheritance, for the present, must prepare temporally and spiritually. He should settle all his concerns with the world, and owe no man. . . . Let every one that quits the world for the sake of eternal life, act consistent in every thing: by obeying the commandments; by paying his just debts; by taking care of his property.” (“Let Every Man Learn His Duty,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, [5].)  


and the rich are in no wise to cast out the poor or leave them behind for it is said that the poor shall inherit the earth11

See Matthew 5:5; Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:35]; and Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:17].  


you quoted a passage in Jeremiah with regard to Journey to 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
12

Without the original letter written by Carter, it is not possible to be certain which passage in Jeremiah he quoted, but of the few verses in Jeremiah that mention going to Zion, the one most likely referred to here is Jeremiah 3:14: “I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” (See also Jeremiah 31:6; 50:5.)  


the word of God stands sure so let it be done
There are two paragraphs in your letter which I do not commend as they are writen blind speaking of the Elder

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
being sent like lightning from the bow of Judah13

See Zechariah 9:13–14; Psalms 18:14; 144:6; and 2 Samuel 22:15.  


the second, no secret in the councils of Zion you mention this as if fear rested upon your mind otherwise we cannot understand it and again we never enquire at the hand of God for special revelation only in case of ther being no previous revelation to suit the case and that in a court of high Priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests. The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church. However, the Book of Mormon also discussed...

View Glossary
for further information on the subject you have writen I will refer you to the Elders who have recently left here for the east 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
some of whom you will probably see soon you may depend on any information you receive from them that are faithful you may expect to see Bro Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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& Lyman Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

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for whom we have great fellowship,15

Pratt and Johnson previously served a mission to New England from 3 February 1832 to 17 February 1833. Shortly after returning to Kirtland, the men were again asked to preach in the eastern states and especially to “go to the Churches that they have raised up.” They subsequently left on 26 March 1833. Under the dates of 3–7 June 1833, John S. Carter wrote in his journal that he attended several meetings with Pratt and Johnson in Benson, Vermont, as well as a conference in Bath, New Hampshire. The church members in Benson were “in good degree ingaged,” according to Carter’s journal entry. (“History of Orson Pratt,” 12, 16–17, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861, CHL; Minutes, 23 Mar. 1833–B; John S. Carter, Journal, 3–7 June 1833.)  


it is a great thing to enquire at the hand of God or to come into his presence16

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 324 [Alma 36:14].  


and we feel fearful to approach him upon subjects that are of little or no consequence to satisfy the enqueries of individuals especially about things the knowledge of which men aught to obtain in all cencerity before God for themselves in humility by the prayer of faith,17

See James 5:15.  


and more especially a teacher

Generally, one who instructs, but also an ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The Book of Mormon explained that teachers were to be ordained “to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end...

View Glossary
18

See Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:53–56, 81, 84]; and Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:111].  


or a high Priest in the Church of Christ

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
I speak these things not by way of reproach [p. 31]
attend an unorganised band in Journey[ing] to in the last  days9

A December 1831 revelation instructed that “a certificate from the judge or Bishop in this part of the vinyard [Kirtland] unto the Bishop in Zion rendereth every man acceptable and answereth all things for an inheritence and to be received as a wise steward and as a faithfull labourer otherwise shall not be accepted of the Bishop in Zion.” Nothing in John S. Carter’s journal indicates that anyone from the Benson area was sent to Kirtland to procure the recommended certificate or license. At some point, possibly based on counsel given in an earlier revelation, Carter himself apparently received authority or permission to issue such certificates; in August 1833 he noted in his journal that he wrote “the covenant, and certifficates for the brethren who go to Zion.” (Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–B [D&C 72:17–18]; Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–C [D&C 72:25]; John S. Carter, Journal, 21 Aug. 1833.)  


and again those in debt should in all cases pay  their debts10

An editorial in The Evening and the Morning Star in January 1833 made this point clear: “Every soul that comes up to Zion for an inheritance, for the present, must prepare temporally and spiritually. He should settle all his concerns with the world, and owe no man. . . . Let every one that quits the world for the sake of eternal life, act consistent in every thing: by obeying the commandments; by paying his just debts; by taking care of his property.” (“Let Every Man Learn His Duty,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, [5].)  


and the rich in are in no wise to cast out the  poor or leave them behind for it is said that the  poor shall inherit the earth11

See Matthew 5:5; Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:35]; and Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:17].  


you quoted a pass[a]ge  in Jeremiah with regard to Journey to 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
12

Without the original letter written by Carter, it is not possible to be certain which passage in Jeremiah he quoted, but of the few verses in Jeremiah that mention going to Zion, the one most likely referred to here is Jeremiah 3:14: “I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” (See also Jeremiah 31:6; 50:5.)  


the  word of God stands sure so let it be done
There are two paragraphs in your letter which  I do not commend as they are writen blind speak ing of the Elder

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
being sent like lightning from the  bow of Judah13

See Zechariah 9:13–14; Psalms 18:14; 144:6; and 2 Samuel 22:15.  


the second, no secret in the  councils of Zion14

TEXT: Possibly “this Zion”.  


you mention this as if fear  rested upon your mind otherwise we cannot  understand it and again we never enquire of at  the hand of the Lord God for special reve lation only in case of ther being no previous  revelation to suit the case and that in a  court of high Priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests. The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church. However, the Book of Mormon also discussed...

View Glossary
for further informa tion on the subject you have writen I will  refer you to the Elders who have recently  left here for the east 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
 some of whom you will probably see soon  you may depend on any information you  receive from them that are faithful you may  expect to see Bro Orson [Pratt]

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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& Lyman [Johnson]

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

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for whom  we have great fellowship,15

Pratt and Johnson previously served a mission to New England from 3 February 1832 to 17 February 1833. Shortly after returning to Kirtland, the men were again asked to preach in the eastern states and especially to “go to the Churches that they have raised up.” They subsequently left on 26 March 1833. Under the dates of 3–7 June 1833, John S. Carter wrote in his journal that he attended several meetings with Pratt and Johnson in Benson, Vermont, as well as a conference in Bath, New Hampshire. The church members in Benson were “in good degree ingaged,” according to Carter’s journal entry. (“History of Orson Pratt,” 12, 16–17, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861, CHL; Minutes, 23 Mar. 1833–B; John S. Carter, Journal, 3–7 June 1833.)  


it <is> a great thing to  enquire at the hand of God or to come into  his presence16

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 324 [Alma 36:14].  


and we feel fearful to appro[a]ch  him upon subject[s] that are of little or no  consequen[ce] to satisfy the enqueries of individ uals especially <about> things the knowledge of which  men aught to obtain in all cencerity before  God for themselves in humility by the prayer  of faith,17

See James 5:15.  


and more especially a teacher

Generally, one who instructs, but also an ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The Book of Mormon explained that teachers were to be ordained “to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end...

View Glossary
18

See Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:53–56, 81, 84]; and Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:111].  


or  a high Priest in the Church of Christ

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
 I speak these things not by way of reproach [p. 31]
PreviousNext
In this document, JS and 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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responded to a letter, no longer extant, from John S. Carter

Ca. 1792–25/26 June 1834. Married Elizabeth (Betsey) Kinyon, 28 Feb. 1813, at Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont. Lived in Benson, by 1820. Baptized into LDS church, ca. 1832. Served mission in Vermont with his brother Jared Carter, 1832. Helped brothers Simeon...

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of Benson

Located in western Vermont, near south end of Lake Champlain. Settled 1783; organized ca. 1786. Population in 1830 about 1,500. Scene of many early religious revivals. Location of first branch of LDS church in Vermont, 1831. Branch consisted mostly of former...

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, Vermont. Written on 5 April 1833, Carter’s letter sought guidance from “the Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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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 a number of questions.1

John S. Carter, Journal, 5 Apr. 1833.  


In addition to what can be inferred from the response featured here, the probable content of Carter’s letter and the questions it may have asked can be deduced from the history of the Church of Christ

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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in Benson, as well as from Carter’s journal and personal history.
In 1797, several members of Carter

Ca. 1792–25/26 June 1834. Married Elizabeth (Betsey) Kinyon, 28 Feb. 1813, at Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont. Lived in Benson, by 1820. Baptized into LDS church, ca. 1832. Served mission in Vermont with his brother Jared Carter, 1832. Helped brothers Simeon...

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’s family established the Baptist Church of Benson

Located in western Vermont, near south end of Lake Champlain. Settled 1783; organized ca. 1786. Population in 1830 about 1,500. Scene of many early religious revivals. Location of first branch of LDS church in Vermont, 1831. Branch consisted mostly of former...

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. John was elected to be a pastor for that church in 1822, and he served in that role until a group of Baptist ministers from the area decided that his teachings were not in harmony with Baptist orthodoxy. Carter left his post and led a congregation of Free Will Baptists in Benson. In late October 1831, John’s younger brother Jared

14 June 1801–6 July 1849. Born at Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Carter and Johanna Sims. Moved to Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1810. Married Lydia Ames, 20 Sept. 1823, at Benson. Moved to Chenango, Broome Co., New York, by Jan...

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, who had been baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

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into the Church of Christ earlier that year, arrived in Benson while serving a proselytizing mission. While John was preaching in another town, Jared baptized twenty-seven people in Benson, including virtually all of his brother’s Free Will Baptist congregation.2

Barnouw, “Benson Exodus of 1833: Mormon Converts and the Westward Movement,” 138–142.  


In November 1831, Jared introduced John to JS’s teachings. John was baptized into the Church of Christ sometime before 15 January 1832, when Jared left to return 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.3

John S. Carter, Journal, [1]–[2]; Jared Carter, Journal, 39, 48. After leaving to return to Kirtland, Jared wrote, “I had great reason to thank and praise the Lord for what he had done for me and my Brothers and sisters of my fathers family for the whole family had now come into the Glorious work of God with their companions, except one sister and my three Brothers were preachers In this gl[o]rious gospel.” (Jared Carter, Journal, 49.)  


On 25 April 1832, Jared Carter

14 June 1801–6 July 1849. Born at Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Carter and Johanna Sims. Moved to Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1810. Married Lydia Ames, 20 Sept. 1823, at Benson. Moved to Chenango, Broome Co., New York, by Jan...

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, along with Calvin Stoddard

7 Sept. 1801–19 Nov. 1836. Farmer. Born at Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York. Son of Silas Stoddard and Bathsheba Sheffield. Lived at Ontario Co., 1810. Married Sophronia Smith, 30 Dec. 1827, at Palmyra. Resident of Macedon, Wayne Co., New York, June 1830. Proselytized...

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and Aaron Lyon

Ca. 1781–30 Sept. 1839. Born in Holland, Hampton Co., Massachusetts. Married Roxana (Rocksey) Palmer, 15 July 1804, at Orwell, Rutland Co., Vermont. Presumably baptized into LDS church. Acquired land at Caldwell Co., Missouri, including town lot at Far West...

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, commenced another mission to the New England states.4

Jared Carter, Journal, 59; Revelation, 12 Mar. 1832 [D&C 79].  


Jared arrived in Benson

Located in western Vermont, near south end of Lake Champlain. Settled 1783; organized ca. 1786. Population in 1830 about 1,500. Scene of many early religious revivals. Location of first branch of LDS church in Vermont, 1831. Branch consisted mostly of former...

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in late May 1832, and John

Ca. 1792–25/26 June 1834. Married Elizabeth (Betsey) Kinyon, 28 Feb. 1813, at Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont. Lived in Benson, by 1820. Baptized into LDS church, ca. 1832. Served mission in Vermont with his brother Jared Carter, 1832. Helped brothers Simeon...

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was soon after ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

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to the high priesthood

The authority and power held by certain officers in the church. The Book of Mormon referred to the high priesthood as God’s “holy order, which was after the order of his Son,” and indicated that Melchizedek, a biblical figure, was a high priest “after this...

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. John then joined Jared in proselytizing in Vermont

Area served as early thoroughfare for traveling Indian tribes. French explored area, 1609, and erected fort on island in Lake Champlain, 1666. First settled by Massachusetts emigrants, 1724. Claimed by British colonies of New York and New Hampshire, but during...

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in June and July 1832.5

John S. Carter, Journal, [5]–[6]. According to his journal, Jared arrived in Benson on 20 May 1832. John was ordained to the high priesthood on Thursday, 24 May 1832. (Jared Carter, Journal, 69, 72.)  


On this mission, Jared expressed his confidence in John as a church leader, writing that he “bids fair for extensive usefulness because of his exceding sincerity & acquiered abilities and also because of his constant devotedness” to God.6

Jared Carter, Journal, 95.  


Following Jared’s departure in summer 1832, John became a key leader of the Church of Christ in Benson.
With little communication from church leaders outside of the infrequent visits of missionaries, and having known of JS’s teachings for only approximately one year, John

Ca. 1792–25/26 June 1834. Married Elizabeth (Betsey) Kinyon, 28 Feb. 1813, at Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont. Lived in Benson, by 1820. Baptized into LDS church, ca. 1832. Served mission in Vermont with his brother Jared Carter, 1832. Helped brothers Simeon...

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experienced both success and challenges in retaining church members and upholding their faith. His journal entries reveal concern about growing unbelief and discord among the Mormons in Benson

Located in western Vermont, near south end of Lake Champlain. Settled 1783; organized ca. 1786. Population in 1830 about 1,500. Scene of many early religious revivals. Location of first branch of LDS church in Vermont, 1831. Branch consisted mostly of former...

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and the surrounding area beginning in late February 1833, when he found church members “not well united.”7

John S. Carter, Journal, 24 Mar. 1833; see also 19 Feb. 1833; and 3, 9, and 14 Mar. 1833.  


In early March 1833, he described the Benson congregation as being “under some trials” and stated that a “division in feeling has taken place.”8

John S. Carter, Journal, 3 Mar. 1833.  


John attempted to “settle the . . . difficulty,” but hard feelings among the members of his congregation continued.9

John S. Carter, Journal, 14 Mar. 1833.  


One difficulty he encountered was the claim from Jane McManagal (McMangle) Sherwood, a convert in Benson, that she had received “visions of the Lord.”10

John S. Carter, Journal, 10 Mar. 1833. On the day he wrote to Kirtland, John noted in his journal that he “heard Sister Sherwood relate her vision of seeing an Angel.” (John S. Carter, Journal, 5 Apr. 1833.)  


Carter was curious about the phenomena of receiving revelation and experiencing visions, and in his letter to JS he probably sought information about the nature of these reported heavenly encounters and instruction on how to respond to them.
In his letter Carter

Ca. 1792–25/26 June 1834. Married Elizabeth (Betsey) Kinyon, 28 Feb. 1813, at Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont. Lived in Benson, by 1820. Baptized into LDS church, ca. 1832. Served mission in Vermont with his brother Jared Carter, 1832. Helped brothers Simeon...

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also apparently sought further knowledge about the gathering to 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
, a topic he had heard discussed at a church conference in Benson

Located in western Vermont, near south end of Lake Champlain. Settled 1783; organized ca. 1786. Population in 1830 about 1,500. Scene of many early religious revivals. Location of first branch of LDS church in Vermont, 1831. Branch consisted mostly of former...

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held on 10 August 1832.11

Ira Ames, a Vermont man who had married Charity Carter—a cousin of John and Jared—and who had recently joined the Church of Christ, was also at the 10 August conference and wrote that after the conference, he “commenced at once gathering up my means, disposing of my property preparing to gather with the Saints.” (Ames, Autobiography, [7], [9]; see also “The Gathering,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Nov. 1832, [5]–[6].)  


On 6 March 1833, Carter wrote in his journal that some church members in Vermont

Area served as early thoroughfare for traveling Indian tribes. French explored area, 1609, and erected fort on island in Lake Champlain, 1666. First settled by Massachusetts emigrants, 1724. Claimed by British colonies of New York and New Hampshire, but during...

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came to him “to enquire the way to Zion.”12

John S. Carter, Journal, 6 Mar. 1833.  


Later in the month, he described the desire of Benson converts to travel 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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and thence 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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, but he was unsure how to properly offer them assistance. He stated that some had already “made their calculation to go up to Zion,” though “their way appears hegged [hedged] up.”13

John S. Carter, Journal, 24 Mar. 1833.  


Delivered by his brother Jared

14 June 1801–6 July 1849. Born at Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Carter and Johanna Sims. Moved to Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1810. Married Lydia Ames, 20 Sept. 1823, at Benson. Moved to Chenango, Broome Co., New York, by Jan...

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, John S. Carter

Ca. 1792–25/26 June 1834. Married Elizabeth (Betsey) Kinyon, 28 Feb. 1813, at Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont. Lived in Benson, by 1820. Baptized into LDS church, ca. 1832. Served mission in Vermont with his brother Jared Carter, 1832. Helped brothers Simeon...

View Full Bio
’s 5 April 1833 letter was addressed to “the Elders 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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requesting by them council from God under some peculiar trials.”14

John S. Carter, Journal, 5 Apr. 1833. JS’s later history states, “Brother Jared Carter presented a letter, which he had received from his brother, to me, and requested me to answer it, which I did.” (JS History, vol. A-1, 285.)  


JS and 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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, two of the three presidents of the high priesthood

Both the office of the president of the high priesthood and the body comprising the president and his counselors; the presiding body of the church. In November 1831, a revelation directed the appointment of a president of the high priesthood. The individual...

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, responded to Carter’s inquiries in the letter featured here. Though signed by both JS and Williams, the letter contains first-person singular pronouns, presumably made by JS as lead author, and statements in first-person plural, as if both JS and Williams were speaking. The letter offers counsel concerning revelation and angelic

Being who acts as a minister and messenger between heaven and earth. JS taught that angels were individuals who “belonged to this earth”; those who had already lived on earth were often resurrected beings. In addition to giving instruction, direction, and...

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visions, levels of authority, the responsibilities of church leaders in local ministry, the readmittance of apostates, and how the Benson

Located in western Vermont, near south end of Lake Champlain. Settled 1783; organized ca. 1786. Population in 1830 about 1,500. Scene of many early religious revivals. Location of first branch of LDS church in Vermont, 1831. Branch consisted mostly of former...

More Info
church members should prepare to go to Zion. JS and Williams also encouraged Carter to seek further instruction from Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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and Lyman Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

View Full Bio
, who were appointed to preach and build up the church in the New England states that summer.
In late April, Carter

Ca. 1792–25/26 June 1834. Married Elizabeth (Betsey) Kinyon, 28 Feb. 1813, at Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont. Lived in Benson, by 1820. Baptized into LDS church, ca. 1832. Served mission in Vermont with his brother Jared Carter, 1832. Helped brothers Simeon...

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mentioned receiving this letter in his journal, writing, “Of this I was glad.”15

John S. Carter, Journal, 23–24 Apr. 1833.  


Carter’s journal indicates that he received a second letter from JS on 7 May 1833, which gave “answers to important questions.” This second letter may have been written in response to another missive from Carter, or JS may have simply written a second, follow-up letter to the one featured here. Regardless, no second letter from either Carter or JS is extant.
After receiving this letter—and apparently the second letter mentioned above—from JS, Carter

Ca. 1792–25/26 June 1834. Married Elizabeth (Betsey) Kinyon, 28 Feb. 1813, at Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont. Lived in Benson, by 1820. Baptized into LDS church, ca. 1832. Served mission in Vermont with his brother Jared Carter, 1832. Helped brothers Simeon...

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made the immigration of New England Mormons to Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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and 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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a priority. On 16 May 1833, in a letter published in The Evening and the Morning Star, Sylvester Smith

25 Mar. 1806–22 Feb. 1880. Farmer, carpenter, lawyer, realtor. Born at Tyringham, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Chileab Smith and Nancy Marshall. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, ca. 1815. Married Elizabeth Frank, 27 Dec. 1827, likely in Chautauque...

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wrote, “I have received a letter from brother John

Ca. 1792–25/26 June 1834. Married Elizabeth (Betsey) Kinyon, 28 Feb. 1813, at Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont. Lived in Benson, by 1820. Baptized into LDS church, ca. 1832. Served mission in Vermont with his brother Jared Carter, 1832. Helped brothers Simeon...

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informing me, that the church in Benson

Located in western Vermont, near south end of Lake Champlain. Settled 1783; organized ca. 1786. Population in 1830 about 1,500. Scene of many early religious revivals. Location of first branch of LDS church in Vermont, 1831. Branch consisted mostly of former...

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, Vermont, was going up to Zion, this summer.”16

“Progress of the Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 108.  


In late August 1833, Carter organized the departure of church members from Benson to Ohio and Missouri. He began his journey 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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on 5 September and effectively closed the branch of the church in Benson with his departure.17

John S. Carter, Journal, 21–22 Aug. and 5 Sept. 1833; Barnouw, “Benson Exodus of 1833: Mormon Converts and the Westward Movement,” 147.  


He arrived in Kirtland sometime after 27 September and was among the twelve men chosen to serve in the church’s first standing high council, organized by JS in Kirtland on 17 February 1834.18

John S. Carter’s journal ends on 27 September 1833, at which time he had not yet arrived in Kirtland. For more on the Kirtland high council, see Minutes, 17 Feb. 1834.  


Carter later traveled in 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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(later known as Zion’s Camp) and died of cholera in Clay County

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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, Missouri, on 24 June 1834.

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