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Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 12 February 1833

To N C Sexton Noah C. Saxton

25 Jan. 1798–23 June 1834. Evangelist, Christian newspaper editor. Born in Wilbraham, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Noah Saxton and Patty Bliss. Graduated from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York, 1818. Received preacher license, ...

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Rochester

Located at falls of Genesee River, seven miles south of Lake Ontario, on Erie Canal. Founded 1812. Incorporated as village, 1817. Originally called Rochesterville; name changed to Rochester, 1822. Incorporated as city, 1834. County seat. Population in 1820...

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Dear sir
I was somewhat disappointed on receiving my paper1

JS subscribed to the American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer. (Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 Jan. 1833.)  


with only a part of my letter inserted in it. The letter which I wrote you for publication I wrote by the [p. 27]
To N C Sexton [Noah C. Saxton]

25 Jan. 1798–23 June 1834. Evangelist, Christian newspaper editor. Born in Wilbraham, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Noah Saxton and Patty Bliss. Graduated from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York, 1818. Received preacher license, ...

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Rochester

Located at falls of Genesee River, seven miles south of Lake Ontario, on Erie Canal. Founded 1812. Incorporated as village, 1817. Originally called Rochesterville; name changed to Rochester, 1822. Incorporated as city, 1834. County seat. Population in 1820...

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Dear sir
I was somewhat disappointed on receiv ing my paper1

JS subscribed to the American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer. (Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 Jan. 1833.)  


with only a part of my  letter inserted in that it. The letter which I  wrote you for publication I wrote by the [p. 27]
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JS wrote this missive to Noah C. Saxton

25 Jan. 1798–23 June 1834. Evangelist, Christian newspaper editor. Born in Wilbraham, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Noah Saxton and Patty Bliss. Graduated from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York, 1818. Received preacher license, ...

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, editor of the American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer, in response to Saxton’s decision to publish in his paper only a portion of a letter JS had written to him on 4 January 1833.1

“Mormonism,” American Revivalist, and Rochester (NY) Observer, 2 Feb. 1833, [2]; Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 Jan. 1833.  


The extract of the 4 January letter, which Saxton published in the 2 February 1833 issue of the American Revivalist, bemoaned the wickedness of nations, warned of future calamities, and called people to repentance and baptism

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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in accordance with the revelations and doctrines 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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.
Less than six months earlier, in September 1832, Saxton

25 Jan. 1798–23 June 1834. Evangelist, Christian newspaper editor. Born in Wilbraham, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Noah Saxton and Patty Bliss. Graduated from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York, 1818. Received preacher license, ...

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became editor of an evangelical weekly newspaper titled the Rochester Observer. He changed its name to the American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer and stated in its nameplate that the paper was “Dedicated to the Interests of Zion Generally, and Especially to Revivals of Religion.” Saxton urged “his brethren in the ministry and other correspondents to contribute liberally” to his paper and proclaimed, “We cheerfully open our columns to the free discussion and critical investigation of the doctrines and duties of Christianity.”2

“American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer,” American Revivalist, and Rochester (NY) Observer, 29 Sept. 1832, [1].  


Saxton devoted most of his paper to reports and discussions of revivals and activities of various evangelical reform movements. Pieces concerning religious doctrine, like JS’s 4 January letter, rarely appeared, and Saxton published few columns that positively described the beliefs of a religious group outside of mainstream Protestantism.
Saxton

25 Jan. 1798–23 June 1834. Evangelist, Christian newspaper editor. Born in Wilbraham, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Noah Saxton and Patty Bliss. Graduated from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York, 1818. Received preacher license, ...

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’s paper first mentioned the Church of Christ in the 19 January 1833 issue, which commented on an earlier column from the Cincinnati Journal that depicted the growth of the religion in the Cincinnati

Area settled largely by emigrants from New England and New Jersey, by 1788. Village founded and surveyed adjacent to site of Fort Washington, 1789. First seat of legislature of Northwest Territory, 1790. Incorporated as city, 1819. Developed rapidly as shipping...

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area. The Journal labeled the Church of Christ as a religion “of mysteries and lying wonders” and offered to combat its “dark and marvellous” teachings as a service to its readers. Using that article as an entry point for his own comments, Saxton noted that Mormon converts were “almost without exception, from among the ignorant and fanatical.”3

“Mormonism in Cincinnati, Ohio,” American Revivalist, and Rochester (NY) Observer, 19 Jan. 1833, [1]. The original article from the Cincinnati Journal, which Saxton indicated was published on 28 December 1832, has not been located.  


JS’s 4 January letter, one of his first intended for the broader public,4

Other letters or messages from JS may have appeared in newspapers prior to the 2 February 1833 issue of the American Revivalist, but none are extant or known of with the exception of an extract from a November 1832 letter from JS to William W. Phelps that appeared in the January 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star. That letter, however, was not attributed to JS. (Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832; “Let Every Man Learn His Duty,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, [5].)  


outlined the beliefs of the Church of Christ. He wrote that he considered the contents of his letter so important that he was willing to expose his own weaknesses as a writer to “step forth into the field to tell you what the Lord is doing and what you must do to enjoy the smiles of your saviour in these last day[s].”5 Obeying a charge given in an earlier revelation to warn all nations of forthcoming calamities,6

See Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:81–82].  


JS decried the wickedness that he observed. He proceeded to explain the core principles of the Church of Christ so that Saxton and his readers might know and “enjoy the holy spirit of God to a fulness, and escape the Judgments of God which are almost ready to burst upon the nations of the earth.” JS admonished the readers of his letter to “repent of all your sins and be baptized in water for the remission of them,” in accordance with the doctrine of the Church of Christ.7
Perhaps to demonstrate the peculiarities of the Church of Christ and its founder, however, Saxton

25 Jan. 1798–23 June 1834. Evangelist, Christian newspaper editor. Born in Wilbraham, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Noah Saxton and Patty Bliss. Graduated from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York, 1818. Received preacher license, ...

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published only the two concluding paragraphs of the letter, which described the Book of Mormon as “a reccord of the forefathers of our western Tribes of Indians” and mentioned “that the Land of America is a promised land unto them.”8

Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 Jan. 1833; see also “Mormonism,” American Revivalist, and Rochester (NY) Observer, 2 Feb. 1833, [2]. The concept of the United States as the promised land for the American Indians would have seemed strange to other Americans who at this time were removing native peoples from their homelands onto reservations or into unorganized territory. The church-run newspaper The Evening and the Morning Star made note of Indian removal and Indian treaties and described those events as fulfilling in part the prophecy found in the Book of Mormon that “the time cometh that after all the house of Israel have been scattered and confounded . . . the Lord God will proceed to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel unto they which are of the house of Israel. Wherefore, he will bring them again out of captivity, and they shall be gathered together to the lands of their inheritance.” (“Indian Treaty,” Daily National Intelligencer [Washington DC], 3 Aug. 1831, [3]; “Another Indian Treaty,” Globe [Washington DC], 19 Sept. 1831, [2]; “Indian Treaty,” United States Telegraph [Washington DC], 23 Oct. 1832, [3]; “Indian Treaties,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, [6]; see also Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 57 [1 Nephi 22:7, 11–12].)  


The final paragraph of JS’s letter also briefly reiterated the contents of a revelation dated 25 December 1832, which foretold of war in America: “not many years shall pass away before 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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shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the hystory of our nation,” and “pestalence hail famine and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of this Land.”9

See Revelation, 25 Dec. 1832 [D&C 87].  


JS’s letter closed by encouraging all to repent and “imbrace the everlasting Covenant.”10 Saxton noted that he did not find all the content of JS’s letter beneficial for his readers, though he desired them to learn “something of the author’s views.” Saxton further suggested that he did not publish the entirety of JS’s letter, though it was written with “much good feeling and urbanity,” because of a lack of space and its inconsistencies with “our own views of truth.”11

“Mormonism,” American Revivalist, and Rochester (NY) Observer, 2 Feb. 1833, [2].  


After JS received the 2 February issue of the American Revivalist, he saw that some of what he considered to be the letter’s most important doctrinal material, related to God’s plan to break through the “dark atmosphere of sectarian wickedness,” had been omitted.12 The 12 February letter featured here reveals JS’s frustration with Saxton

25 Jan. 1798–23 June 1834. Evangelist, Christian newspaper editor. Born in Wilbraham, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Noah Saxton and Patty Bliss. Graduated from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York, 1818. Received preacher license, ...

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’s decision not to publish his entire message. JS’s stern warning to the editor, however, did not elicit a response, nor did it prompt Saxton to print the entire 4 January letter. The American Revivalist made no further mention of JS or his faith in any other edition through the end of its publication run in July 1833.13

Under the title American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer, the paper ran from 29 September 1832 through 13 July 1833.  


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