53991957

Letter to Silas Smith, 26 September 1833

given them7

Instead of “them,” the copy in Lucy Mack Smith’s history has “the world.” (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 229.)  


to understand by anything heretofore revealed that He had ceased to speak, forever, to his creatures, when sought unto in a proper manner, why should it be thought a thing incredible that He should be pleased to speak again, in these last days for their salvation?8

Several months later, JS and his associates in the presidency of the high priesthood reiterated this point in an epistle to the elders of the church. (See Letter to the Church, ca. Mar. 1834.)  


Perhaps you may be surprised at this assertion. That I should say for the salvation of his creatures in these last days, since we have already in our possession a vast volume of his word, which he has previously given
But you will admit that the word spoken to Noah was not sufficient for Abraham, or it was not required of him9

Instead of “him,” the copy in Lucy Mack Smith’s history has “Abraham.” (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 229.)  


to leave the land of his nativity, and seek an inheritance in a strange country upon the word spoken to Noah, but, for himself he obtained promises from the hand of the Lord, and walked in that perfection10

See Genesis 17:1–22.  


that he was called the friend of God.11

See James 2:23; and Isaiah 41:8.  


Isaac, the promised seed, was not required to rest his hope alone12

The word “alone” is missing at this location in the copy in Lucy Mack Smith’s history. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 229.)  


upon the promises made to his father Abraham, but was privileged with the assurance of his approbation in the sight of Heaven, by the direct voice of the Lord to him.13

See Genesis 26:2–5.  


If one man can live upon the revelations14

The copy in Lucy Mack Smith’s history includes the word “given” here. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 229.)  


to another,15

Here, JS encapsulated the Church of Christ’s rationale for belief in continuing revelation. More than a year earlier, Presbyterian minister Benton Pixley reported that Sidney Rigdon “tells us that we are to look for and expect about these day[s] a new revelation—that the precepts inculcated and given by the Apostles to other people and in other ages are by no means to be applied to us Those promises are not to be received by us as a matter of comfort nor those threatnings as a matter of alarm—for neither one nor the other belong to us—Promises given to a people very different from us—and under very different circumstances eighteen hundred years ago away off on the Contenent of Asia can with no consistency be applied to the people of these United States—We are without a Revalation and must wait upon God and pray for one suited to our times and circumstances.” Church leader John Taylor later expressed, “From the time that Adam first received a communication from God, to the time that John, on the Isle of Patmos, received his communication, or Joseph Smith had the heavens opened to him, it always required new revelations, adapted to the peculiar circumstances in which the churches or individuals were placed. Adam’s revelation did not instruct Noah to build his ark; nor did Noah's revelation tell Lot to forsake Sodom; nor did either of these speak of the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt. These all had revelations for themselves, and so had Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jesus, Peter, Paul, John, Joseph, and so must we, or we shall make a shipwreck.” (Benton Pixley, Independence, MO, to Absalom Peters, New York City, NY, 1 June 1832, in American Home Missionary Society Papers; John Taylor, “On Priesthood,” LDS Millennial Star, 1 Nov. 1847, 9:323; see also “The Elders in the Land of Zion to the Church of Christ Scattered Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [5].)  


might I not with propriety ask, why the necessity then, of the Lord’s speaking to Isaac as he did, as is recorded in the twenty sixth chapter of Genesis? For the Lord there repeats, or rather, promises again to perform the oath which he had previously sworn to Abraham,16

See Genesis 17:1–22; 22:16–18; 26:3–5.  


and why this repetition to Isaac? Why was not the first promise as sure for Isaac as it was for Abraham? Was not Isaac Abraham’s son, and could he not place implicit confidence in the veracity of his father as being a man of God?
Perhaps you may say that he was a very peculiar man, and different from men in these last days, consequently the Lord favored him with blessings, peculiar and different, as he was different from men in this age.
I admit that he was a peculiar man, and was not only peculiarly blessed, but greatly blessed.
But all the peculiarity that I can discover in the man, or all the difference between him and men in this age, is, that he was more holy and more perfect before God, and came to Him with a purer heart, and more faith than men in this day.
The same might be said on the subject of Jacob’s history. Why was it that the Lord spake to him concerning the same promise, after He had made it once to Abraham, and renewed it to Isaac? Why could not Jacob rest contented upon the word spoken to his fathers?17

See Genesis 35:10–12.  


When the time of the promise drew nigh for the deliverance of the children of Israel from the land of [p. 3]
given them7

Instead of “them,” the copy in Lucy Mack Smith’s history has “the world.” (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 229.)  


to understand by anything heretofore revealed that He  had ceased to speak, forever, to his creatures, when sought unto  in a proper manner, why should it be thought a thing incredible  that He should be pleased to speak again, in these last days  for their salvation?8

Several months later, JS and his associates in the presidency of the high priesthood reiterated this point in an epistle to the elders of the church. (See Letter to the Church, ca. Mar. 1834.)  


Perhaps you may be surprised at this  assertion. That I should say for the salvation of his creatures  in these last days, since we have already in our possession a  vast volume of his word, which he has previously given
But you will admit that the word spoken to Noah was not suf ficient for Abraham, or it was not required of <him>9

Instead of “him,” the copy in Lucy Mack Smith’s history has “Abraham.” (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 229.)  


to leave the land of his  nativity, and seek an inheritance in a strange country upon the word  spoken to Noah, but, for himself he obtained promises from the  hand of the Lord, and walked in that perfection10

See Genesis 17:1–22.  


that he was called  the friend of God.11

See James 2:23; and Isaiah 41:8.  


Isaac, the promised seed, was not required to rest  his hope alone12

The word “alone” is missing at this location in the copy in Lucy Mack Smith’s history. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 229.)  


upon the promises made to his father Abraham, but  was privileged with the assurance of his approbation in the sight of  Heaven, by the direct voice of the Lord to him.13

See Genesis 26:2–5.  


If one man can  live upon the revelations14

The copy in Lucy Mack Smith’s history includes the word “given” here. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 229.)  


to another,15

Here, JS encapsulated the Church of Christ’s rationale for belief in continuing revelation. More than a year earlier, Presbyterian minister Benton Pixley reported that Sidney Rigdon “tells us that we are to look for and expect about these day[s] a new revelation—that the precepts inculcated and given by the Apostles to other people and in other ages are by no means to be applied to us Those promises are not to be received by us as a matter of comfort nor those threatnings as a matter of alarm—for neither one nor the other belong to us—Promises given to a people very different from us—and under very different circumstances eighteen hundred years ago away off on the Contenent of Asia can with no consistency be applied to the people of these United States—We are without a Revalation and must wait upon God and pray for one suited to our times and circumstances.” Church leader John Taylor later expressed, “From the time that Adam first received a communication from God, to the time that John, on the Isle of Patmos, received his communication, or Joseph Smith had the heavens opened to him, it always required new revelations, adapted to the peculiar circumstances in which the churches or individuals were placed. Adam’s revelation did not instruct Noah to build his ark; nor did Noah's revelation tell Lot to forsake Sodom; nor did either of these speak of the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt. These all had revelations for themselves, and so had Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jesus, Peter, Paul, John, Joseph, and so must we, or we shall make a shipwreck.” (Benton Pixley, Independence, MO, to Absalom Peters, New York City, NY, 1 June 1832, in American Home Missionary Society Papers; John Taylor, “On Priesthood,” LDS Millennial Star, 1 Nov. 1847, 9:323; see also “The Elders in the Land of Zion to the Church of Christ Scattered Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [5].)  


might I not with propriety ask,  why the necessity then, of the Lord’s speaking to Isaac as he did, as  is recorded in the twenty sixth chapter of Genesis? For the Lord there  repeats, or rather, promises again to perform the oath which he had  previously sworn to Abraham,16

See Genesis 17:1–22; 22:16–18; 26:3–5.  


and why this repetition to Isaac?  Why was not the first promise as sure for Isaac as it was for Abraham?  Was not Isaac Abraham’s son, and could he not place implicit  confidence in the veracity of his father as <being> a man of God?
Perhaps you may say that he was a very peculiar man, and different  from men in these last days, consequently the Lord favored him  with blessings, peculiar and different, as he was different from men  in this age.
I admit that he was a peculiar man, and was  not only peculiarly blessed, but greatly blessed.
But all  the peculiarity that I can discover in the man, or all the dif ference between him and men in this age, is, that he was  more holy and more perfect before God, and came to Him with  a purer heart, and more faith than men in this day.
The same might be said on the subject of Jacob’s history.  Why was it that the Lord spake to him concerning the same promise,  after He had made it once to Abraham, and renewed it to  Isaac? Why could not Jacob rest contented upon the word  spoken to his fathers?17

See Genesis 35:10–12.  


When the time of the promise drew nigh  for the deliverance of the children of Israel from the land of [p. 3]
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JS, Letter, Kirtland Township

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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1 Oct. 1779–13 Sept. 1839. Farmer. Born in Derryfield (now Manchester), Hillsborough Co., New Hampshire. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Moved to Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts, by 1790. Moved to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, by 1800. Married first...

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, St. Lawrence Co., NY, 26 Sept. 1833. Featured version copied [ca. Oct. 1855] in Jesse Smith, Autobiography and Journal, 2–5; handwriting of Jesse Smith; CHL.
Jesse Smith’s autobiography and journal was inscribed in a large, commercially produced blank book. The book’s ledger paper is horizontally ruled with two red lines above forty faint blue lines on each page. The book underwent conservation efforts in the mid-1990s. The leaves measure 14 × 8⅝ inches (36 × 22 cm). The volume measures 14½ × 10 × 2¼ inches (37 × 25 × 6 cm). The volume contains 655 inscribed pages followed by 31 blank pages. The first 23 pages contain Smith’s autobiography and his family history. Included in those 23 pages are a transcript of the letter featured here; the conversion story of his father, Silas Smith

1 Oct. 1779–13 Sept. 1839. Farmer. Born in Derryfield (now Manchester), Hillsborough Co., New Hampshire. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Moved to Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts, by 1790. Moved to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, by 1800. Married first...

View Full Bio
; a copy of Jesse’s patriarchal blessing; and Jesse’s family history to October 1855. In October 1855, Jesse Smith began using the ledger as a journal. This volume was used as Smith’s personal journal in Utah and Arizona from 1855 until his death in 1906. The last entry is dated 5 June 1906.
It is likely that Silas Smith

1 Oct. 1779–13 Sept. 1839. Farmer. Born in Derryfield (now Manchester), Hillsborough Co., New Hampshire. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Moved to Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts, by 1790. Moved to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, by 1800. Married first...

View Full Bio
passed the original letter to his son Jesse Smith, who kept it but wanted to make a second copy. It is unknown when Jesse Smith’s volume was donated to the Church History Library or by whom. This journal was labeled “Journal #174” by staff of Church History Library and was received by the Church Historian’s Office prior to the 1940s when clerk Alice M. Rich transcribed its contents.1

Jesse Smith, Autobiography and Journal, typescript, CHL.  


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