30471

Letter to the Church in Thompson, Ohio, 6 February 1833

An Epistle to the Church in Thompson

Located about sixteen miles northeast of Kirtland, Ohio. Settled 1800. Surveyed 1809. Incorporated 1817. Population in 1830 about 700. Population in 1840 about 1,000. Latter-day Saints from Colesville, New York, were directed to settle in area on 759 acres...

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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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February 6th 1833——
To 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 Thompson

Located about sixteen miles northeast of Kirtland, Ohio. Settled 1800. Surveyed 1809. Incorporated 1817. Population in 1830 about 700. Population in 1840 about 1,000. Latter-day Saints from Colesville, New York, were directed to settle in area on 759 acres...

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Geauga County Ohio
Dear Brethren
We salute you by this our Epistle in the bonds of Love1

The phrase “in the bonds of Love” was part of the formal greeting prescribed for those entering the School of the Prophets. (Revelation, 3 Jan. 1833 [D&C 88:133].)  


rejoicing in your steadfastness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus our Lord2

See Colossians 2:5.  


and we desire your prosperity in the ways of truth and righteousness in the bowels of Jesus Christ3

See Philippians 1:8.  


praying for you continually that your faith fail not4

See Luke 22:32.  


and that you may overcome all the evils with which you are surrounded and become pure and holy before God even our father5

See 1 Thessalonians 3:13.  


to whom be glory for ever and ever Amen6

See Galatians 1:5; 2 Timothy 4:18; Romans 11:36; and Hebrews 13:21.  


It has seemed good unto the holy spirit and unto us7

See Acts 15:28.  


to send this our epistle to you by the hand of our beloved brother Salmon Gee

16 Oct. 1792–13 Sept. 1845. Farmer. Born at Lyme, New London Co., Connecticut. Son of Zopher Gee and Esther Beckwith. Moved to Lebanon, Warren Co., Ohio, by 1814. Married Sarah (Sally) Watson Crane, 15 Nov. 1814, at Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Baptized into LDS ...

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your messinger who has been 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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by us in obedience to the 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...

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of God to the office of 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...

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to preside over the Church in Thompson

Located about sixteen miles northeast of Kirtland, Ohio. Settled 1800. Surveyed 1809. Incorporated 1817. Population in 1830 about 700. Population in 1840 about 1,000. Latter-day Saints from Colesville, New York, were directed to settle in area on 759 acres...

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taking the oversight thereof8

See 1 Peter 5:1–2.  


to Lead you & to teach the things which are according to Godliness9

See 1 Timothy 6:3.  


in whom we have great confidence as we presume also you we therefore say to you yea not us only but the Lord also receive you him as such knowing that the lord has appointed him to this office for your good holding him up by your prayers [p. 25]
An Epistle to the Church in Thompson

Located about sixteen miles northeast of Kirtland, Ohio. Settled 1800. Surveyed 1809. Incorporated 1817. Population in 1830 about 700. Population in 1840 about 1,000. Latter-day Saints from Colesville, New York, were directed to settle in area on 759 acres...

More Info
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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February 6th 1833——
To 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
in Thompson

Located about sixteen miles northeast of Kirtland, Ohio. Settled 1800. Surveyed 1809. Incorporated 1817. Population in 1830 about 700. Population in 1840 about 1,000. Latter-day Saints from Colesville, New York, were directed to settle in area on 759 acres...

More Info
Geauga County Ohio
Dear Brethren
We salute you by this our  Epistle in the bonds of Love1

The phrase “in the bonds of Love” was part of the formal greeting prescribed for those entering the School of the Prophets. (Revelation, 3 Jan. 1833 [D&C 88:133].)  


rejoicing in your steadfa stness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus our Lord2

See Colossians 2:5.  


 and we desire your prosperity in the ways of truth  and righteousness in the bowels of Jesus Christ3

See Philippians 1:8.  


pray ing for you continually that your faith fail not4

See Luke 22:32.  


 and that you may overcome all the evils with  which you are surrounded and become pure  and holy before God even our father5

See 1 Thessalonians 3:13.  


to whom  be glory for and ever and ever Amen6

See Galatians 1:5; 2 Timothy 4:18; Romans 11:36; and Hebrews 13:21.  


It has seemed good unto the holy spirit  and unto us7

See Acts 15:28.  


to send this our epistle to you by  the hand of our beloved broth[e]r Salmon [Gee]

16 Oct. 1792–13 Sept. 1845. Farmer. Born at Lyme, New London Co., Connecticut. Son of Zopher Gee and Esther Beckwith. Moved to Lebanon, Warren Co., Ohio, by 1814. Married Sarah (Sally) Watson Crane, 15 Nov. 1814, at Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Baptized into LDS ...

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your  messinger who has been 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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by us in obe dience to the 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...

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of God to the office  of 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
to preside over the Church in Thompson

Located about sixteen miles northeast of Kirtland, Ohio. Settled 1800. Surveyed 1809. Incorporated 1817. Population in 1830 about 700. Population in 1840 about 1,000. Latter-day Saints from Colesville, New York, were directed to settle in area on 759 acres...

More Info
 taking the oversight thereof8

See 1 Peter 5:1–2.  


to Lead you &  to teach the thing[s] which are according to  Godliness9

See 1 Timothy 6:3.  


in whom we have great confidence  as we presume also you we therefore say to  you yea not us only but the Lord also  receive you him as such knowing that the  lord has appointed him to this office for  your good holding him up by your prayers [p. 25]
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As membership of the church increased in 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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, JS and his counselors assigned 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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to lead congregations established in areas outside of 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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, including the township of Thompson

Located about sixteen miles northeast of Kirtland, Ohio. Settled 1800. Surveyed 1809. Incorporated 1817. Population in 1830 about 700. Population in 1840 about 1,000. Latter-day Saints from Colesville, New York, were directed to settle in area on 759 acres...

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. Approximately sixteen miles northeast of Kirtland, Thompson was one of the first areas where church members settled after moving from 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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to Ohio. In the letter featured here, JS and his counselors in the presidency 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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announced that Salmon Gee

16 Oct. 1792–13 Sept. 1845. Farmer. Born at Lyme, New London Co., Connecticut. Son of Zopher Gee and Esther Beckwith. Moved to Lebanon, Warren Co., Ohio, by 1814. Married Sarah (Sally) Watson Crane, 15 Nov. 1814, at Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Baptized into LDS ...

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had been appointed to preside over the church in Thompson. They also gave general directions to the church members living there.
When JS arrived 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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in February 1831, Leman Copley

Ca. 1781–20 Apr./May 1862. Born in Connecticut. Son of Samuel Copley. Moved to Pittsford, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1800. Married Sally Cooley. Joined United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing (Shakers). Moved to Thompson Township, Geauga Co...

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, a converted Shaker and owner of a large parcel of property in Thompson

Located about sixteen miles northeast of Kirtland, Ohio. Settled 1800. Surveyed 1809. Incorporated 1817. Population in 1830 about 700. Population in 1840 about 1,000. Latter-day Saints from Colesville, New York, were directed to settle in area on 759 acres...

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, offered to let church members live on his land and to build houses for them.1 JS declined, but in May a group of members from the vicinity of Colesville

Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...

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, New York, accepted Copley’s offer and settled on his farm. That same month, after a failed mission to convert his former associates among the Shaker community in North Union, Ohio, Copley rescinded his offer and demanded that church members leave his land. The group from Colesville, following the directions given in a revelation to JS, moved to 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.2

Knight, Autobiography and Journal, 29–30; Revelation, 10 June 1831 [D&C 54:7–8]; see also Historical Introductions to Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51]; and to Revelation, 10 June 1831 [D&C 54].  


Since Copley had become estranged from the church, this exodus in 1831 removed any known presence 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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from Thompson. It is unclear when a congregation of the church was again established in Thompson, but by 3 August 1832, missionary Zebedee Coltrin

7 Sept. 1804–21 July 1887. Born at Ovid, Seneca Co., New York. Son of John Coltrin and Sarah Graham. Member of Methodist church. Married first Julia Ann Jennings, Oct. 1828. Baptized into LDS church by Solomon Hancock, 9 Jan. 1831, at Strongsville, Cuyahoga...

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was again referring to Leman Copley as “brother Copley” and holding church meetings at Copley’s home. Several people were 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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in Thompson in late 1832. Coltrin, for instance, noted in his journal several preaching engagements and multiple baptisms in Thompson that fall, and on 24 December 1832, Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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wrote to members of the church in 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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that John Murdock

15 July 1792–23 Dec. 1871. Farmer. Born at Kortright, Delaware Co., New York. Son of John Murdock Sr. and Eleanor Riggs. Joined Lutheran Dutch Church, ca. 1817, then Presbyterian Seceder Church shortly after. Moved to Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ca. 1819....

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had “returned from Thompson, Ohio, where he has baptized twenty-three.”3

Coltrin, Diary and Notebook, 3 Aug., 1 Oct.–12 Nov., and 20–23 Nov. 1832; “Extracts of Letters from the Elders Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Feb. 1833, [5]–[6].  


The growth of the church in Thompson

Located about sixteen miles northeast of Kirtland, Ohio. Settled 1800. Surveyed 1809. Incorporated 1817. Population in 1830 about 700. Population in 1840 about 1,000. Latter-day Saints from Colesville, New York, were directed to settle in area on 759 acres...

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apparently prompted JS and his counselors to ordain

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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Salmon Gee

16 Oct. 1792–13 Sept. 1845. Farmer. Born at Lyme, New London Co., Connecticut. Son of Zopher Gee and Esther Beckwith. Moved to Lebanon, Warren Co., Ohio, by 1814. Married Sarah (Sally) Watson Crane, 15 Nov. 1814, at Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Baptized into LDS ...

View Full Bio
an 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
and appoint him to preside over the local branch. Gee had already been holding church meetings at his home in Madison, Ohio, a few miles north of Thompson, as early as October 1832.4

Coltrin, Diary and Notebook, 13 Oct. 1832; 1830 U.S. Census, Madison, Geauga Co., OH, 192.  


At a conference

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

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held 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 4 February 1833, he was ordained an elder by Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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and appointed to lead the congregation in Thompson.5

Minute Book 1, 4 Feb. 1833. Gee’s elder’s license, signed by Frederick G. Williams, explained that he had been “ordained an Elder under the hand of Sidney Rigdon according to the articles and covenants of this church on the fourth day of February AD 1833.” (Elder’s License for Salmon Gee, 4 Feb. 1833, Lysander Gee, Papers, CHL.)  


The 6 February letter featured here was carried by Gee to his new congregants and served as his official introduction to them.
According to the letter, part of Gee

16 Oct. 1792–13 Sept. 1845. Farmer. Born at Lyme, New London Co., Connecticut. Son of Zopher Gee and Esther Beckwith. Moved to Lebanon, Warren Co., Ohio, by 1814. Married Sarah (Sally) Watson Crane, 15 Nov. 1814, at Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Baptized into LDS ...

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’s new responsibility was to keep members away from “evil spirits,” likely referring to the ongoing difficulty in 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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that involved members exhibiting spiritual manifestations that JS deemed inappropriate. Though multiple revelations outlined the differences between proper and improper spiritual manifestations, the new converts in Thompson

Located about sixteen miles northeast of Kirtland, Ohio. Settled 1800. Surveyed 1809. Incorporated 1817. Population in 1830 about 700. Population in 1840 about 1,000. Latter-day Saints from Colesville, New York, were directed to settle in area on 759 acres...

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continued to exhibit these unacceptable manifestations.6

For examples of behavior that had been deemed inappropriate by JS, see Historical Introduction to Revelation, 9 May 1831 [D&C 50]; see also Letter to Hyrum Smith, 3–4 Mar. 1831; Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–A [D&C 46]; and Revelation, 9 May 1831 [D&C 50].  


Only days after JS and his counselors sent this letter, John Murdock

15 July 1792–23 Dec. 1871. Farmer. Born at Kortright, Delaware Co., New York. Son of John Murdock Sr. and Eleanor Riggs. Joined Lutheran Dutch Church, ca. 1817, then Presbyterian Seceder Church shortly after. Moved to Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ca. 1819....

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, a high priest

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...

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who had baptized many in Thompson, wrote a letter concerning “evil spirits” to Gee and his congregation. In his letter, Murdock used his own experiences with what he deemed legitimate spiritual gifts to contrast the unacceptable actions of some Thompson members, especially those of Thomas King

25 July 1806–17 Apr. 1854. Merchant. Born in Virginia. Lived at Quincy, Adams Co., Illinois, by Jan. 1832. Served as constable, beginning Aug. 1835. Married Juliett Ann McDade, 9 June 1836, in Adams Co. Served as Adams Co. coroner, by Aug. 1836. Served as...

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, who apparently opposed Gee’s appointment as the new local leader.7

Murdock explained that he had been able “to speak the praises of God and the mysteries of the kingdom in other tonges according to promise and this without throwing me down or wallowing me on the ground or any thing unbecoming or immoral . . . so that I know that those odd actions and strange noises is not caused by the spirit of the Lord as is represented by brothe[r] King therefore in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the spirit of the Living God, according to the authority of the holy Priesthood commited to me I command Brother Thomas King (as though I were present) to cease from your diabolical acts of in thusiasm and also from acting as an Elder . . . [and] to submit and let brother Gee be upheld by the prayer of faith of every brother & sister and if there be this union of spirit & prayer of faith, evry false spirit shall be bound and cast out from among you.” (John Murdock, Kirtland, OH, to Salmon Gee, Thompson, OH, 11 Feb. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 26–27.)  


The letter featured here may also reflect JS’s recent work revising the New Testament. Four days before this letter was written, 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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wrote in Minute Book 1, “This day completed the translation and the reviewing of the New testament and sealed up no more to be brokin till it goes to Zion.”8

Minute Book 1, 2 Feb. 1833.  


While many of JS’s letters incorporate phrases found in the New Testament, this letter relies particularly heavily on New Testament language, suggesting it was influenced by JS’s recent revision of the scriptures

The sacred, written word of God containing the “mind & will of the Lord” and “matters of divine revelation.” Members of the church considered the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s revelations to be scripture. Revelations in 1830 and 1831 directed JS to ...

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.

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