30471

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

praying for him continually that he may be endued

Bestowal of spiritual blessings, power, or knowledge. Beginning in 1831, multiple revelations promised an endowment of “power from on high” in association with the command to gather. Some believed this promise was fulfilled when individuals were first ordained...

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with wisdom and understanding in the knowledge of the Lord10

See Colossians 1:9.  


that through him you may be kept from evil spirits and all strifes and discensions and grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ11

See 2 Peter 3:18.  


Brethren beloved continue in brotherly Love12

See Hebrews 13:1.  


walk in meekness watching unto prayer13

See 1 Peter 4:7.  


that you be not overcome14

See Romans 12:21.  


follow after peace as said our beloved brother Paul15

See Hebrews 12:14; and Romans 14:19.  


that you may be the children of our heavenly Father16

See Matthew 5:45; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 481 [3 Nephi 12:45].  


and not give occasion of stumbling17

See Romans 14:13.  


to saint or sinner— finely finally brethren pray for us that we may be enabled to do the work whereunto we are called18

See Acts 13:2.  


that you may enjoy the mysteries of God even a fulness and may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all amen.19

See, for example, Romans 16:24; Philippians 4:23; and Revelation 22:21.  


Joseph Smith Jr—
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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F. G. William 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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20

Williams had been JS’s counselor since 5 January 1833. Rigdon had been a counselor since 8 March 1832. (See Revelation, 5 Jan. 1833; and Note, 8 Mar. 1832.)  


—— [p. 26]
praying for him continually that he may be  endued

Bestowal of spiritual blessings, power, or knowledge. Beginning in 1831, multiple revelations promised an endowment of “power from on high” in association with the command to gather. Some believed this promise was fulfilled when individuals were first ordained...

View Glossary
with wisdom and understanding in the  knowledge of the Lord10

See Colossians 1:9.  


that through him you may  be kept from evil spirits and all strifes and  discensions and grow in grace and in the know[l]edge  of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ11

See 2 Peter 3:18.  


Brethren beloved continue in brotherly Love12

See Hebrews 13:1.  


 walking in meekness watching unto prayer13

See 1 Peter 4:7.  


 that you be not overcome14

See Romans 12:21.  


follow after  peace as said our beloved brothe[r] Paul15

See Hebrews 12:14; and Romans 14:19.  


that  you may be the children of our heavenly  Father16

See Matthew 5:45; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 481 [3 Nephi 12:45].  


and <not> give occasion <of> for stumbling17

See Romans 14:13.  


to  saint or sinner— finely [finally] brethren pray for  us that we may be enabled to do the work  whereunto we are called18

See Acts 13:2.  


that you may enjoy  the mysteries of God even a fulness and may  the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you  all amen.19

See, for example, Romans 16:24; Philippians 4:23; and Revelation 22:21.  


Joseph Smith Jr—
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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F. G. William [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...

View Full Bio
20

Williams had been JS’s counselor since 5 January 1833. Rigdon had been a counselor since 8 March 1832. (See Revelation, 5 Jan. 1833; and Note, 8 Mar. 1832.)  


—— [p. 26]
Previous
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 ...

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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...

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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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