30493

Letter to the Church, not after 18 December 1833

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...

View Glossary
IN KIRTLAND, TO THEIR BRETHREN ABROAD.
Dear Brethren in Christ, and companions in tribulation:
It seemeth good unto us, to drop a few lines to you, giving you some instruction relative to conducting the affairs of the kingdom of God, which has been committed unto us in these later times,1

As articulated in JS’s revelations, JS and the presidency of the high priesthood held “the keys of the kingdom of God,” indicating that they were responsible for conducting the affairs of the “kingdom of God.” The wording of the letter here suggests that JS was involved in the creation of this letter or was at least responsible for what it said. (Revelation, 30 Oct. 1831 [D&C 65:2]; Revelation, 8 Mar. 1833 [D&C 90:6].)  


by the will and testament of our Mediator, whose intersessions in our behalf, are lodged in the bosom of the Eternal Father,2

See Romans 8:34; Hebrews 8:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; and Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76:69].  


and ere long will burst with blessings upon the heads of all the faithful:
We have all been children, and are too mutch so at the present time; but we hope in the Lord, that we may grow in grace and be prepared for all things which the bosom of futurity may disclose unto us. Time is rapidly rolling on, and the prophecies must be fulfilled. The days of tribulation are fast approaching, and the time to test the fidelity of the Saints, has come.— Rumor with her ten thousand tongues is diffusing her uncertain sounds in almost every ear: but in these times of sore trial, let the saints be patient and see the salvation of God.3

See Isaiah 52:10; and Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:66].  


Those who cannot endure persecution and stand in the day of affliction, cannot stand in the day when the Son of God shall burst the veil, and appear in all the glory of his Father with the holy angels.4

Regarding persecution, a revelation dictated by JS on 16–17 December 1833 declared, “Therefore they must needs be chastened and tried even as Abraham who was commanded to offer up his only son for all those who will not endure chastening but deny me cannot be sanctified.” (Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:4–5].)  


On the subject of ordination

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...

View Glossary
, a few words are necessary: In many instances there has been too much haste in this thing, and the admonition of Paul has been too slightingly passed over, which says, “Lay hands suddenly upon no man.”5

1 Timothy 5:22.  


Some have been ordained to the ministry, and have never acted in that capacity, or magnified their calling, at all: Such may expect to lose their calling, except they awake and magnify their office.6

Minute Book 1 and letters written over the previous two years cite several cases in which men were brought before an ecclesiastical council and had their licenses or priesthood responsibilities taken away for not “magnifying” their callings or for improper conduct. (See, for example, Minute Book 1, 29 Dec. 1832; Minutes, 21 June 1833; Minutes, 2 May 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Eugene, IN, 2 July 1833; and Letter to Church Leaders in Geneseo, NY, 23 Nov. 1833.)  


Let the elders abroad be exceedingly careful upon this subject, and when they ordain a man to the holy ministry, let it be a faithful man, who is able to teach others also; that the cause of Christ suffer not. It is not the multitude of preachers that is to bring about the glorious Millenium! but it is those who are “called, and chosen, and faithful.”7

Revelation 17:14. A JS revelation dictated over two years earlier declared, “Wherefore now let every man learn his duty & to act in the office in which he is appointed in all diligence he that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand & he that learneth not his duty & sheweth himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand even so Amen.” (Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:99–100].)  


Let the elders be exceedingly careful about unnecessarily disturbing and harrowing up the feelings of the people. Remember, that your business is, to preach the gospel in all humility and meekness, and warn sinners to repent and come to Christ.8

William W. Phelps gave similar advice to “Elders of the Church of Christ” in The Evening and the Morning Star over a year earlier: “Warn in compassion, without threatening the wicked with judgments which are to be poured upon the world hereafter. You have no right . . . to collect the calamities of six thousand years, and paint them upon the curtain of these last days, to scare mankind to repentance; no; you are to preach the gospel . . . even glad tidings of great joy unto all people.” ([William W. Phelps], “To the Elders of the Church of Christ, Who Preach Good Tidings to the World,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [6].)  


Avoid contentions and vain disputes9

See Titus 3:9.  


with men of corrupt minds, who do not desire to know the truth. Remember that “it is a day of warning, and not a day of many words.”10

Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:58].  


If they receive not your testimony in one place, flee to another, remembering, to cast no reflections, nor throw out any bitter sayings. If you do your duty, it will be just as well with you, as though all men embraced the gospel.
Be careful about sending boys to preach the gospel to the world; if they go, let them be accompanied by some one who is able to guide them in the proper channel,11

See Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:106].  


lest they become puffed up, and fall under condemnation and into the snare of the devil:12

See 1 Timothy 3:6.  


finally, in these critical times, be careful; call on the Lord day and night. Beware of pride:13

See Revelation, Apr. 1830–A [D&C 23:1]; Revelation, July 1830–C [D&C 25:14]; and Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:39].  


Beware of false brethren, who will creep in among you to spy out your liberties, &c.14

See Galatians 2:4.  


Awake to righteousness and sin not; let your light shine, and show yourselves workmen that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.15

See 2 Timothy 2:15.  


Apply yourselves diligently to study, that your minds may be stored with all necessary information.16

A September 1832 revelation counseled, “Treasure up in your minds continually the words of life and it shall be given you in the very hour that po[r]tion that shall be meeted unto evry man.” The December 1832 revelation that called for the organization of the “school of the prophets” also emphasized the importance of education for those who had been called to the ministry in the Church of Christ. (Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:85]; Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:77–80].)  


We remain your brethren in Christ, anxiously praying for the day of redemption to come, when iniquity shall be swept from the earth; and everlasting righteousness brought in:
Farewell. [p. 120]
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...

View Glossary
IN KIRTLAND, TO THEIR BRETHREN  ABROAD.
Dear Brethren in Christ, and companions in tribulation:
It seemeth good unto us, to drop a few lines to you, giving you some in struction relative to conducting the affairs of the kingdom of God, which has  been committed unto us in these later times,1

As articulated in JS’s revelations, JS and the presidency of the high priesthood held “the keys of the kingdom of God,” indicating that they were responsible for conducting the affairs of the “kingdom of God.” The wording of the letter here suggests that JS was involved in the creation of this letter or was at least responsible for what it said. (Revelation, 30 Oct. 1831 [D&C 65:2]; Revelation, 8 Mar. 1833 [D&C 90:6].)  


by the will and testament of our  Mediator, whose intersessions in our behalf, are lodged in the bosom of  the Eternal Father,2

See Romans 8:34; Hebrews 8:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; and Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76:69].  


and ere long will burst with blessings upon the heads of  all the faithful:
We have all been children, and are too mutch so at the present time; but  we hope in the Lord, that we may grow in grace and be prepared for all  things which the bosom of futurity may disclose unto us. Time is rapidly  rolling on, and the prophecies must be fulfilled. The days of tribulation are  fast approaching, and the time to test the fidelity of the Saints, has come.—  Rumor with her ten thousand tongues is diffusing her uncertain sounds in  almost every ear: but in these times of sore trial, let the saints be patient  and see the salvation of God.3

See Isaiah 52:10; and Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:66].  


Those who cannot endure persecution and  stand in the day of affliction, cannot stand in the day when the Son of God  shall burst the veil, and appear in all the glory of his Father with the holy  angels.4

Regarding persecution, a revelation dictated by JS on 16–17 December 1833 declared, “Therefore they must needs be chastened and tried even as Abraham who was commanded to offer up his only son for all those who will not endure chastening but deny me cannot be sanctified.” (Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:4–5].)  


On the subject of ordination

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...

View Glossary
, a few words are necessary: In many in stances there has been too much haste in this thing, and the admonition of  Paul has been too slightingly passed over, which says, “Lay hands suddenly  upon no man.”5

1 Timothy 5:22.  


Some have been ordained to the ministry, and have never  acted in that capacity, or magnified their calling, at all: Such may expect to  lose their calling, except they awake and magnify their office.6

Minute Book 1 and letters written over the previous two years cite several cases in which men were brought before an ecclesiastical council and had their licenses or priesthood responsibilities taken away for not “magnifying” their callings or for improper conduct. (See, for example, Minute Book 1, 29 Dec. 1832; Minutes, 21 June 1833; Minutes, 2 May 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Eugene, IN, 2 July 1833; and Letter to Church Leaders in Geneseo, NY, 23 Nov. 1833.)  


Let the el ders abroad be exceedingly careful upon this subject, and when they ordain  a man to the holy ministry, let it be a faithful man, who is able to teach oth ers also; that the cause of Christ suffer not. It is not the multitude of preachers  that is to bring about the glorious Millenium! but it is those who are “cal led, and chosen, and faithful.”7

Revelation 17:14. A JS revelation dictated over two years earlier declared, “Wherefore now let every man learn his duty & to act in the office in which he is appointed in all diligence he that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand & he that learneth not his duty & sheweth himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand even so Amen.” (Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:99–100].)  


Let the elders be exceedingly careful about unnecessarily disturbing and  harrowing up the feelings of the people. Remember, that your business is,  to preach the gospel in all humility and meekness, and warn sinners to re pent and come to Christ.8

William W. Phelps gave similar advice to “Elders of the Church of Christ” in The Evening and the Morning Star over a year earlier: “Warn in compassion, without threatening the wicked with judgments which are to be poured upon the world hereafter. You have no right . . . to collect the calamities of six thousand years, and paint them upon the curtain of these last days, to scare mankind to repentance; no; you are to preach the gospel . . . even glad tidings of great joy unto all people.” ([William W. Phelps], “To the Elders of the Church of Christ, Who Preach Good Tidings to the World,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [6].)  


Avoid contentions and vain disputes9

See Titus 3:9.  


with men  of corrupt minds, who do not desire to know the truth. Remember that “it  is a day of warning, and not a day of many words.”10

Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:58].  


If they receive not  your testimony in one place, flee to another, remembering, to cast no re flections, nor throw out any bitter sayings. If you do your duty, it will  be just as well with you, as though all men embraced the gospel.
Be careful about sending boys to preach the gospel to the world; if they  go, let them be accompanied by some one who is able to guide them in the  proper channel,11

See Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:106].  


lest they become puffed up, and fall under condemnation  and into the snare of the devil:12

See 1 Timothy 3:6.  


finally, in these critical times, be careful;  call on the Lord day and night. Beware of pride:13

See Revelation, Apr. 1830–A [D&C 23:1]; Revelation, July 1830–C [D&C 25:14]; and Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:39].  


Beware of false breth ren, who will creep in among you to spy out your liberties, &c.14

See Galatians 2:4.  


Awake to  righteousness and sin not; let your light shine, and show yourselves work men that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.15

See 2 Timothy 2:15.  


Apply  yourselves diligently to study, that your minds may be stored with all ne cessary information.16

A September 1832 revelation counseled, “Treasure up in your minds continually the words of life and it shall be given you in the very hour that po[r]tion that shall be meeted unto evry man.” The December 1832 revelation that called for the organization of the “school of the prophets” also emphasized the importance of education for those who had been called to the ministry in the Church of Christ. (Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:85]; Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:77–80].)  


We remain your brethren in Christ, anxiously praying for the day of  redemption to come, when iniquity shall be swept from the earth; and ever lasting righteousness brought in:
Farewell. [p. 120]
This short letter was published in the first issue of the revived newspaper The Evening and the Morning Star, which was printed 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...

More Info
, Ohio, in December 1833. The letter was sent “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...

View Glossary
in Kirtland,” including JS. Publishing an open letter in the church’s newspaper appears to have been a common way for church leaders in both Kirtland 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...

More Info
to convey instructions to the entire 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
.1

See, for example, the following letters from Missouri church leaders: “The Elders in the Land of Zion to the Church of Christ Scattered Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [5]; and [William W. Phelps], “To the Elders of the Church of Christ, Who Preach Good Tidings to the World,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [6].  


The letter featured here offered advice on preaching, advising missionaries to be tactful and patient and reiterating their duty to “bring about the glorious Millenium” by warning the world to “repent and come to Christ.” This letter also briefly discussed a variety of other topics, including the need 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...

View Glossary
qualified men to the priesthood

Power or authority of God. The priesthood was conferred through the laying on of hands upon adult male members of the church in good standing; no specialized training was required. Priesthood officers held responsibility for administering the sacrament of...

View Glossary
and persecution; the letter’s mention of the “sore trial” of the church may have referred to the recent violence against church members in Missouri.2

For more information on the recent happenings in Missouri, see Historical Introductions to Letter, 30 Oct. 1833; and to Letter from William W. Phelps, 6–7 Nov. 1833.  


This letter was written sometime before 18 December 1833, when JS dedicated the printing press 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...

More Info
and, with 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...

View Full Bio
and Hyrum Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

View Full Bio
, “proceded to take the first proof sheet” of the first issue of the revived Star.3

JS, Journal, 18 Dec. 1833.  


Two months after publishing this letter, Kirtland leaders published another letter, titled “The Elders of the Church in Kirtland, to Their Brethren Abroad,” which ran serially through two additional issues of the Star before the leadership laid the newspaper aside and left in the spring of 1834 with 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...

View Glossary
to aid church members 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...

More Info
.4

See Letter to the Church, ca. Feb. 1834; Letter to the Church, ca. Mar. 1834; and “The Elders of the Church in Kirtland, to Their Brethren Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Apr. 1834, 152.  


Facts