53991743

Prayer, 11 January 1834

the Church

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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may not be braught into disrepute, and the saints be afflicted by the hands of their enemies.
Fifthly, That the Lord would protect our printing press from the hands of evil men, and give us means to send forth his word, even his gospel that the ears of all may hear it, and also that we may print his scriptures;4

Revelations of November and December 1831 mandated that a compilation of JS’s revelations be published. Efforts to publish such a compilation—titled the Book of Commandments—began in November 1831 but were interrupted on 20 July 1833 when a mob in Jackson County, Missouri, destroyed the church printing office. JS and his associates published a new collection of revelations, the Doctrine and Covenants, in Kirtland in 1835. A revelation dated 4 December 1831 stipulated that the church was also to publish JS’s translation of the Bible. This translation, however, was not published in JS’s lifetime. (Revelation, 1 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 1:6]; Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–B [D&C 72:20–21]; Minutes, 1–2 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831; Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–B [D&C 94:10]; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 6 Aug. 1833.)  


and also that he would give those who were appointed to conduct the press,5

On 11 September 1833, United Firm members JS, Sidney Rigdon, Newel K. Whitney, Frederick G. Williams, and Oliver Cowdery held a council in which they determined to establish a printing press in Kirtland under the auspices of the firm “F. G. Williams and Company.” The firm was directed to publish a new paper, the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, and to continue, under the direction of Oliver Cowdery, publishing The Evening and the Morning Star—the church newspaper printed in Independence, Missouri, before the press there was destroyed in July 1833—until the paper could be moved back to Missouri. Members of the firm also planned to publish a weekly political paper later titled the Northern Times. Cowdery purchased a new press and type in New York, and the press began operation in December 1833. In a letter written two months later, JS recalled how he, Cowdery, and others had had to “lie every night for a long time upon our arms to keep off mobs, of forties, of eighties, & of hundreds to save our lives and the press.” (Minutes, 11 Sept. 1833; Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:47–53; JS, Journal, 4–6 and 18 Dec. 1833; Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 30 Mar. 1834, underlining in original.)  


wisdom sufficient that the cause [p. 46]
the Church

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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may not be braught  into disrepute, and the saints  be afflicted by the hands of their  enemies.
Fifthly, That the Lord would  protect our printing press  from the hands of evil men,  and give us means to send  forth his word, even his gos pel that the ears of all  may hear it, and also that  we may print his scrip tures;4

Revelations of November and December 1831 mandated that a compilation of JS’s revelations be published. Efforts to publish such a compilation—titled the Book of Commandments—began in November 1831 but were interrupted on 20 July 1833 when a mob in Jackson County, Missouri, destroyed the church printing office. JS and his associates published a new collection of revelations, the Doctrine and Covenants, in Kirtland in 1835. A revelation dated 4 December 1831 stipulated that the church was also to publish JS’s translation of the Bible. This translation, however, was not published in JS’s lifetime. (Revelation, 1 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 1:6]; Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–B [D&C 72:20–21]; Minutes, 1–2 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831; Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–B [D&C 94:10]; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 6 Aug. 1833.)  


and also that he  would give those who  were appointed to con duct the press,5

On 11 September 1833, United Firm members JS, Sidney Rigdon, Newel K. Whitney, Frederick G. Williams, and Oliver Cowdery held a council in which they determined to establish a printing press in Kirtland under the auspices of the firm “F. G. Williams and Company.” The firm was directed to publish a new paper, the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, and to continue, under the direction of Oliver Cowdery, publishing The Evening and the Morning Star—the church newspaper printed in Independence, Missouri, before the press there was destroyed in July 1833—until the paper could be moved back to Missouri. Members of the firm also planned to publish a weekly political paper later titled the Northern Times. Cowdery purchased a new press and type in New York, and the press began operation in December 1833. In a letter written two months later, JS recalled how he, Cowdery, and others had had to “lie every night for a long time upon our arms to keep off mobs, of forties, of eighties, & of hundreds to save our lives and the press.” (Minutes, 11 Sept. 1833; Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:47–53; JS, Journal, 4–6 and 18 Dec. 1833; Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 30 Mar. 1834, underlining in original.)  


wisdom  sufficient that the cause [p. 46]
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This prayer by JS and five of his close associates addressed several related concerns, including their personal safety and that of other church members, the protection of the church’s press, and the growing debt facing members of the United Firm

An organization that supervised the management of church enterprises and properties from 1832 to 1834. In March and April 1832, revelations directed that the church’s publishing and mercantile endeavors be organized. In accordance with this direction, the...

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. All of these issues were connected to the real and threatened violence church members had been subjected to for several months. Four of the prayer’s petitioners—JS, 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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, 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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, and John Johnson

14 Apr. 1779–30 July 1843. Farmer, innkeeper. Born at Chesterfield, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Johnson and Abigail Higgins. Married Alice (Elsa) Jacobs, 22 June 1800. Moved to Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont, ca. 1803. Settled at Hiram, Portage...

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—were members of the 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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, Ohio, branch of the United Firm, while another—Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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—was a member of the 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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branch of the firm. Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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, the final person mentioned in this prayer, was clerk to 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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and had recently returned from Missouri with a report of the violence that immediately preceded the expulsion of church members from 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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.1

JS, Journal, 25 Nov. 1833; “The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 118–120.  


Several months earlier, in July 1833, vigilantes in 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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had destroyed the church’s printing office

JS revelations, dated 20 July and 1 Aug. 1831, directed establishment of LDS church’s first printing office in Independence, Missouri. Dedicated by Bishop Edward Partridge, 29 May 1832. Located on Lot 76, on Liberty Street just south of courthouse square....

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, an important source of projected income for the United Firm. The destruction of the printing office exacerbated their financial problems, as several members of the firm were heavily in debt to the firm’s mercantile establishment and to other creditors from whom they had purchased land and goods necessary for fulfilling their stewardships

One who managed property and goods under the law of consecration; also someone given a specific ecclesiastical responsibility. According to the “Laws of the Church of Christ,” members of the church were to make donations to the bishop, who would record the...

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.2 The purchase of a new press in order to commence printing operations 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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created additional debt.3

Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 30 Mar. 1834. The new press, which began operating in Kirtland in December 1833, replaced the one damaged in Missouri.  


JS’s correspondence from this period indicates that he and others who were living 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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feared that events in 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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might repeat themselves 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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. As early as 18 August 1833, for example, JS wrote to those 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 he was “no safer here in Kirtland then you are in Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

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” because “the cloud is gethering arou[nd] us with great fury and all pharohs host or in other words all hell and the com[bined] pow[e]rs of Earth are Marsheling their forces to overthrow us.”4 Likewise, on 5 December 1833, JS stated that “the inhabitants of this county threaten our distruction and we know not how soon they may be permitted to follow the examples of the Missourians.”5 B. F. Norris, a resident of nearby Mentor

Located in northeastern Ohio, about three miles northeast of Kirtland. Area claimed by Connecticut (referred to as Western Reserve), 1786. Surveyed 1796. Settled by early 1798. Organized 1815. Population in 1830 about 700. Included village of Mentor. Sidney...

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, Ohio, who was not a member 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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, corroborated JS’s reports, writing on 6 January 1834 that a group had “threatend mob[b]ing” church members in Kirtland. Norris also observed that “Smith has four or five armed men to gard him every night.”6

B. F. Norris, Mentor, OH, to Mark Norris, Ypsilanti, Michigan Territory, 6 Jan. 1834, Mark Norris Papers, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, MI, as cited in David W. Grua, “Joseph Smith and the 1834 D. P. Hurlbut Case,” 38.  


Two days later, Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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reported that vigilantes had fired a cannon at midnight in an attempt to intimidate the members of the church. “No one was frightened,” Cowdery explained, “but all prepared to defend ourselves if they made a sally upon our houses.”7

Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to William W. Phelps and John Whitmer, Clay Co., MO, 21 Jan. 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 22.  


At least part of the persecution the Mormons faced 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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stemmed from the allegation of Doctor Philastus Hurlbut

3 Feb. 1809–16 June 1883. Clergyman, farmer. Born at Chittenden Co., Vermont. “Doctor” was his given name. Preacher for Methodist Episcopal Church in Jamestown, Chautauque Co., New York. Baptized into LDS church, 1832/1833, at Jamestown. Ordained an elder...

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, a former member of the church, that the Book of Mormon was based on an unpublished work of fiction written by Solomon Spalding.8

Winchester, Plain Facts, 8–10.  


Hurlbut was “lieing in a wonderful manner,” JS wrote on 18 August 1833, “and the peapl [people] are running after him and giveing him mony to b[r]ake down mormanism which much endangers our lives.”9

Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833. Hurlbut had delivered at least one advertised lecture in Kirtland about the alleged connection between Spalding’s work and the Book of Mormon; he also announced his intention to publish a book “which . . . would divulge the whole secret” of the supposedly fraudulent origins of the Book of Mormon. Some of those present at the lecture contributed funds to Hurlbut’s project, and an anti-Mormon committee in the area employed Hurlbut “to ascertain the real origin of the Book of Mormon, and to examine the validity of Joseph Smith’s claims to the character of a Prophet.” Hurlbut traveled through Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts in search for Spalding’s manuscript. He collected several affidavits from people in New York testifying against the character of JS and his family, and he claimed to have found Spalding’s manuscript, though he never published it. (Winchester, Plain Facts, 9–11; “To the Public,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 31 Jan. 1834, [3].)  


Hurlbut allegedly threatened to kill JS in mid-December, prompting JS to file a complaint against him on 21 December 1833 with Kirtland justice of the peace John C. Dowen. A hearing on the issue was set for 13 January 1834, two days after this prayer was offered.10

Winchester, Plain Facts, 11; Geauga Co., OH, Court of Common Pleas, Court Records, 1807–1904, Final Record Book P, pp. 431–432, microfilm 20,278, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.  


Facts