Part 5: 7 July–30 September 1840

In summer 1840, the continued their efforts to develop the area around , Illinois—the gathering place of the church. By July 1840, approximately three thousand Saints lived in Nauvoo, and an additional two thousand lived across the in , Iowa Territory; many more Saints resided in surrounding areas in , Illinois, and in . As more people moved to the region, land sales continued. Because so many Mormons purchased land on credit, church leaders had ongoing concerns about paying off the debts they had accrued obtaining the land. In July JS wrote to , one of the church’s creditors, to inform him of a new arrangement JS made in April for approximately ninety acres previously purchased from Hotchkiss and to affirm that church leaders were committed “to meet all our engagements.”
Even as continued to develop, the ague—later identified as malaria—still plagued the area. JS delivered a discourse on 30 July 1840 attributing the Saints’ illness partly to disunity and backbiting. He called on church to fast and pray for power and then administer to the sick for their healing. Despite having to cope with disease, the church continued to progress. In July 1840, JS announced that the church intended to build a in Nauvoo and declared that he foresaw Nauvoo becoming a place where “the curious” would “come from all parts of the world.” The authorized the creation of a at , Illinois, thirty miles east of Nauvoo, and welcomed back into the fold , a once prominent member who had been excommunicated in 1839.
During these months, oversaw the printing and stereotyping of a new edition of the Book of Mormon in , a task for which members and were appointed to raise money. Such endeavors reflected church leaders’ optimism during this period. In a letter to “the Saints Scattered Abroad,” the First Presidency declared that, having “secured a location upon which we have again commenced opperations for the good of” God’s people, they felt “disposed to go forward and unite our energies for the upbuilding of the kingdom.”
Even individuals who were not members of the church expressed interest in ’s development. For example, , the quartermaster general of the state militia, wrote a series of letters to JS in July and August 1840, declaring his desire to relocate to Nauvoo and join the church. JS encouraged Bennett to come to Nauvoo, “the best & most beautiful site for a city on the ,” which Bennett did in early September.
During summer 1840, JS also received letters from some of the who were serving missions. In September wrote to JS from and informed him of the progress of his mission and of ’s work producing the new edition of the Book of Mormon. Page’s missionary companion, , left Page in August and traveled east to . There he wrote to church leaders to update them on his proselytizing efforts as well as those of and in New Jersey and . Seven of the apostles were proselytizing in , where there were over 3,600 church members by October 1840. Some converts were already migrating to the , hoping to gather with the Saints at . In July, , one of the apostles in England, sent a lengthy letter to JS that provided an update on the church’s progress in England as well as a detailed account of Kimball’s journey there and his struggles with poor health along the way. In September and sent another report on the social conditions, including the great poverty, in England. Such communications highlighted the success of the apostles’ efforts as well as the challenges the missionaries—and new British members—were facing.
JS received letters that were less positive from church leaders in , Ohio. , the presiding authority there, informed JS that , a member of the , had been disparaging JS, , and some of the Kirtland Saints. Together with other communications, Granger’s letter resulted in Babbitt appearing before the high council in September. also wrote from Kirtland to inform JS that missionary had, while passing through the city, preached unusual doctrines and caused consternation among non-Mormons by declaring his intention to preach to the (American Indians). Some of Dunham’s teachings reflected statements from a discourse JS delivered in July 1840 that had not yet reached Kirtland.
Part 5 comprises twenty-four documents, most of which are correspondence either to or from JS. This part also contains minutes of meetings, reports of discourses, and a recommendation. Many of these documents were produced in , but letters came from other locations, including , , , and , Illinois.
  1. 1

    Letter to John C. Bennett, 8 Aug. 1840; “The Mormons,” Daily Chronicle (Cincinnati), 26 Aug. 1840, [2].  

    Daily Chronicle. Cincinnati. 1839–1850.

  2. 2

    Letter to Horace Hotchkiss, 28 July 1840.  

  3. 3

    Discourse, 30 July 1840.  

  4. 4

    Discourse, ca. 19 July 1840.  

  5. 5

    Letter to Crooked Creek, IL, Branch, ca. 7 or 8 July 1840; Letter to William W. Phelps, 22 July 1840; “Extracts of the Minutes of Conferences,” Times and Seasons, Nov. 1839, 1:15.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  6. 6

    “Books!!!,” Times and Seasons, July 1840, 1:139–140; Minutes, 17 July 1840; Recommendation for Samuel Bent and George W. Harris, between ca. 17 and ca. 28 July 1840.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  7. 7

    Letter to Saints Scattered Abroad, Sept. 1840.  

  8. 8

    Letters from John C. Bennett, 25, 27, and 30 July 1840; 15 Aug. 1840.  

  9. 9

    Letter to John C. Bennett, 8 Aug. 1840; Letter from John C. Bennett, 15 Aug. 1840; Bennett, History of the Saints, 18.  

    Bennett, John C. The History of the Saints; or, an Exposé of Joe Smith and Mormonism. Boston: Leland and Whiting, 1842.

  10. 10

    Letter from John E. Page, 23 Sept. 1840.  

  11. 11

    Letter from Orson Hyde, 28 Sept. 1840.  

  12. 12

    “Minutes of the General Conference,” LDS Millennial Star, Oct. 1840, 1:165–166. At the time, there were only eleven apostles. Page, Hyde, and William Smith were still in the United States, and Parley P. Pratt departed England in July to travel back to New York, where members of his family were “dangerously ill of scarlet fever.” (Pratt, Autobiography, 341–342, 344; Woodruff, Journal, 7 July 1840.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

    Pratt, Parley P. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Embracing His Life, Ministry and Travels, with Extracts, in Prose and Verse, from His Miscellaneous Writings. Edited by Parley P. Pratt Jr. New York: Russell Brothers, 1874.

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  13. 13

    William Clayton, Penwortham, England, to Brigham Young and Willard Richards, Manchester, England, 19 Aug. 1840, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.  

    Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.

  14. 14

    Letter from Heber C. Kimball, 9 July 1840.  

  15. 15

    Letter from Brigham Young and Willard Richards, 5 Sept. 1840.  

  16. 16

    Letter to Oliver Granger, between ca. 22 and ca. 28 July 1840.  

  17. 17

    Minutes, 5–6 Sept. 1840.  

  18. 18

    Letter from Thomas Burdick, 28 Aug. 1840; Discourse, ca. 19 July 1840.