, Letter, , Philadelphia Co., PA, to JS and “council,” , Hancock Co., IL, 1 Sept. 1841; handwriting of ; eight pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes docket and notation.
Two bifolia—each measuring 12¾ × 7⅞ inches (32 × 20 cm)—fastened together with thread. The document is inscribed with both blue ink and black ink. The document was folded for filing. Several staple holes appear on each page of the letter in the upper left corner. The document shows discoloration from an unknown substance.
A docket in the upper left corner of the first page was inscribed by , who served as JS’s scribe from December 1841 until JS’s death in June 1844 and served as church historian from December 1842 until his own death in March 1854. A graphite notation in the same area was apparently added by a clerk or secretary for Andrew Jenson, who served as assistant church historian from 1897 to 1941. The letter is listed in a Church Historian’s Office inventory from circa 1904. By 1973 this letter had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The docket, notation, and inclusion in the JS Collection indicate this letter has remained in continuous institutional custody since its receipt in 1841.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 1 September 1841, , a member of the , wrote to JS and other leaders in , Illinois, to express his condolences for the death of JS’s brother and to provide them with an update of his travels and missionary efforts. At the April 1840 general , Page had been appointed to travel with fellow apostle to Europe and . Page and Hyde separated in sometime in late August 1840, with Hyde venturing on to before sailing to . Hyde had hoped to meet Page in in fall 1840, but these plans did not materialize, and Page did not accompany Hyde overseas.
Both and received a public rebuke for their inability to quickly reach the destination of their mission. In January 1841 the Times and Seasons printed a terse message to the men: “ Orson Hyde and John E. Page are informed, that the Lord is not well pleased with them in consequence of delaying their mission, (Elder John E. Page in particular,) and they are requested by the to hasten their journey towards their destination.” In addition, at the April 1841 general conference, attendees objected to Page’s membership in the Quorum of the Twelve; reasons for their objection are unknown, but after an investigation he was not removed from the by the conference.
After traveling and proselytizing through , , and other parts of the eastern , arrived in shortly before he penned this 1 September letter. It appears that Page wrote the following letter in part to justify his actions, explaining the missionary labors he undertook on his own and with others, including ; the difficulties he experienced with ; and the reasons he felt he was unable to travel to Europe and at the present. Page nevertheless expressed his hope and intent to go eventually to the Holy Land. He also reported on a variety of other matters, most notably his observations of the church in Philadelphia under the leadership of . Though extant evidence does not reveal any improprieties on Winchester’s part, Page recommended that the First Presidency remove Winchester as the of the Philadelphia .
The letter featured here is the original sent from and received by JS in , probably in mid-September 1841. Page requested that JS respond to his letter, though it is unclear if JS did so since no immediate reply has been located.
the of the most high God with a shineing retinue of the heavenly host attending down the skye Ranked with Micheal— Gabrel and the Prop[h]ets Joshua Gideon and the rest of those high Priests of God and Martialing charecters with Jesus the great head of of the first born made perfect as their great leader to take possession of the Earth chain the Devil and conquer Death and him that has the power thereof which is the Devil— with those bright and glorious prospects before you do not mourn as those that have no hope but regard that you[r] names are writen in heaven and that becaus we are blessed with the everlasting gospel and and the eternal of endless life whic[h] is the assureance and seal to life— glory— and imortality beyond the grave— hold on to the integrity of the Lord in that he has said Blessed is the dead that die in the Lord— from henceforth (I E henceforth from the time of the ministry of the everlasting gospel) for they rest from their labours and their works do follow them— To all the relitives of the decd. and the church as a body— May the God of peace speak peace to your mourning Spirits and make up the loss of with a more copeous effusion of the holy Spirit to your full and complete sanctifycation and ultimate salvation in the Kingdom of God even so in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ— Amen
A few words concerning my Mishion and then I close— It is now a few days over one year since left me in — the latest account I have had of him was a letter dated the 8 of June 1841 he was then in expecting to start in a day or two for of Germany his letter was addressed to of I was in some two or three weeks I returned to this on busyness I shall return to soon— left the city of on the 13 of Feby with upwards of $500 and clothed in first rate style sufficient for years besides a good suply of the best of provisions for his [p. 2]
Orson Hyde was still in London on 15 June when he wrote a letter to JS. In that letter he expressed regret that “Elder Page had been so tardy in his movements, that objections were made to him.” Hyde continued: “Most gladly would I have hailed him as a companion to the Oriental Continent; but my hopes of that are fled. I shall go alone, or find some other person in all probability to go with me.” (See Letter from Orson Hyde, 15 June 1841.)