, 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.
I send this communication by our verry worthy bro— — I must say in justice <to> Bro. that <I> have been very much pleased with the Spirituality of and also his zeal with which he has laboured in the vineyard of the Lord since I fell into his society in and about he has been blessed of the Lord to add many souls to the Kingdom in this region of country— he is truly a destroying storm to sectarianism— I believe is a little apt like myself to labour to[o] hard for our own personal good health— I think I have reformed a little for my own good and I think if would try to do so to[o] it would militate for his good in the better engoyment of good health at least <his> lungs would hold out better— is humble spiritual and industerous in the cause and is worthy of the highest confidence of the —— I must say that if there is any Elder in the church that <has> reason to be thankful for the joys of the last day work of the Lord It is my humble self that in the midst of many infirmities for the want of more literary advantage than what I have enjoyed I feel quite humble in the presance of the refinement of the cities of & ; but the truth is mighty; and bears me conqueror through— so much so that is it seems my that the name of <truth> for singularity sake or truth sake or some sake or other the people will runn <earnestly> to here that great mormon say something peculiar to that kind of faith called Mormonism— I have had to contend much with the ministers of men who preach for hire and divine for money by the way of debate but from the first till the last It has been the means of opening the eyes of the people and waken up the enquiry after truth and the honest who will investigate do see the folly of our percicuters and the ignrance of the age relitive to the matters of religion— [p. 5]