Letter from Lorenzo D. Wasson, 30 July 1842
, Letter, , Philadelphia Co., PA, to JS and , [, Hancock Co., IL], 30 July 1842. Featured version published in Times and Seasons, 15 Aug. 1842, vol. 3, no. 20, 891–892; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
On 30 July 1842, wrote a letter from to JS and in , Illinois, reporting on a mission he had undertaken to that area and expressing concern for the effects ’s “disclosures” were having on members in Philadelphia. Wasson was JS’s nephew, the son of Emma Smith’s sister Elizabeth Hale Wasson. He had been into the church in March 1842 in Nauvoo and had then departed on a mission to the eastern , during which he preached in Philadelphia and the southern part of . Although much proselytizing had been done in other parts of New Jersey, including , , and Ocean counties, Wasson declared that he and his mission companion were the first to preach in southern New Jersey. Wasson’s letter also referred to the opposition he faced, along with others who were preaching in the area, and he pointed specifically to debates between church member and George Montgomery West, an avowed critic of the Latter-day Saints.In addition, mentioned difficulties the Saints were experiencing because of ’s accusations, which were getting a great deal of exposure in newspapers at that time. Wasson offered to help in any way he could to diminish Bennett’s influence.’s original letter, which likely took a couple of weeks to reach , is apparently not extant. The text featured here was published in the 15 August 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons, which was evidently printed several days after 15 August.
For more information on Bennett’s “disclosures,” see “Joseph Smith Documents from May through August 1842.”.
Recollections of the Pioneers of Lee County, 57; Wilford Woodruff, “Sabbath Scene in Nauvoo,” Times and Seasons, 15 Apr. 1842, 3:752. When Wasson departed from Nauvoo is not clear, but it was sometime after his baptism and before mid-June, since this letter states he spent four weeks in New Jersey.
Recollections of the Pioneers of Lee County. Dixon, IL: Inez A. Kennedy, 1893.
Benjamin Winchester began preaching in New Jersey in 1838, proselytizing in towns such as Hornerstown, New Egypt, and Toms River in Monmouth County. Erastus Snow also preached extensively in New Jersey in 1841, and William Appleby labored there as well. (Benjamin Winchester, Payson, IL, 18 June 1839, Letter to the Editors, Times and Seasons, Nov. 1839, 1:9–11; Snow, Journal, 1838–1841, 102–113; Letter from William Appleby, ca. Mar. 1842; see also Fleming, “Early Mormonism in the Pine Barrens,” 73–88.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Snow, Erastus. Journals, 1835–1851; 1856–1857. CHL. MS 1329, box 1, fds. 1–3.
Fleming, Stephen J. “‘Sweeping Everything Before It’: Early Mormonism in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.” BYU Studies 40 (2001): 72–104.
One newspaper reported that in June 1842, West preached “that Infidelity is identical with Mormonism.” (Tyler Parsons, Boston, MA, 14 June 1842, Letter to the Editor, Boston Investigator, 15 June 1842, .)
Boston Investigator. Boston. 1831–1904.
By the end of July 1842, the Sangamo Journal in Springfield, Illinois, had published four of Bennett’s letters.a The New York Herald reprinted some of the letters in July, and other eastern newspapers, including Philadelphia’s North American and Daily Advertiser, referenced the letters and the falling-out between Bennett and JS.b(aJohn C. Bennett, Nauvoo, IL, 27 June 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal [Springfield, IL], 8 July 1842, ; John C. Bennett, Carthage, IL, 2 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal, 15 July 1842, ; John C. Bennett, Carthage, IL, 4 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal, 15 July 1842, ; John C. Bennett, St. Louis, MO, 15 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal, 22 July 1842, . bSee, for example, “Important from the Far West,” New York Herald, 21 July 1842, ; “Excommunication Extraordinary,” North American and Daily Advertiser [Philadelphia], 8 July 1842, ; and “A Row among the Mormons,” Sun [Baltimore], 22 July 1842, .)
Sangamo Journal. Springfield, IL. 1831–1847.
New York Herald. New York City. 1835–1924.
North American and Daily Advertiser. Philadelphia. 1839–1845.
Sun. Baltimore. 1837–2008.
The issue contains a notice dated 20 August 1842. (“Books of Mormon,” Times and Seasons, 15 Aug. 1842, 3:894.)