Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, 2 July 1833
, JS, and , Letter, , Geauga Co., OH, to “Brethren,” [, Mo.], 2 July 1833. Retained copy, [ca. 2 July 1833], in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 51–54; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 1.
This letter was written in response to three letters, each dated 7 June 1833, that church leaders in , Ohio, received from , none of which have been located. The contents of this 2 July 1833 letter indicate that at least one of the letters from Missouri reported the safe arrival of and , who had been directed by a of in Kirtland to travel together to Missouri. The letter also suggests that at least one of the 7 June letters had inquired about the gift of tongues. In addition to addressing these topics, the letter from JS featured here included instructions for sending copies of the Book of Commandments—then being printed on the church’s in , Missouri—to Kirtland and updated the Missouri church members on various developments in , including the health of Kirtland church members, Kirtland leaders’ impending missionary journeys, and the news that JS had completed his translation of the Bible on the same day this 2 July 1833 letter was written. At one point in the letter, makes a first-person reference to himself, and he was also the first signer of the letter, indicating that he likely served as the principal author. Nevertheless, most of the letter is written in the first-person plural.
It is unclear whether church members in ever received this letter. Depending on a variety of factors, letters sent between and could take anywhere from ten days to a month to deliver. If the letter was mailed as intended on 3 July, it could have arrived in Independence as early as 13 July. If it traveled more slowly, however, it may have been lost in the confusion attending the mob violence that took place on 20 and 23 July in Independence.
in these last days as we are not willing to Idle any time which can be spent to useful purpose doors are opening continually for proclaiming the spirit of bitterness among the people is fast subsiding and a spirit of enquiry is taking its place I proclaimed last Sunday at our county seat [I] had the court house, there was a general turn out, good attention and a pressing invitation for more meetings which will be granted if the Lord will when we return from this tower [tour], Bro Joseph is going to take a tower [tour] with Bro of Brownhelm as soon as he () comes to this place, we hope our brethren that the greatest freedom and frankness will exist between you and the not withholding from each other any information from us but communicate with the greatest freedom lest you should produce evils of a serious nature character and the Lord becomes offended for know assuredly if we by our wickedness bring evil on our own heads the Lord will let us bear it till we get weary and hate eniquity wants you to say to that the man from whom he expected to get the mill stones has run off so he will not be able to get them but can get them at of the same mans make
We conclude by giving our heartiest approbation to evry measure calculated for the spread of <the> truth in these last days and our strongest desires and sincerest prayers for the prosperity [p. 53]
Brownhelm Township is approximately fifty miles southwest of Kirtland in Lorain County, Ohio, near the shore of Lake Erie. A 7 May 1833 letter was addressed to James specifically, though it was intended for “all the Brothers & sisters” of Brownhelm generally, suggesting that James held a leadership position in the church there. James apparently did not serve his planned mission with JS. He explained to a council of high priests on 4 April 1834 that he failed to “magnify his calling” and that he should have told JS earlier “that his pecuniary affairs called his attention at home which prevented his fulfilling the promise he made to Bro. Joseph in going out to proclaim the Gospel.” (Emer Harris, Springville, PA, to “Dearly Beloved Brethern,” Brownhelm, OH, 7 May 1833, Harris Family Papers, BYU; Minute Book 1, 4 Apr. 1834.)