Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, 25 June 1833
JS, , , and , Letter, , Geauga Co., OH, to and Others, , Jackson Co., MO, 25 June 1833; sent copy; handwriting of and ; signatures of JS, , , , and ; three pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal markings, and docket.Bifolium measuring 11 × 9 inches (28 × 22 cm) when folded. The letter was trifolded in letter style, addressed, and sealed with a red adhesive wafer. The letter included two enclosures: a “draft of the City of Zion with explanations” and a “draft of the house to be built immediately in for the .” After being delivered, the letter was refolded for filing, and added a filing notation: “Letter from J. S. S. R. F. G. | W. & M. H | June 1833”. The letter has undergone conservation.This letter, along with other papers belonging to , was in possession of the Partridge family until at least the mid-1880s, sometime after which it came into the possession of the Church Historian’s Office.
In the first six months of 1833, communication characterized by accusations and chastisement between church leaders in and those in transitioned to messages, such as the letter featured here, that aimed at conciliation and developing a spirit of “perfect harmony.” Correspondence from Missouri, including responses to JS’s letters of 21 April 1833 and 2 May 1833, in part prompted this letter, which addressed inquiries on diverse topics, including , the Book of Commandments, new in , Missouri, and the ’s operations and membership. This letter also included warnings against teaching false doctrine and responded to a question as to whether JS had yet obtained any of the lost books of the Bible.The letter was part of a package, with two other documents enclosed with it: “a draft of the City of Zion with explanations, and a draft of the house to be built immediately in for the as well as all purposes of Religion and instruction.” This letter gave directions concerning these two other documents. The “house to be built immediately in Zion,” for instance, was to be similar to the that church leaders had begun constructing in , Ohio. It was one of the twenty-four houses of the Lord, or temples, planned to be built in , according to the explanations given in the two documents that accompanied this letter. This letter also advised church leaders that should they “not understand the explanations,” they should send any questions or concerns to leaders in Kirtland so that they “may have a propper understanding” of the city plat and the architectural plan of the House of the Lord. The drafting and sending of the documents in this package represent a significant moment in the articulation of the church presidency’s vision for the growing church in .This letter and the two enclosed documents were postmarked in on 26 June 1833. By the time church leaders in received the package on 29 July 1833, violent confrontations with antagonistic county residents had already occurred. and immediately replied to this letter to inform the Kirtland leaders of the growing unrest. Such events prevented church leaders from following many of the directions given in this letter.Though in the handwriting of and , the letter is written primarily in the first-person voice of , who was writing on behalf of the . The letter also contains a postscript from JS.