Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, 6 August 1833
, , and JS, Letter, , Geauga Co., OH, to and others, , Jackson Co., MO, 6 Aug. 1833; sent copy; handwriting of ; signatures of , , and JS; four pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal markings, and docket.Bifolium measuring 11⅛ × 9 inches (28 × 23 cm). The document was trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, and sealed with a red adhesive wafer. The letter was later refolded for filing. A docket in the handwriting of reads: “Letter from S. R. | F. G. W. & J. S— | Aug. 1833”. At some point, probably in the twentieth century, “sec 97”, “sec 94”, and “sec 98” were written with a felt-tip pen in purple ink; the first number precedes the first revelation in the letter, the second precedes the second revelation, and the third precedes the third revelation. The numbers correspond to the section numbers of these revelations in Latter-day Saint editions of the Doctrine and Covenants published in 1876 and thereafter. The document has mold staining and has undergone conservation.This letter, along with other papers belonging to , was in the Partridge family’s possession until at least the mid-1880s, sometime after which it came into the possession of the Church Historian’s Office.
Whitney, Orson F. “The Aaronic Priesthood.” Contributor, Apr. 1885, 241–250.
Partridge, Edward, Jr. Genealogical Record. 1878. CHL. MS 1271.
Just before the outbreak of violent confrontations between members of the and other residents in late July 1833, church leaders sent two letters to , Ohio—one from the in Jackson County and one from . The content of those letters, including what they asked of JS and Kirtland leaders, is largely unknown, but they prompted the to write this lengthy epistle, which contains the texts of three revelations along with other brief comments and instructions. JS dictated two of the revelations on 2 August and the third on 6 August 1833. The three revelations were copied into and constitute most of this original letter. Because other contemporaneous versions of each of these three revelations are transcribed earlier in this volume as individual documents with accompanying historical annotation, only the lines in this letter that are not part of a revelation are annotated.In their letter, members of the school of the prophets in apparently requested that the presidency seek divine revelation regarding their school. The presidency complied and then included in this letter a copy of the resulting revelation, which states, “I the Lord am well pleased that there should be a school in .” Likely one or both of the other two revelations inscribed herein responded to issues raised in ’s letter. Cowdery was involved with the church’s printing operation in Missouri as an assistant to editor at this time, and in his letter he may have asked the presidency about their plans for the . One of the revelations copied in this letter called for the construction of two additional church buildings in : an administrative “house” for the presidency and a “house” for printing. Cowdery may also have reported on the growing opposition that church members in faced and asked for advice on how to respond to the conflict. The final revelation copied herein provided guidance on how to respond to aggression from enemies and reminded church members to “proclaim peace” and obey the “law of the Land,” though it also described conditions in which violence was justifiable.The presidency of the high priesthood offered little commentary on these revelations. They did, however, emphasize the obligation of church members in to carry out the same construction program in that the members were required to undertake, including erecting an administrative building for church leadership and a print shop. The presidency also announced their intention to simultaneously issue an edition of the , which would have included JS’s recently completed revision of the Bible, in both Ohio and Missouri. The presidency of the high priesthood sent this letter to on 7 August. At this time, the presidency was not aware that violence had already broken out in Jackson County or that church leaders in Missouri, including , had already acceded to demands to vacate the county by the beginning of 1834. The implementation of construction and printing plans was postponed indefinitely because of the difficulties leaders and members of the Church of Christ encountered in summer 1833. By the time Partridge received this letter, around the beginning of September, only the third revelation therein was immediately applicable to the Saints in Missouri.