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.
See Whitney, “Aaronic Priesthood,” 5–6; Partridge, Genealogical Record, 1; and the full bibliographic entry for the Edward Partridge Papers in the CHL catalog.
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.
See also Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–A [D&C 97:3]. The revelation also indicated that Parley P. Pratt should continue to preside over the school and that the Missouri congregation should construct an edifice for ministerial instruction and “for the salvation of Zion.”
pattern in all things as it shall be given unto you, and on the third lot shall my servent receive his and on the first and second lots on the north shall my servents and receive their inheritance that they may do the work which I have appointed unto them to be a committee to build my according to the which I the Lord God have given unto you and now I give unto you no more at this time.
You will see by these revelations that we have to print the new translation of here at for which we will prepare as soon as possible here follows another revelation received to day
August 6th 1833
Verily verily I say unto you my friends fear not let your heart be comforted yea rejoice ever more &c in every thing give thanks waiting patiently on the Lord for your prayer have entered into the ears of the Lord of sabbath and are recorded with this and testament the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted therefor he giveth this promise unto you with an immutable that they shall be fulfilled and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work togethe[r] for your good and to my names glory saith the Lord God.
And now verily I say unto you concerning the Laws of the Land it is my will that my peopl should observe to do all things whatsoeve[r] I them and that law of the Land which is consti[tu]tional supporting the principles of freedom in maintaning rights and privileges belongs to all mankind and is justifyeble before me therefor I the Lord justifieth your and your brethren of my church in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the Land and as pertaining to the law of the land men whatsoev[er] is more or less then this cometh of evil. I the Lord your God maketh you free therefor you are free indeed and the law also maketh you free nevertheless when the wicked rule the people mourn wherefor honest men and wise men should be saught for dilligently and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold otherwise whatsoever is less then these cometh of evil and I give unto you a commandment that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good that ye shall live by evry word that procede<th> out of the forth out of the mouth of God for he will give unto the faithful line upon lin[e] precept upon precept and I will try you and prove you herewith and whoso layeth down his life in my cause for my names sake shall find it again even life eternal therefore be not affraid of you[r] enemies for I have decreed in my heart saith the Lord that I will prove you in all things whether you will abide in my covenant even unto death that you may be found worthy for if you will not abide in my covena[n]t ye are not worthy of me therefor renounce war and proclaim peace and seek dilligently to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers to the children and again the hearts of Jews to the prophets and the prophets unto the Jews lest I come and smite the whole earth with a curse and all flesh be consumed before me let not your hearts be troubled for in my fathers house are many mansions and I have prepared a place for you and where my father and I am there you shall be also.
Behold I the Lord am not well pleased with many who are in the at for they do not forsake their sins and their wicked ways the pride of their hearts and their coveteousness and all their detestable things and observe the words of wisdom and eternal life which I have given unto them verily I say unto you <that> I the Lord will chasten them and will do whatsoev[er] I list if they do not repent and observe all thing whatsoev[er] I have said unto them.
And again I say unto you if ye observe to do whatsoev[er] I command you I the lord will turn away all wrath and indignation from you and the gates of hell shall not prevail against you
Now I speak unto you concerning your families if men will smite you or your families once and ye bear it patiently and revile not against them ye neithe[r] seek revenge ye shall be rewarded but if ye bear it not patiently it shall be accounted unto you as being meeted out a just measur unto you. and again if your enemies shall smite you [a] seccond time and you revile not against your enemies and bear it patiently your reward shall be an hundred fold and again if he shall smite you a third time and ye bear it patiently your reward shall be doubled unto you four fold and these three testamonies shall stand against your enemies enemy if he repent not and shall not be blotted out and now verily I say unto you if that enemy shall escape my vengence that he be not brougt into Judgment before me then you shall see to it that ye warn him in my name that he come no more upon you neither u either upon your families family eithe[r] your children or yo[u]r children[’s] children unto the third and fourth generation <and then if he shall come upon you or your children or your childrens children unto the third and forth generation.> I have delivered thine enemy into thine hands and then if thou wilt spare him thou shalt be rewarded for thy righteousness and thy children and thy childrens children unto the third and fourth generation nevertheless thine enemy is in thine hands and if thou reward him according to his works thou art Justified if he hath has saught thy life and thy life is endangered by him thin[e] enemy is in thine hands and thou art Justified. Behold this is the Law I gave unto my servant Le Nephi and thy fath[er] Joseph and Jacob and Isaac and Abram and all mine anciett [ancient] prophets and and again this is the law of my prophets <that I gave unto mine ancients> that they should not go out <un>to battle against any nation kindred tongue or people save I the Lord Commanded them and if any Nation tongue or people should proclaim war against them they should first lift a standard <of peace> unto that people Nation or tongue and if that people did not ecept [accept] the offering of peace neithe[r] the seccond nor the third time they should bring thei[r] testamo[ni]es before the Lord then I the Lord would [giv]e unto them a commandment and Justify them in going out to battle [ag]ainst that nation tongue or people [p. ]