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.”
and I the Lord will fight their battles and their childrens battles and their childrens children untill they have avenged themselves on all their enemies to the third and fourth generation, behold this is an ensample unto all people saith the Lord your God for justifycation before me. And again I say unto you verily I say unto you if after thine enemy has come upon you the first time he repents and come unto thee praying thy forgiveness thou shalt forgive him and shall hold it no more as a testimony against thine enemy and so on unto the second, and the third time and as oft as thine enemy repent of the trespass wh[e]rewith he has trespassed against thee thou shalt forgive him unto seventy times seven and if he trespass against thee and repent not the first time nevertheless thou shalt forgive him and if he trespass against thee the second time and repent not nevertheless thou shalt forgive him and if he trespass against thee the third time and repent not thou shalt also forgive him, but if he trespass against him the fourth time thou shalt not forgive him but shall bring these testimonies before the Lord and they shall not be blotted out till he repent and reward thee four fould in all things wherewith he has trespassed against you and if he do this thou shalt forgive him with all thine heart and if he do not this I the Lord will avenge thee of thine enemy an hundred fold and upon his children and upon his childrens children of all them that hate me unto the third and fourth generation but if the children shall repent or the childrens children and turn unto the Lord their God with all their heart and with all their might mind and strength and restore four fold fer all their trespasses wherewith they have t[r]espassed or wherewith their fathers have trespassed or their fathers fathers then thine indignation shall be turned away and vengence shall no more come upon them saith the Lord your God and their trespasses shall never be brought any more as a testimony before the Lord against them Amen.
Having here given you two revelations we accompany them with the following explanations 1) the revelation respecting the two houses to be built in in addition to the one for the and the other for the printing are <is> also binding on you that is you at have to build three <two> houses as well as the one of which we have sent the pattern and mentioned in the first revelation above written you an[d] also in addition to this one <to> build two others one for the presidency and one for the printing they are to be of the same size in the inner court of the one of which you have received the pattern they will therefore be larger than the ones we are to build in 2 you are to print an Edition of the schriptures there at the same time we do here so that two additions [editions] will be struck at the same time the one here and the other there, the two last mentioned houses are to be built as soon after the other as means can be obtaind so to do
The pattern of the last mentioned houses is yet to be given see revelation from above and wishes you to forward the rest of their papers to as they are going to move here immediately both at present of N.Y.
Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York, is about 185 miles northeast of Kirtland and about fifty miles southwest of Palmyra, New York. According to Joseph Holbrook’s history, Aaron Lyon and Leonard Rich were in Warsaw in winter 1832–1833. Rich was in Kirtland by mid-February 1834, when he was brought before a council of high priests and elders in Kirtland on charges of “transgressing the word of wisdom” and for “selling the revelations at an extortionary price while he was gone East.” It is unclear when Lyon arrived in Kirtland. (Holbrook, Reminiscences, 27; Minutes, 12 Feb. 1834.)
Holbrook, Joseph. Autobiography and Journal, not before 1871. Photocopy. CHL. MS 5004. Original in private possession.