Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 10 December 1833
JS, Letter, , Kirtland Township, Geauga Co., OH, to , , , , , , and others, , Clay Co., MO, 10 Dec. 1833. Retained copy, [ca. 10 Dec. 1833], in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 70–75; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 1.
On 5 December 1833, JS responded to two letters: one written by on 6–7 November and one penned by to the editors of the Missouri Republican on 9 November. In his 5 December letter, JS sought clarification on the conflicting reports written by the two men concerning events in and requested more information. In mid-November, just after being expelled from , , Phelps, and wrote letters to JS that provided more details about the violence against church members in Missouri. JS received these letters on 10 December 1833 and on the same day wrote a letter, featured here, that responded to the more in-depth information his colleagues had sent him.
In this response, JS extensively referred the church leaders to the and to his revelations. He agonized over the catastrophe in , the reasons for which, he noted in this letter, “I am ignorant and the Lord will not show me.” Though “ would suffer sore affliction,” JS reminded church members that “after much tribulation cometh the blessing.” He invoked both the Old Testament and the New Testament to provide support and spiritual guidance to church members in Missouri as they began to settle new lands with few provisions. Regarding their property in Jackson County, JS also urged them to “retain [their] lands even unto the uttermost.” In addition, JS encouraged the Missouri church members to vigorously pursue protection and seek redress of grievances through appeals to the local courts, the governor of Missouri, the president of the , and, as always, the Lord. A revelation dictated six days after JS wrote this letter reaffirmed this guidance. This instruction to seek redress and protection through legal and political means reflected the approach that JS and the church would take regarding their losses in Missouri through the end of JS’s life. JS ended his letter with a long prayer in behalf of the careworn Saints in Missouri.
It is unknown how, or if, church members in received JS’s 10 December 1833 letter. copied the letter into JS’s letterbook, which is the only known extant version.
with their blood. I cannot learn from any communication by the spirit to me that has forfeited her claim to a celestial crown notwithstanding the Lord has caused her to be thus afflicted; except it may it may be some individuals who have walked in disobedience and forsaken the ; all such will be made manifest by their works in due time. I have always expected that Zion would suffer sore affliction from what I could learn from the commandments which have been given. but I would remind you of a certain clause in one which says that after much tribulation cometh the blessing. by this and also others, and also one received of late, I know that Zion, in the own due time of the Lord will be redeemed, but how many will be the days of her purification, tribulation and affliction, the Lord has kept hid from my eyes; and when I enquire concerning this subject the voice of the Lord is, Be still, and know that I am God! all those who suffer for my name shall reign with me, and he that layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again. Now there are two things of which I am ignorant and the Lord will not show me— perhaps for a wise purpose in himself. I mean in some respects, and they are these, Why God hath suffered so great calamity to come upon Zion; or what the great moving cause of this great affliction is. These two things and again by what means he will return her back to her with songs of everlasting Joy upon her head. These two things brethren, are in part kept back that they are not plainly <shewn unto me. but there are some things that are plainly> manifest, that has incured <th[e]> displeasure of displeasure the Almighty. when I contemplate upon all things that have been [p. 71]
Four months earlier, on 2 August 1833, JS dictated a revelation that warned if Zion “observe not to do whatsoeve[r] I have commanded her I will visit her according to all her works with sore afflictions.” (Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–A [D&C 97:26].)
JS dictated a revelation about a week later that read, “There were jar[r]ings and contentions envyings and strifes and lustful and covetous desires among them . . . they were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God Therefore the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers to answer them in the day of their trouble In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my council.” (Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:6–8].)