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.
that it is as well with us as it is, and we are yet alive that peradvent[u]re, God hath Laid up in store great good for us in this generation, and grant that we may yet glorify his name, I feel thankful that there have no more denied the faith; I pray God, in the name of Jesus that you all may be kept in the faith, unto the end, let your sufferings be what they may, it is better that you should die in the ey[e]s of God, then that you should give up the Land of , the inhabitant which you have purchased with your monies; for evry man that giveth not up his inheritances, though he should die yet when the Lord shall come, he shall stand upon it, and with Job in his flesh he shall see God. Therefore this is my council that you retain your lands even unto the uttermost, and seeking <evry> lawful means to obtain redress of your enemies &c &c and pray to God day and night to return you in peace and in safety to the Lands of your and, and when the Judge fails you, appeal unto the , and when the fails you, appeal unto the President, and when the President fails you, and all Laws fail you and the humanity of the people fails you, and all things else fails you but God alone, and you continue to weary him with your importunings, as the poor woman the unjust Judge, he will not fail to exicute Judgment upon your enemies and to avenge his own elect that cry unto him day and night— Behold he will not fail you! he will come with ten thousand of his saints and all his advisaries shall be distroyed by the breath of his lips! all those that keep their inheritances notwithstanding they should be pealed and driven [p. 73]
Immediately following the initial violence in Jackson County in July 1833, John Whitmer wrote to JS stating, “There are but very few that have denied the faith in consequence of this transaction.” Edward Partridge wrote in 1840 that while threatening to expel the Mormons from Jackson County, their opponents “made the offer themselves, that if any would deny the faith and leave the church, they might stay and be protected there; and a number tried the experiment with success; and it is believed that some few of them are living there in peace, to this day.” (Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833; [Edward Partridge], “History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Jan. 1840, 1:34–35.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
On 5 December 1833, JS instructed church leaders in Missouri that “it is not the will of the Lord for you to sell your Lands in Zion. . . . the land should not be sold but held by the brethren until the Lord in his wisdom opens a way for your return.” On 16 and 17 December, JS dictated a revelation that again directed church members in Missouri to retain ownership of lands “appointed unto them” in Jackson County. (Letter to Edward Partridge, 5 Dec. 1833; Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:99].)
See Luke 18:1–8. This counsel was reiterated in a revelation six days later. Despite earlier efforts to obtain protection and redress through the Missouri courts, William W. Phelpswrote to JS on 27 February 1834 informing him that he and other church leaders in Missouri had “learned that all hopes of criminal prosecution, was at an end.” On 10 April 1834, church leaders sent a petition to United States president Andrew Jackson requesting military protection to help church members resettle on their lands in Jackson County. (Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:81–89]; Letter from William W. Phelps, 27 Feb. 1834, italics in original; Edward Partridge et al., Petition to Andrew Jackson, 10 Apr. 1834, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL.)
Phelps, William W. Collection of Missouri Documents, 1833–1837. CHL. MS 657.
“To strip; to plunder; to pillage.” (“Peel,” in American Dictionary.)
An American Dictionary of the English Language: Intended to Exhibit, I. the Origin, Affinities and Primary Signification of English Words, as far as They Have Been Ascertained. . . . Edited by Noah Webster. New York: S. Converse, 1828.