Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 14 January 1833
and , on behalf of “a of 12 ” (including JS), Letter, , Kirtland Township, OH, to “the his councel and the inhabitents of ,” [, MO], 14 Jan. 1833. Retained copy, [ca. 14 Jan. 1833] in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 20–25; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 1.
A “ of ,” including JS, met in , Ohio, on 13 January 1833, in part to assign and to write a letter to the leaders of the church in . Hyde and Smith composed the letter on 14 January, after which the conference reconvened so that participants could review and approve what they had written. The letter described Kirtland leaders’ objections to the tone and content of several letters from Missouri leaders. It also reaffirmed the conference’s desire to see church members living in repent, thereby forestalling calamities that awaited the disobedient.
This was the latest letter in a series of correspondence between and church leaders. JS and others had been attempting for some time to curb what they perceived as a spirit of rebellion in Missouri. Such perceptions arose from JS’s interactions with Missouri leaders during a trip to , Missouri, in the spring of 1832, as well as from several letters, none of which are extant, sent to JS between June 1832 and January 1833 from Missouri leaders such as , , and . In answer to these communications, JS sent letters to Phelps on 31 July 1832, 27 November 1832, and 11 January 1833, calling the Missouri leaders to repentance. Because and ’s letter addressing the discord came at the behest of this conference of twelve high priests, it may have served as an even stronger chastisement than JS’s letters. According to a later JS history, the transmission of Hyde and Smith’s letter, JS’s 11 January 1833 letter to Phelps, and a revelation of 27–28 December 1832, which JS described as “the Lords message of peace to us,” caused the Missouri leaders to evince a spirit of repentance. On 26 February 1833, a special council of high priests convened in Missouri and resolved that a committee “write an epistle to our brethren in Kirtland,” apparently in response to the letters from Hyde and Smith and JS. At that February conference, the high priests in attendance “all kneeled before the Lord & asked him to effect a perfect harmony between us & our brethren in Kirtland which was the desire of our hearts.” Such actions, according to the later JS history, were “satisfactory to the presidency and church at Kirtland.”
The original letter is no longer extant. copied the letter into JS’s letterbook, probably soon after its creation.
From a of 12 to the his and the inhabitants of , and being appointed by the said conference to write this Epistle in obedience to the given the 22 & 23 of Sept last which says “But verily I say unto you all those to whom the kingdom has been given from you it must be preached unto all them that they shall repent of their former evil works for they are to be upbraided for their evil hearts of unbelief and your brethren in for their rebellion against you at the time I sent you.” Bro Joseph & certain <others> have writen to you upon this all important subject, but you have <never> been apprised of these things by the united voice of a conference of those high priests that were present at the time this commandment was given, we therefore & the committe appointed by said conference to write this Epistle having received the prayers of sd conference that we might be enabled to write the mind & will of God upon this subject, now take up our pen to address you in the name of the conference, relying upon the arm of the GreatHead of the , in the commandment above alluded to the Children of were all, yea even evry one under condemnation, and were to remain in that state until they repented and remembred the new covenant even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which the Lord had given them, not only to say but to do them and bring forth fruit meet for ther Fathers Kingdom otherwise. [p. 20]
Before adjourning on 13 January, the conference resolved “that prayer be offered up by all the members of the conference that the epistle written might have the desired effect.” The minutes also note that Hyde and Hyrum Smith had “the prayers of the conferen[ce] for the holy spirit to direct them in writing the said Epistle.” (Minutes, 13–14 Jan. 1833.)