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.
there remaineth a scourge & a judgment to be poured out upon the children of , for shall the children of the Kingdom pollute my holy land I say unto you nay— The answers received from those letters which have been sent to you upon this subject have failed to bring to us that satisfactory confession and acknowledgment which the spirit of our Master requires— we therefore feeling a deep intrest for & knowing the judgments of God that will come upon her except she repent; resort to these last, and most efficient means in our power to bring her to a sense of her standing before the most High, At the time Joseph & left , all matters of hardness and misunderstanding were settled and buried (as they supposed) and you gave them the hand of fellowship but afterwards you brought up all these things again in a sensorious spirit accusing Bro Joseph in rather an indirect way in of seeking after Monarchal power and authority, this came to us in letter of June 2d., We are sensable that this is not the thing Bro J is seeking after, but to magnify the high office and calling whereunto he has been called and appointed by the command of God and the united voice of this Church, It might not be a miss for you to call to mind the circumstances of the and the Children of Israel rising up against their prophets and accusing them of seeking after Kingly power &c— and see what befel them and take warning before it is to[o] late s letter of Dec 10th. has been received and read attentively, and the low, dark, & blind insinuations which were in it were not received by us as from the fountain of light, though his claims and pretentions to holiness were great, we are not unwilling to be chastened or rebuked for our faults but we want to receive it in Language that we can understand, as Nathan said to David, Thou art the man We are aware that s is doing much, and a multitude of business on hand but let him purge out all the old leaven and do his business in the spirit of the Lord. and then the Lord will bless him <otherwise the frown of the Lord will remain upon him—> There is ma[n]ifestly an uneassness in , and a fearfulness that God will not provide for his saints in their last days and these fears lead him on to covitousness, This ought not so to be, but let him do just as the Lord has commanded him and then the Lord will open his coffers, and his wants will be liberally supplied, But if this uneasy covetous disposition be cherished by him the Lord will bring him to poverty shame, and disgrace, letter is also received of Dec [p. 21]
See Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:54–59]. Phelps commented on this condemnation in the January 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star: “The inhabitants of Zion are brought under condemnation for neglecting the book of Mormon, from which they not only received the new covenant, but the fulness of the gospel.” He then asked, “Has this been done for the sake of hunting mysteries in the prophecies? or has it come to pass by carelessness?” This same issue carried an extensive explanation of the Book of Mormon. (“Some of Mormon’s Teaching,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, ; “The Book of Mormon,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, –.)
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.
Corrill’s letter is not extant, but in a 31 July 1832 letter to Phelps, JS explained that Corrill’s letter “gave us this inteligence, that the Devel had been to work with all his inventive immagination to reward us for our toils in travling from this country to Zion.” The letter, JS continued, mentioned “those things which had been settled & forgiven & which they dare not bring to our faces.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832.)
It is not clear what specific incidents in the Book of Mormon and the Bible Hyde and Smith are referring to, but several possibilities exist. In the Book of Mormon, Laman and Lemuel, the brothers of Nephi, accuse him of seeking to be a ruler over them. After the death of their father, the family splits into two groups—Nephites and Lamanites—mainly because of Laman and Lemuel’s attempts to kill Nephi for “think[ing] to rule over us.” The Nephites “observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord” and therefore “prosper exceedingly.” The Lamanites are not obedient and are “cut off” from the presence of the Lord for a time. In the Bible, chapter 16 of the book of Numbers gives an account of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram rebelling against Moses and Aaron, in part because of their belief that Moses is trying to make himself “altogether a prince over us.” Korah, Dathan, and Abiram are eventually swallowed up by the earth. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 71–73 [2 Nephi 5:2–5, 10–11, 20–24]; Numbers 16:12–13, 31–33.)
A July 1831 revelation reiterated a commandment that Gilbert “be an agent unto the church to buy lands in all the regions round about.” It also instructed Gilbert to “establish a store that he may sell goods without fraud that he may obtain money to buy lands for the good of the Saints.” Gilbert had established the store, using funding provided by Whitney. (Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:6, 8]; Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 229–230; see also Revelation, 8 June 1831 [D&C 53].)
Staker, Mark L. Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2009.