Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 30 March 1834
JS, Letter with postscript by , , Geauga Co., OH, to , , and other members of the , [, MO], 30 Mar. 1834. Featured version copied [ca. 30 Mar. 1834] in Oliver Cowdery, Letterbook, 30–38; handwriting of ; Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA. Transcription from digital color image obtained from the Huntington Library in 2011. For more complete source information on Oliver Cowdery, Letterbook, see the source note for Letter to J. G. Fosdick, 3 Feb. 1834.
From the end of February to the end of March 1834, JS traveled to recruit individuals for the expedition to . On 28 March, he returned to , Ohio, and found that he had received several letters from Missouri church leaders, some of which were from members of the . Those letters, though no longer extant, seem to have discussed, among other things, the business of the firm, including its losses. The letters from Missouri must have also criticized JS and other Kirtland church leaders; according to JS, the letters contained “sharp, piercing, & cutting reproofs,” partly because of misspellings and grammatical errors that appeared in a published broadside of a December 1833 revelation and partly because of the lack of financial support from Kirtland for Missouri church members. Earlier missives from Missouri were similarly critical of Kirtland church leaders, and Missouri members had been consequently rebuked for being contentious. A December 1833 revelation even declared that church members had been driven from , Missouri, in part because of the “jar[r]ings and contentions envyings and strifes and lustful and covetous desires among them.” Although acknowledged that “it was right that we should be driven out of the land of ,” the letters that JS received in March 1834 apparently exhibited at least a measure of the same critical spirit found in earlier correspondence.
After spending the preceding day with his family and in the midst of attending to ecclesiastical affairs, JS penned a reply to the leaders on 30 March 1834. The letter, featured here, offers a glimpse into how the hardships of late 1833 and early 1834 affected JS and how he handled criticism. This letter exhibited JS’s frustration over their complaints but also evinced his desire to forgive past transgressions for the sake of unity. In the letter, JS also offered more information on the matters with which and others had found fault, bemoaned the persecution the church was experiencing in both Missouri and , and reported on the expected expedition of “able brethren” to Missouri. Specifically, he noted church members’ lack of support (in terms of both financial donations and individual volunteers) for the contemplated expedition to . JS also suggested that though he intended to be part of the expedition, he had other matters to resolve before departing. In fact, it was not until 9 April 1834, after the legal proceedings against (who had been charged with threatening to kill JS) had successfully concluded, that JS finally determined to “go to Zion.”
The letter further provided information on the advantage of employing attorney general Robert W. Wells in the Mormons’ legal suits, on debts and finances in , on the recent purchase of a printing press by in , and on the selling of property. Though some church leaders in Missouri wrote letters to Kirtland in the months following this letter, they did not specifically address this letter or its contents. Therefore, it is not clear if the men of the in Missouri received this letter.
See, for example, “The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, May 1834, 160; and “The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1834, 168.
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.
Kingdom. We talk some of stereotyping the old copy with the book of Mormon; but when will depend upon circumstances, attended with the blessings of the Lord. I send father Chapen a paper according to your direction; but do not know brother Newberry’s first name— please write it in your next. Those other names were so closely compressed that it was with some difficulty, that I ascertained who and where, and I am not now certain— please write in your next; for we want them to go that the news may spread. In your letter to by and you wish me to represent the importance of your requests; but I know not as I could say anything which would awaken them to activity in the cause of anymore than they are now— Night & day with every means they cease not to labor, and I can safely say, that they think & long for her deliverance as <much as> those who have lived upon her consecrated soil. Your request relative to clothing &c. shall be properly considered. I will just remind you, that your reproofs, though designed for the best, are calculated to make a different impression when written, than when given orally— the fact is, it is a long distance to reprove for small things in these days of great events. I drop you this because you & I have labored together a long time, & I have no doubt but it will be received— you know how it was once in reproving. called on Tom Channing some time since for your old moulds, and Tom, had the politeness to inform him where he could get one made, & not understanding that it was your mould. paid his money for the new one and Tom, keep yours— so much for his honor when he thinks you are beyond his reach, or, he yours. As respects giving the Mobbers their true characters in the Star— We do not want to add affliction to your calamity: but we must say something about them: for this is one reason why the Lord gave us this press; and if <we> say nothing of their character, nor expose their wicked deeds the world will enquire, “why have they” (the saints) fled.” Every article is generally inspected before it goes out. There are many errors in spelling, which cannot be avoided yet, well, the boys are young, and it is not as it was with us [p. 37]