Letter to Oliver Granger, between circa 22 and circa 28 July 1840
JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to , , Lake Co., OH, [between ca. 22 and ca. 28 July 1840]. Featured version copied [between ca. 22 and ca. 28 July 1840] in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 159–161; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
In July 1840, JS wrote a letter to , who had expressed concern about ’s conduct in , Ohio. When JS and his family departed Kirtland for in January 1838, most members in the area followed, but some Saints remained. In fall 1838, the departures of Kirtland and Kirtland left the remaining church members without essential leaders. In spring 1839, a general in , Illinois, appointed Granger, who had earlier worked to sell church members’ property in Kirtland and resolve church debts there, to “preside over the general affairs of the Church” in Kirtland and to “take the Charge and oversight of the .” However, Granger apparently did not relocate to Kirtland until spring 1840, after he entered into an agreement with JS “to assume all the debts, notes, & obligations” that the owed in and .
Soon after making this agreement, departed , Illinois, for , where he apparently spent some time before departing for with . On 23 June 1840, while in New York, Granger and Richards wrote a letter to JS complaining about . A member of the , Babbitt was appointed by a May 1839 general conference “to set to rights the church” in , Illinois. After traveling to Springfield and then preaching in in fall 1839, Babbitt had relocated to Kirtland by summer 1840.
Although and ’s letter to JS is not extant, the minutes of a September 1840 meeting reveal some of the two men’s concerns. reportedly had claimed that JS and “extravagantly purchased” clothes while in in winter 1839–1840 and had asserted that JS, Rigdon, , and Granger had declared “that they were worth $100.000 each.” Babbitt also supposedly had held “secret Council” in the , locking the doors of the building and prohibiting “certain brethren, in good standing” to enter. Because Granger had been appointed to preside over the church in Kirtland, he apparently sought JS’s direction on how to deal with Babbitt. In this reply to Granger, JS expressed dismay at Babbitt’s actions and informed Granger that the church had withdrawn fellowship from Babbitt.
JS likely composed his reply—which bears no date—in late July 1840. Other letters transported between and around this same time indicate that it could have taken anywhere from two and a half weeks to a month for and ’s letter, which JS stated was written 23 June, to reach Nauvoo. JS therefore probably received the letter about mid-July. In his reply, JS mentioned a meeting in which ’s conduct was considered, suggesting that JS waited at least a few days before answering Granger and Richards. In the letter, JS also referred to a 29 June 1840 letter he had received from “a few days ago”—one that he answered on 22 July. The letter to Granger does not indicate that JS had yet answered Phelps, suggesting that JS may have written to Granger before or on 22 July prior to responding to Phelps. A later JS history dated the letter 22 July, perhaps because of where the letter falls in JS Letterbook 2. In that letterbook, the letter to Granger appears after the 22 July letter from JS to Phelps and before a 28 July letter from JS to . All of these circumstances suggest that JS wrote his reply to Granger sometime in mid- or late July, most likely between 22 and 28 July.
The original letter to is not extant. Before the letter was sent, copied it into JS Letterbook 2. Granger evidently received the letter because came to in early September to answer JS’s charges against him.
In June 1840, Granger sold land in Lake County, Ohio, to John Norton. Rhoda Richards, Levi Richards’s sister, informed their brother Willard Richards on 5 July 1840 that Levi had “spent a week in New York with Brother Granger.” (Lake Co., OH, Deeds, 1840–1950, Deed Records, vol. A, pp. 65–66, 3 June 1840, microfilm 973,892, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Rhoda Richards, Richmond, MA, to Willard Richards, Manchester, England, 14 and 28 June 1840; 5 July 1840, typescript, Richards Family Papers, CHL.)
U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.
“Richards Family Letters 1840–1849.” Typescript. Richards Family Papers, 1965. CHL.
Historian’s Office, Brigham Young History Drafts, 28–29; Minutes, 4–5 May 1839; Almon Babbitt, Pleasant Garden, IN, 18 Oct. 1839, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:26; Johnson, “A Life Review,” 58, 62; “Important Church News,” Times and Seasons, May 1840, 1:109.
Phebe Carter Woodruff indicated that she received a 17 December 1839 letter from her husband, Wilford Woodruff, who was in New York, “soon after” 1 January 1840. Heber C. Kimball was also in New York, however, and did not receive a 2 February 1840 letter from his wife, Vilate Murray Kimball, who was in Nauvoo, until 5 March 1840. (Phebe Carter Woodruff, Montrose, Iowa Territory, to Wilford Woodruff, Ledbury, England, 8 Mar. 1840, digital scan, Wilford Woodruff, Collection, CHL; Heber C. Kimball, New York City, NY, to Vilate Murray Kimball, 5 Mar. 1840, photocopy, Heber C. Kimball, Correspondence, 1837–1864, CHL.)
Woodruff, Wilford. Collection, 1831–1905. Digital scans. CHL. Originals in private possession.
Kimball, Heber C. Collection, 1837–1898. CHL. MS 12476.
It was something new to me when I heard there had been secret meetings held in the , and that some of my friends—faithful brethren, men enjoying the confidence of the should be locked out. Such like proceedings are not calculated to promote union or peace but to engender strife and will be a curse instead of a blessing: To those who are young in the work I know they are calculated to and must be injurious to them. Those who have had experience and who should know better, than to reflect on their brethren, there is no excuse for them. If and the other brethren wish to reform the Church and come out and make a stand against sin & speculation &c &c; they must use other weapons than lies, or their object can never be effected, and their labors will be given to the house of the stranger rather than to the house of the Lord
The proceedings of were taken into consideration at a meeting of the Church at this place, when it was unanimously resolved that fellowship should be withdrawn from him until he make satisfaction for the conduct he has pursued of which circumstance I wish you to apprize him of without delay and demand his .
Dr Sir I wish you to stand in your lot and keep the station which was given you by revelation and the authorities of the Church; attend to the affairs of the Church with diligence and then rest assured on the blessings of heaven: It is binding on you to act as of the Church in until you are removed by the same Authority which put you in, and I do hope, their will be no cause for opposition. but that good feelin[g]s will be manifested in future by all the brethren
letter to was duly received for which he has our best thanks, It was indeed an admirable letter and worthy of its author the sentiments express’d were in accordance with the spirit of the gospel and the principles correct. I am glad that has continued with you and hope he has been of some service to you,— give my love to him
Our prospects in this place continue good. considerable numbers have come in this spring.— There were some bickerings respecting your conduct soon after your departure but they have all blown over, and I hope there will never be any occasion for any more, but that you will commend yourself to God and to the saints by a virtuous walk and holy conversation
I had a letter from a few days ago informing me of his desire to come back to the Church if we would accept of him, he appears very humble and is willing to make every satisfaction that Saints or God may require.
We expect to have an edition of the book of Mormon printed by the first of September it has is now being sterotyped in
Although Babbitt apparently locked the House of the Lord in the instance mentioned here, other individuals in Kirtland had sought at different times to keep church members loyal to JS out of the building. Heber C. Kimball reported that after he preached a sermon in the House of the Lord in November 1839, John Moreton—who affiliated with Martin Harris and Cyrus Smalling—declared that Kimball “never should preach in the house again.” Kimball told his wife, Vilate, that “as a general thing there Cannot be a meeting without some dispute” in Kirtland. In December 1839, it was reported that the dissident group led by Harris and Joseph Coe “have the hous part of the time.” (Minutes, 5–6 Sept. 1840; Kimball, “History,” 115; Heber C. Kimball, Kirtland, OH, to Vilate Murray Kimball, Commerce, IL, 16 Nov. 1839, photocopy, Heber C. Kimball, Letters, 1839–1854, CHL; “J.E.W.,” Kirtland, OH, to Mary Kendall Dunham, Switzerland Co., IN, 1 Dec. 1839, Jonathan Dunham, Papers, CHL.)
Kimball, Heber C. “History of Heber Chase Kimball by His Own Dictation,” ca. 1842–1856. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box 2.
Kimball, Heber C. Letters, 1839–1854. Photocopy. CHL.
In May 1840, a newspaper reported that Nauvoo’s population had increased greatly because of immigration: “Our informant states that several families arrive every day. A gentleman living on the road from Quincy to Nauvoo assured him that on some days at least 15 families passed his house, all bound to the latter place.” (“Latest from the Mormons,” Salt River Journal [Bowling Green, MO], 16 May 1840, .)
The July 1840 issue of the Times and Seasons reported that Ebenezer Robinson had “gone to Cincinnati for the express purpose of getting the Book of Mormon stereotyped and printed, and that he has entered into a contract to have it done immediately.” ([Don Carlos Smith], “To the Saints Scattered Abroad,” Times and Seasons, July 1840, 1:144.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.