Letter from Jacob W. Jenks, 31 December 1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Dec 31t. 1839
Brother Joseph Smith Jr,
Sir In the bonds of the Gospel of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, may the Lord be with and strengthen you, while in the business in which you are engaged at , together with the rest of your Bretheren & associates there, in compliance will [with] the revealed will of God.
I am pleased to learn that the head, and— also the rest of the chosen , are fired with inteligent zeal, to do the will of the Lord; that this Kingdom may soon come in its fullness, when the Knowledge of the Lord shall cover.— the earth as the waters cover the Deep
Allow me to say dear Brother, it is the desire of the Bretheren at , as well as at , to come into our city & Vilage, if you should deem it expedient. I know that there were some pecuniary embarrassments, under which you have been in time past labouring; and do not know but they are still continueing; if so I am aware that you could not visit us the City without laying yourself liable to imprisonment, which I should be sorry to have take place; as it is the law of our land that a nonresident shall be liable to imprisonment; yet I do not know but you might manage in that way so as not to have the law enforced. I mention these things so that you may not be brought into bondage unawares; perhaps by those, who may feel a disposition to persecute the saints in and would be very much grattified to have your presence
I wish you would answer this as soon as it comes to hand, letting me know the expense, or fare to also The <​expense the​> rest of the rout to & , I know the amt of. I will give you a returning answer immediately, [p. 117] Bro. Joseph, I desires your prayers to Almighty God in my behalf, and wish you to enquire of the Lord & write concerning me.
I remain your affectionate Brother in the Bonds of the Gospel
[p. 118]


  1. 1

    See Philemon 1:13.  

  2. 2

    JS’s associates in Washington DC at this time were Elias Higbee, Sidney Rigdon, Robert D. Foster, and Orrin Porter Rockwell.  

  3. 3

    In accordance with instruction given in a December 1833 revelation, church conferences appointed JS, Rigdon, and Higbee to petition the federal government for redress. (Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:86–92]; Minutes, 4–5 May 1839; Minutes and Discourses, 5–7 Oct. 1839.)  

  4. 4

    At this time, Brigham Young was the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Jenks likely came in contact with several members of that quorum who were traveling in the area while they prepared for their voyage to Great Britain. (See Letter from Parley P. Pratt, 22 Nov. 1839.)  

  5. 5

    See Habakkuk 2:14; Isaiah 11:9; and Book of Mormon, 1837 ed., 105, 126 [2 Nephi 21:9; 30:15].  

  6. 6

    Church leaders were working to restructure several of the church’s debts to New York merchants. In their letters home, members of the church delegation to the federal government also frequently referred to the need to secure funding for their travel expenses while in the eastern United States. (Authorization for Oliver Granger, 6 May 1839; Authorization for Oliver Granger, 13 May 1839; Agreement with Mead & Betts, 2 Aug. 1839; JS, Oliver Granger et al., and John A. Newbould, Agreement, ca. 2 Aug. 1839, Hiram Kimball, Collection, CHL; Letter to Hyrum Smith and Nauvoo High Council, 5 Dec. 1839; Letter from Hyrum Smith, 2 Jan. 1840.)  

  7. 7

    See An Act to Abolish Imprisonment for Debt, and to Punish Fraudulent Debtors [26 Apr. 1831], Laws of the State of New York [1831], chap. 300, p. 396, secs. 1–2.  

    Laws of the State of New-York, Passed at the Fifty-Fourth Session of the Legislature, Begun and Held at the City of Albany, the Fourth Day of January, 1831. Albany: E. Croswell, 1831.