Letter from Joseph Bosworth, 17 February 1834

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

My Dear Breathren in Christ, at
The Visions which I have had from God for some month past Stand Conspicuous before <​my​> mind with<​out​> which Every thing from my youth to this Day would Vanish out of my Sight or to nothing Compared to the two Visions most remarkable which I had Last night Surpassing all thing heretofore Known by me—
May I first then give thanks to God through Jesus christ to whom be glory power honor and Dignity for ever
you Know Breathren how Difficult it is to communicate the things which God Gives us by writeing I Shall therefor not attempt nor expect to give you but a verry Slight Sketch of the out Lines of my revalations or Visions
on the 16th Feb 10 Oclock in the Evening 1834 commenced the things a part of which I write to you
first Vision
I Saw a Strange appearance in the Sky in the East Next a boddy of Light raiseing up in the Same place. while this Lumenary was raising which was not brighter then the Sun— I Saw another most grand fountain of Light more magestick then any thing thing that Eever <​I​> Saw of Great magnitude and the Light that flowed from <​it​> is indecrible [indescribable] So bright that it would Shine bright on the Sun or as much br[i]ghter— then the Sun thn <​as​> the Sun is brighter then the moon this greater then all Light,— was far in the South So Low Down that it appered to be allmost Levil with the Surface of the Earth but not on the Earth tho it give its Light to the Earth which Light was not a flaming Light Like the Sun but the most pure Light to Look upon with great pleasure, the purity of this Light, I can not tell you any thing about neather can I tell you any thing of its great Splender I Looked at this great Sight in the South <​with​> great Earnestness. as I Supposed it would Soon Disappear and the other one in the East I h <​I could See​> after this had Disappeared if I Should Sit here and write respecting this most beautifull appearing Lumenary three Days I Should not be able to <​give​> you any Idea of the Exelence of its glorious appearan[c]e when or whether at all these Lights Disapeared in my Vision I am not able to tell as my Eyes were [p. [1]] taken of to View an other Sight which then presented itself to my view— I now Saw— two armies one from the north and the other from the South parraded in two Strait Lines faceing Each other near together Extending from East to wist as <​I​> thought through the hole Earth all mounted on horses Equipt with arms of warfare in the highist pomp all Standing Still prepared for a most tremendious battle—. I Saw no fighting Except one Exchange of Shots by a few men Verry far in the west So far that I could not here the report of guns but Saw the motion and the Smoke of burning powder I Stood on the groun[d] with Some of my Breathren where this great Light Shone So bright not armed our Selves in this battle nor was I the Least Intimidated Brother Stood by and Said Br Joseph a I am <​not​> a <​not​> fraid on which I asked him if [he] Saw the Smoke in the west
thus the Scene closed and <​I​> Came out of my Vision— I then arose out of bed put on my cloth[e]s Left my house and went to my usual Lonely place of Secret prayer— and there prostrating my boddy and face to the Dust gave thanks to God for the things which he had Shown to me and prayed to God in the name of Jesus Christ if it was Consistant for me to know the interpetation or any part of it that it might be given to me.
I then returned to my house and Soon retired to rest again it being about the 12th hour of the night— on which I all most immediately had the following revalation or Vision as an interpetation of the first
Vision Second
first I Saw my self in Various parts and in in Differant Congregations of men and Woman many of which I Knew— Laboring with great Diligence in the word of God and proclaiming the things which I had Seen in a Vision of the two Lights and the Great armies of horse men. Many times relating all the particualars with Great Candor— on which Some believed and Some persecuted me most unsufferably [p. [2]] and in my travils I Came to a house Some where East of this place. where many of our Breathren were, and the house was Closed and the Breathren were fasting and praying— I Saw a man out Side of the house who told me that he was to watch till morning. Just at Day break while it was yet hardly Light enough to See the Doors of the house wrere opened the Breathren who had ben in the house and were then in the house and out at this Door were Leeping Shouting and praising God beyond any thing that I ever Saw or heard— I thought the<​y​> had received Something in the house Like a powerfull Shock of Elecrisity [electricity] in which Great Misteries of God had ben unfolded. they understood all the Defects of a pretended religion or religions among men and Some of them talked So Ernist and Said thing which I remember now and Ever Shall, while a white Spittle flew of out of many of there Mouths the misteries of the Gospel the misteries <​of​> Godliness and the misteries of Eternity Seemed to be understood Instan[tan]eously and many of our Breathren were there who now Live in many of <​whom I​> have Seen and Know them
Glory be to God on high and here at this great Scene my Breathren the full interpitations was understood of all that God had Shown me in my Vision and even I felt my Self clothed <​with​> the Knowledge of God. -[My Dear Breathren my heart Doth throb my Soul now Leaps for Joy. and my tears hide my paper and Shall have to lay Down my pen. O the goodness of God— My Dear Breathren and Sisters Do offer up our pr[a]yer to in <​God in​> my behalf]- I now proceede again with my Last Vision— immediately following after I Left this place where the Breathren were gethered for this Sollom Scene. I Saw my Self five or Six hundred Miles East in the State of in a Large Village— -[the <​Scene​> that I went through there I Shall have entirely <​to​> Omit and many other things as <​my​> paper will not hold out—]- Dear Br in my travels I Came a where I found our old Br and in Conversation with him he yealded to me and we Clasped Each other in our arms and it Seem to me that we farely Melted together on which he wilted all Down in my arms and fell back on the ground I on Top of him [p. [3]] and my Last Vision Closed— on which I arose and went again and gave thanks to God Just at the break of Day which Crowned the best and happiest night of my Life— the balance of which I Owe to God to whom be glory Power honor Dominion and Life for ever and ever amen
Breathren my Love to you all and may the blessings of God rest on you, take Courage for God is about to help us with Great Power and bestow Much wisdom
I will also State to you that I have had a Vision where important things are Seen in which is I think was marching out of the field and may God Bless him Far well
Feb 17th 1834Fear not God is with us
Paid 10
Mr Joseph Smith
Geauga Co
Medina, Cy
Febry 15 <​19​> 1834 [p. [4]]


  1. 1

    Bosworth may have here been referencing JS and Rigdon’s own statement about what they saw in their 16 February 1832 vision: “Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Vision, 16 Feb. 1832, in “A Vision,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [3] [D&C 76:116].)  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  2. 2

    Thomas Gordon was a member of the Church of Christ in the New Portage, Ohio, area. (Minute Book 1, 8 Sept. 1834; 18 Nov. 1835; 10 June 1836.)  

  3. 3

    TEXT: Possibly “<​and the​>”.  

  4. 4

    Walter Scott (1796–1861) was a prominent evangelist and writer in Alexander Campbell’s Disciples of Christ movement. After leaving Pittsburgh’s First Baptist Church in August 1824, Rigdon was “on terms of the greatest friendship” with Scott and Campbell for a time. (Hayden, Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, 63–64; Foster et al., Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, 673–679; JS History, vol. A-1, 64.)  

    Hayden, Amos Sutton. Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio; with Biographical Sketches of the Principal Agents in Their Religious Movement. Cincinnati: Chase and Hall, 1875.

    Foster, Douglas A., Anthony L. Dunnavant, Paul M. Blowers, and D. Newell Williams, eds. The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2004.

  5. 5

    Alexander Campbell (1788–1866) left his association with Regular Baptists to promote, with several other Christian reformers, the restoration of primitive Christianity through an appeal to New Testament teachings and practices. Campbell’s followers and supporters came to be known as Disciples of Christ or, less formally, as Campbellites. In January 1832 Campbell’s movement merged with a similar movement led by Barton Stone, whose followers—many of whom were former Presbyterians—referred to themselves simply as Christians. (Hayden, Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, chap. 1; McAllister and Tucker, Journey in Faith, 26–28; Foster et al., Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, 713–716.)  

    Hayden, Amos Sutton. Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio; with Biographical Sketches of the Principal Agents in Their Religious Movement. Cincinnati: Chase and Hall, 1875.

    McAllister, Lester G., and William E. Tucker. Journey in Faith: A History of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1975.

    Foster, Douglas A., Anthony L. Dunnavant, Paul M. Blowers, and D. Newell Williams, eds. The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2004.

  6. new scribe logo

    Postmark in unidentified handwriting.