Letter from William Smith, 18 December 1835

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

18th Inst.
Copy of a letter from Br.
Br. Joseph— Though I do not know but I have forfeited all right and title to the word brother, in concequence of what I have done, for I concider myself; that I am unworthy to be called one, after coming to myself and concidering upon what I have done I feel as though it was a duty, to make a humble confession to you for what I have done or what took place the other evening,— but leave this part of the subject at present,— I was called to an account by , yesterday for my conduct; or they desired to know my mind or determination and what I was going to do I told them that on reflection upon the many difficulties that I had had with the and the much disgrace I had brought upon myself in concequence of these things and also that my health would not permit me to go to to <​make​> any preperations for the and that my health was such that I was not able to travel, I told them that it would be better for them to appoint one in the office that would be better able to fill it, and by doing this they would throw me into the hands of the church, and leave me where I was before I was chosen—
Then I would not be in a situation [p. 77] to bring so much disgrace upon the cause, when I fell into temptation, and perhaps by this I might obtain Salvation you know my passions and the danger of falling from so high a station, and thus by withdrawing from the office of the while their is salvation for me, and remaining a member in the ;
I feel a fraid if I do’nt do this it will be worse for me, some other day
And again my health is poor and I am not able to travel and it is necessary that the office, should not be idle— And again I say you know my passions and I am a fraid it will be worse for me, by and by
do so if the Lord will have mercy on me and let me remain as a member in the church, and then I can travel and preach, when I am able— do not think that I am your enemy for what I have done, perhaps you may say or ask why I have not remembered the good that you have done to me— When I reflect upon the ingury I have done you I must confess that I do not know what I have been doing about— I feel sorry for what I have done and humbly ask your forgiveness— I have not confidence as yet to come and see you for I feel ashamed of what I have done, and as I feel now I feel as thou [p. 78]gh all the confessions that I could make verbally or by writing would not be sufficient to atone for the transgression— be this as it may I am willing to make all the restitution you shall require, If I can stay in the as a member— I will try to make all the satisfaction possible—
yours with respect
do not cast me off for what I have done but strive to save me in the church as a member I do repeat repent of what I have done to you and ask your forgiveness— I concider the transgression the other evening of no small magnitude,— but it is done and I cannot help it now— I know brother Joseph you are always willing to forgive.
But I sometimes think when I reflect upon the many inguries I have done you I feel as though a confession was not hardly sufficient— but have mercy on me this once and I will try to do so no more—
, called a yesterday and sent over after me and I went over
This council rem[em]ber was called together by themselves and not by me
[p. 79]


  1. 1

    The version copied into JS’s 1834–1836 history reads, “what took place at my house the other evening.” (JS History, 1834–1836, 155.)  

  2. 2

    There is no extant record of this meeting.  

  3. 3

    JS’s 1834–1836 history reads, “in consequence of my bad conduct.” (JS History, 1834–1836, 155.)  

  4. 4

    Though William references his poor health several times, no extant records shed light on what kind of condition he might have had.  

  5. 5

    JS’s 1834–1836 history adds that William was chosen “among the twelve.” (JS History, 1834–1836, 156.)  

  6. 6

    Instead of “and thus by withdrawing from the office of the apostleship,” JS’s 1834–1836 history has, “And therefore I chose to withdraw from the office of the Apostleship.” (JS History, 1834–1836, 156.)  

  7. 7

    See Revelation, 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82:3].  

  8. 8

    On 27 February 1835, JS and the newly ordained apostles met to further discuss the role of the new priesthood body. During the meeting, JS declared that the Twelve were “called to a travelling high council to preside over all the churches of the saints among the gentiles where there is no presidency established. They are to travel and preach among the Gentiles.” (Record of the Twelve, 27 Feb. 1835; see also Minutes and Discourses, 27 Feb. 1835.)  

  9. 9

    The version of the letter recorded in JS’s 1834–1836 history reads, “Do not think that I am your enemy, for what I have done. perhaps the inquiry may arise in your mind, why I do not rem[em]ber the many good deeds you have done for me; or if I do remember them, why it is that I should treat you so basely.” (JS History, 1834–1836, 156.)  

  10. 10

    JS’s 1834–1836 history reads, “This council was called together without my knowledge, or concent.” (JS History, 1834–1836, 157.)