Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, 25 June 1833

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

June 25— 1833
Brethren we have received your last containing a number of questions which you desire us to answer, this we do the more readily as we desire with all our hearts, the prosperity of and the peace of her inhabitents for we have as great an intrest in the welfare of Zion as you can have— First as respects getting the book of Commandments bound we think it is not necessary[.] they will be sold as well without binding and there is no book binder to be had as we know off, nor is there materials to be had for binding without keeping the books too long from circulation——
With regard to the books of Mormon which are in the hand of brothe[r] Burket we say to you get them from brothe[r] Burkeet give him receipt for them in the name of the littery Let pay bro Chapin his mony——
We have not found the book of Jasher nor any of the othe[r] lost books mentioned in the bible as yet nor wille we obtain obtain them at present— respecting the Apochraphy [Apocrypha] the Lord Said to us that there were many things in it which were true and ther were many things in it which were not true and to those who desired, it should be given by the spirit to know true from the false, we have received some revelations within a short time back which you will obtain in due time. As soon as we can get time, we will review the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon, after which they will be forwarded to you— We commend the plan highly of your choossing a teacher to instruct the that they may be able to silence gainsayers— Concerning we recommend the following, to let Bro be ordained second Bishop in . And let Bro be ordained third— Let choose as in their place, Bro and Bro , ordaining to the . Let choose for his counsellors Bro whom ordain to the High Priesthood and Bro — Let choose bro and Bro for his counsellors, let also be ordained to the high Priesthood— Bro of has been received as a member of the by and has just come to to live. As soon as we get a power of Agency signed agreeable to law for , we will forward it to him, and will immediately expect one from that part of the firm to Bro signed in the same manner. We would again say to to be sure to get a form according to law for secureing a gift, we have found by examineing the Law that a gift cannot be retained without this— The truth triumphs gloriously in the East, Multitudes are embraceing it. I who write this letter in behalf of the have had the privilege of seeing my aged Mother into the faith of the Gospel a few weeks since at the advanced age of seventy five, she now resides with me. We send by this mail a draft of the City of Zion with explanations, and a draft of the house to be built immediately in for the presidency as well as all purposes of Religion and instruction. , the of , is strengthening continually, when they [the?] enemies look at her, they wag their heads and march along. We anticipate the day when the enemies will have fled away and be far from us. You will remember that the power of agency must be signed by the wives as well as their husbands, and the wives must be examined separate & apart from the husband the same as signing a deed, and a specification to that effect inserted at the bottom by the Justice before whom said acknowledgement is made, otherwise the power will be of non[e] effect. Clarrissa Bachellor of wants her paper discontinued because she has gone from the place, and she has turned from the faith. Send a paper to Joshua Baley Andover Vermont [p. [1]]
Should you not understand the explanations Sent with the drafts you will inform us, so as you may have a propper understanding, for it is meet that all things should be done according to the pattern— The following errors we have found in the as printed 40th. Chap 10th. verse third line, instead of corruptable put corrupted 14 verse of the same chapter 5th. line instead of respecter to persons, put respecter of persons. 21st. verse 2nd. line of the same chapter, instead of respecter to, put respecter of 44 Chapter 12 verse last line, instead of hands, put heads— Sir, I proceed to answer your questions concerning the of Property. First, it is not right to condescend to verry great paticulars in takeing inventories. the fact is this, that a man is bound by the law of the church to consecrate to the before he can be considered a legal heir to the Kingdom of , and this too, without constraint, and unless he does this, he cannot be acknowledged before the Lord on the Church Book. Therefore, to condescend to particulars, I will tell you that every man must be his own judge how much he should receive, and how much he should suffer to remain in the hands of the Bishop. I speak of those who consecrate more than they need for the support of themselves and family The matter of consecration must be done by the mutual consent of both parties— For, to give the Bishop power to say how much every man shall have and he be obliged to comply with the Bishops judgment, is giveing to the Bishop more power than a King has and upon the other hand, to let every man say how much he needs and the Bishop obliged to comply with his judgment, is to throw Zion into confusion and make a Slave of the Bishop. The fact is, there must be a balance or equalibrium of power between the bishop and the people, and thus harmony and good will may be preserved among you. Therefore, those persons consecrating property to the Bishop in , and then receiveing an back, must show reasonably to the Bishop that he wants as much as he claims. but in case the two parties can<​not​> come to a mutual agreement, the Bishop is to have nothing to do about receiveing their consecrations and the case must be laid before a of twelve , the Bishop not being one of the council, but he is to lay the case before them. Say to that we have no means in our power to assist him in a pecuniary point, as we know not the hour when we shall be Sued for debts which we have contracted ourselves in . Say to him that he must exert himself to the utmost to obtain means himself to replenish his for it must be replenished and it is his duty to attend to it. We were not a little surprised to hear that some of our letters of a public nature which we sent for the good of <​have been​> kept back from the , this is conduct which we highly disapprobate, Answers to queries in letter of June 4th. First in relation to the poor, when the Bishops are appointed according to our reccommendation, it will involve upon them to see to the poor according to the . In regard to the printing of the New translation it cannot be done until we can attend to it ourselves, and this we will do as soon as the Lord permit— As to , all members of the are considered one, The order of the is a matter of which is of the greatest importance and the mercantile establishment God for to be devoted to the support thereof, and God will bring every transgressor into judgment. Say to the Brethren Hulits and to all others that the Lord never authorized them to say that the Devil nor his angels nor the Sons of perdition should ever be restored, for their state of destiny was not revealed to man, is not revealed, nor ever shall be revealed save to those who are made partakers thereof, consequently, those who teach this doctrine have not received it of the Spirit of the Lord, Truly, declared it to be the doctrine of devils. We therefore, command that this doctrine [p. [2]] be taught no more in — We sanction the decission of the and his in relation to this doctrine being a bar of communion The number of disciples in is, about 150 We have commenced building the in this place, and it goes on rapidly— Good news from the East and South, of the success of the Labourers is often saluteing our ears, a general time of health among us, families all well and day and night <​we pray​> for the salvation of Zion. We deliver over to the buffetings of in the name of the Lord, that he may learn not to transgress the of God. We conclude our letter by the usual salutation in token of the
We hasten to a close because the mail is just going
Joseph Smith Jr
Clk of for the
P.S. We feel gratified with the way in which is conducting the Star at present we hope he will seek to render it more and more interesting. In [re]lation to the size of when is once properly regulated there will be a to each to each square of the size of the one we send you with this; but at present it must be done according to wisdom. It is needful Brethren that you should be all of one heart and of one mind in doing the will of the Lord. there should exist the greatest freedom and familiarity among the Rulers in . We were exceeding sorry to hear the complaint which was made in s letter that the letters attending the olive leaf had been kept from him as it is meet that he should know all thing[s] in relation to as the Lord has appointed him to be a judge in Zion. We hope dear Brethren that the like circumstance will not take place again— When we direct letters to to any of the which pertains to the regulation thereof, we always design that they Should be laid before the so as to enable him to perform his duty, we say say so much hopeing that it will be received in Kindness and our Brethren be careful about each others feelings and walk in love honoring one another more than themselves as is required of the Lord You[r]s as ever [p. [3]]
1½ Oz— at 1.00
June 26 }undercharged 2
Jackson County


  1. new scribe logo

    Frederick G. Williams handwriting begins.  

  2. 1

    Church conferences in November 1831 decided to publish a collection of JS’s revelations in a volume called A Book of Commandments, for the Government of the Church of Christ. Knowing that William W. Phelps was nearing completion of this project, the presidency of the high priesthood instructed that the volume be distributed unbound. However, by late July 1833, when Phelps would have learned of this instruction, Jackson County citizens had razed and destroyed the church’s printing office. By that point, Phelps had printed five thirty-two-page signatures of the Book of Commandments and probably intended that the sixth signature, which was not yet printed, would be the final signature in the volume. (Minutes, 1–2 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 8 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831; Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833; Historical Introduction to Book of Commandments.)  

  3. 2

    Possibly George Burket, or Bergat, who was among the church members driven from Jackson County a few months later. (See George Burket, Affidavit, Adams Co., IL, 13 May 1839, Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845, CHL.)  

    Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845. CHL. MS 2703.

  4. 3

    By 30 April 1832, six members of the United Firm also composed the Literary Firm, a component of the United Firm that was responsible for overseeing church publications. (Revelation, 1 Mar. 1832 [D&C 78]; Revelation, 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82:11–21]; Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 26–27 Apr. 1832; Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70:1–3]; Minutes, 30 Apr. 1832.)  

  5. 4

    “Bro Chapin” is possibly Adolphus Chapin, who in May 1835 was among those selected to receive “inheritances in Zion.” It is not known why or how much money Gilbert would have owed Chapin at this time. (Whitmer, History, 71–72.)  

  6. 5

    It is not clear to what extent early church members were interested in the book of Jasher, beyond what is offered in this letter. Two passages in the Old Testament refer to the book of Jasher, which was first translated into English by Moses Samuel, a Jewish scholar residing in Liverpool, England. In 1840, Samuel’s translation was published as Sefer ha-yashar, or, The Book of Jasher; Referred to in Joshua and Second Samuel in New York by Mordecai M. Noah & A. S. Gould. Mormons showed interest in the lost books of the Bible early in the church’s history. Of the latter part of 1830, JS’s history records, “Much conjecture and conversation frequently occurred among the saints, concerning the books mentioned and referred to, in various places in the old and new testaments, which were now no where to be found.” For more on Mormons’ views of lost and Apocryphal books of the Bible, see Historical Introduction to Revelation, 9 Mar. 1833 [D&C 91]. (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18; Wasserstein, “Moses Samuel,” 95; JS History, vol. A-1, 80; see also Brandt, “History, Content, and Latter-day Saint Use of the Book of Jasher,” 8, 14–15, 122–131.)  

    Wasserstein, Bernard. “Moses Samuel, Liverpool Hebraist.” Jewish Historical Studies 35 (1996–1998): 93–102.

    Brandt, Edward J. “The History, Content, and Latter-day Saint Use of the Book of Jasher.” PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1976.

  7. 6

    See Revelation, 9 Mar. 1833 [D&C 91].  

  8. new scribe logo

    Frederick G. Williams handwriting ends; Orson Hyde begins.  

  9. 7

    Since JS had last written to Missouri on 2 May 1833, he had dictated three revelations, though it is unclear when he sent them to Missouri. The revelations were transcribed into Revelation Book 1, which was kept in Missouri. (See Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833; Revelation, 6 May 1833, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 178–181 [D&C 93]; Revelation, 1 June 1833, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 181–182 [D&C 95]; and Revelation, 4 June 1833, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 182–183 [D&C 96].)  

  10. 8

    The presidency may have sent manuscripts of the Book of Mormon as part of their plan, expressed two months earlier, to print the Book of Mormon and the New Testament together. Alternatively, this portion of the letter could be related to William W. Phelps’s intent to publish the Book of Mormon serially in The Evening and the Morning Star so that “the world will have an opportunity to read for themselves.” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 21 Apr. 1833; “The Book of Mormon,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1833, [2].)  

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

  11. 9

    This idea to hire an instructor may have stemmed from an injunction in a December 1832 revelation to “teach one another, the doctrines, of the kingdom,” which resulted in the creation of the School of the Prophets in Kirtland. This revelation may have also prompted the creation of a similar school in Missouri. At some point in summer 1833, church leaders in Missouri selected Parley P. Pratt to teach and lead a school, and on 2 August 1833, a revelation encouraged Pratt to continue to conduct that school. (Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:77]; Pratt, Autobiography, 99–100; Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–A [D&C 97:3–6].)  

    Pratt, Parley P. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Embracing His Life, Ministry and Travels, with Extracts, in Prose and Verse, from His Miscellaneous Writings. Edited by Parley P. Pratt Jr. New York: Russell Brothers, 1874.

  12. 10

    For the prior two years, Isaac Morley and John Corrill had served as Bishop Edward Partridge’s two official assistants, or counselors, in Jackson County. In December 1832, Morley and Corrill were assigned to “set in order the different Branches of the Church of Christ in the land of Zion.” The influx of church members arriving in Missouri may have prompted Partridge or other Missouri leaders to ask JS and the presidency how they were to govern the increasing population. According to Parley P. Pratt, in summer 1833, “immigration had poured into the County of Jackson in great numbers; and the Church in that county now numbered upwards of one thousand souls.” Corrill later wrote that instructions on how church members should prepare to resettle in Zion were disregarded in the rush to gather: “The rich were afraid to send up their money to purchase lands, and the poor crowded up in numbers, without having any places provided, contrary to the advice of the bishop and others.” Anticipating church members’ continued immigration to Missouri, church leaders stated in the postscript of the letter featured here that “when Zion is once properly regulated there will be a Bishop to each square,” referring to the squares on the plat map and in the explanation of the city of Zion plat, which accompanied this letter. (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; Minute Book 2, 3 Dec. 1832; Pratt, Autobiography, 99; Corrill, Brief History, 19; Plat of the City of Zion, ca. Early June–25 June 1833.)  

    Pratt, Parley P. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Embracing His Life, Ministry and Travels, with Extracts, in Prose and Verse, from His Miscellaneous Writings. Edited by Parley P. Pratt Jr. New York: Russell Brothers, 1874.

  13. 11

    Christian Whitmer was ordained a high priest by Simeon Carter on 21 August 1833, though it is unclear whether his ordination was connected to the instruction here. (Minute Book 2, 21 Aug. 1833.)  

  14. 12

    In the aftermath of the violence that church members faced in July and November 1833, it is unclear if these new three-man bishoprics were ever formally organized. However, on 11 September 1833, when a church council met in Jackson County and appointed “High Priests to wach over the several Branches,” four of the eight men designated here as new bishops and counselors—Parley P. Pratt, Newel Knight, John Corrill, and Daniel Stanton—were each called to preside over one of the ten branches. These appointments may have acted as an extension or alteration of the direction here to appoint them as counselors in bishoprics. Whether the ten Missouri branches were ever formally organized is unknown. (Minute Book 2, 11 Sept. 1833; see also Letter from William W. Phelps, 6–7 Nov. 1833; Letter from William W. Phelps, 14 Nov. 1833; and Letter from Edward Partridge, between 14 and 19 Nov. 1833.)  

  15. 13

    See Minutes, 4 June 1833; and Revelation, 4 June 1833 [D&C 96:6–9].  

  16. 14

    A “power of Agency,” or power of attorney, established a consensual relationship wherein one party granted another party authority to act on its behalf to deal with a third entity. A power of agency may have facilitated and created flexibility in making economic and land transactions between the two branches of the United Firm. (See De Pillis, “Development of Mormon Communitarianism,” 221.)  

    De Pillis, Mario S. “The Development of Mormon Communitarianism, 1826–1846.” PhD diss., Yale University, 1960.

  17. 15

    This direction reiterates JS’s previous counsel to Edward Partridge to refine the process of making deeds of consecration and land stewardship in Jackson County. (Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  

  18. 16

    Gideon Carter wrote to Missouri church leaders, stating, “The work is prospering in all the regions round about, especially east, much addition is made to several churches, and new ones are springing up. Brother Jared has been to Michigan and raised up three small ones.” Sylvester Smith likewise wrote: “It is about six weeks since I left Kirtland to take a mission to the east; since which time I have visited twelve churches, and passed three others, in coming to this place: all of which are nearly in the course from Kirtland to Chenango, New York: so grows, and so spreads the mighty work of the Lord. Some of said churches are composed of nearly one hundred members; and, in nearly all of them, the work is still going on. With some few exceptions, union prevails among them.” (“Progress of the Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 108.)  

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

  19. 17

    Nancy Gallaher Rigdon was actually seventy-four years old at this time. A former longstanding resident of the Pittsburgh area, she was born in 1759. A later history of Luke Johnson states that Johnson, while on a proselytizing mission with Sidney Rigdon, baptized Rigdon’s mother; Johnson stated, “We journeyed to Pittsburgh to the place where Sidney was born & raised, here we preached the Gospel to his relatives & I baptized his mother & his oldest brother & several others & organized a branch.” (“History of Luke Johnson,” [2], Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861, CHL.)  

    Historian’s Office. Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861. CHL. CR 100 93.

  20. 18

    Plat of the City of Zion, ca. Early June–25 June 1833; Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.  

  21. 19

    According to a JS revelation, Jackson County was the primary gathering place for members of the church at this time, while Kirtland was designated as a temporary gathering place, known as the stake of Zion. (See Revelation, 4 June 1833 [D&C 96:1].)  

  22. 20

    See Jeremiah 18:16; and Lamentations 2:15.  

  23. 21

    See Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:66–67].  

  24. 22

    It was standard legal practice at the time for both the husband and the wife to sign a deed transaction. For example, when JS and Emma Smith bought property from her parents, Isaac and Elizabeth Hale, both Isaac and Elizabeth signed the transaction in the presence of a local justice of the peace. Written on the bottom of the deed is testimony that Elizabeth Hale, “being of proper age & being examined Apart from her Said husband,” signed the deed “of her own free will & not from any fear” of her husband. (Deed from Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Hale, 25 Aug. 1830.)  

  25. 23

    Possibly Clarissa Nye Bachelor Blaisdell. (See Vital Records of Salisbury, Massachusetts, 20, 266; 1840 U.S. Census, Salisbury, Essex Co., MA, 297; Hyde, Journal, 30 July 1832; and Samuel Smith, Diary, 30 July 1832.)  

    Vital Records of Salisbury, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849. Topsfield, MA: Topsfield Historical Society, 1915.

    Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.

    Hyde, William. Journal, ca. 1868–1873. CHL. MS 1549.

    Smith, Samuel. Diary, Feb. 1832–May 1833. CHL. MS 4213.

  26. 24

    The Evening and the Morning Star.  

  27. 25

    Probably Joshua Bailey, father of Mary Bailey, who later married JS’s brother Samuel Smith. (See Geauga Co., OH, Probate Court, Marriage Records, 1806–1920, vol. C, p. 60, 13 Aug. 1834, microfilm 873,461, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  28. 26

    Located in the south-central region of the state, Andover was about fifty-five miles southeast of Benson, Vermont.  

  29. 27

    Elsewhere the presidency had written that the “pattern” for the city of Zion and its first temple had been “given us of the Lord.” Church leaders in Missouri did have questions about the explanations sent to them, and on 13 August 1833, Bishop Edward Partridge wrote from Jackson County seeking clarification. (Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833; Letter to Vienna Jaques, 4 Sept. 1833.)  

  30. 28

    Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831, in Book of Commandments 40:10 [D&C 38:11].  

  31. 29

    Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831, in Book of Commandments 40:14 [D&C 38:16].  

  32. 30

    Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831, in Book of Commandments 40:21 [D&C 38:26].  

  33. 31

    Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Book of Commandments 44:12 [D&C 42:11]. This and the three previous locators refer to passages in the Book of Commandments, a compilation of previously dictated revelations. Either the presidency was correcting page proofs, or they were noticing errors in the final printed signatures. The printing establishment in Missouri was destroyed and publication halted before William W. Phelps received these corrections, but in any case the printing of the signatures containing these revelations had been completed. In the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, only two of these changes were made: those to chapter 40, verse 14, line 5, and to chapter 44, verse 12, line 6. The other two changes listed here were made in the 1876 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, perhaps as a result of a later study of this letter. (See Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 12:3, 4, 5, 1835 ed. [D&C 38:11, 16, 26]; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 13:4, 1835 ed. [D&C 42:11]; “‘Regulating’ the Mormonites,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 9 Aug. 1833, [3]; and Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833.)  

    Daily Missouri Republican. St. Louis. 1822–1869.

  34. 32

    Whether these inquiries were written before or after Bishop Edward Partridge received JS’s 2 May 1833 letter is unknown. The issues addressed here, however, seem to deal with different aspects of consecration than what is found in the May letter, which offers counsel on how to legally prevent those leaving the church from reclaiming property they had formerly consecrated for the use of the poor. (Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  

  35. 33

    Seven months earlier, JS wrote, “It is conterary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not the inherttenc [inheritance] by consecration agree[a]ble to his law . . . should have there names enrolled with the people of God, neithe[r] is the[ir] geneology to be kept or to be had where it may be found on any of the reccords or hystory of the church there names shall not be found neithe[r] the names of ther fathers or the names of the[ir] children writen in the book of the Law of God saith the Lord of hosts.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832.)  

  36. 34

    See Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:78–80].  

  37. 35

    This is a possible reference to the debt Newel K. Whitney acquired the previous fall when procuring goods in New York for his store, which operated under the governance of the United Firm. (See Minutes, ca. 1 May 1832; Letter to Emma Smith, 13 Oct. 1832; and Frederick G. Williams, Kirtland, OH, to “Dear Brethren,” 10 Oct. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 56–60.)  

  38. 36

    In 1831 Sidney Gilbert was appointed church agent and directed to open a store in Jackson County for the church. Gilbert’s store, an asset of the United Firm, was expected to generate profits for land purchases and for the bishop’s storehouse that could then be used to assist the poor and to finance other projects, including printing church publications under the direction of the Literary Firm. Although this goal would have been difficult to achieve in the best of circumstances, in January 1833 Gilbert was rebuked for having “fearfulness that God will not provide for his saints in their last days and these fears lead him on to covitousness, This ought not so to be, but let him do just as the Lord has commanded him and then the Lord will open his coffers, and his wants will be liberally supplied.” Consistent with that earlier counsel, here the presidency denied Gilbert’s request for financial aid and reminded him that it was his duty, not theirs, to find a way to restock the store and thereby generate funds needed for church operations in Jackson County. (Revelation, 8 June 1831 [D&C 53:4]; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:8–10]; Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 14 Jan. 1833.)  

  39. 37

    JS had previously expressed his displeasure that letters sent to Missouri addressed to one leader or generically to the “brethren” were not freely circulated among the other leaders or the entire congregation when applicable. A similar sentiment is reiterated by JS in the postscript to this letter. (Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  

  40. 38

    This letter has not been located.  

  41. 39

    Bishops were charged with managing the consecrations and inheritances of church members and looking after the poor among them. Just days after a revelation called Edward Partridge as bishop, another revelation known as “the Law” directed that the residue of members’ consecrations “shall be kept in my store house to administer to the poor and needy as shall be appointed by . . . the Bishop.” Another revelation likewise told Kirtland bishop Newel K. Whitney of his responsibility to “travel round about and among all the churches searching after the poor to administer to ther wants by humbling the rich and the proud.” (Revelation, 4 Feb. 1831 [D&C 41:9]; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:34]; Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:112].)  

  42. 40

    The “New translation” refers to JS’s inspired revision of the Bible. On 2 February 1833, Frederick G. Williams recorded that JS had finished his revision work on the New Testament and that it was “sealed up no more to be broken till it goes to Zion.” In early July, a letter from the presidency to Missouri leaders indicated that JS had completed work on the Old Testament. In April, JS clarified that “it is not the will of the Lord to print any of the new translation in the Star but when it is published it will all go to the world together in a volume by itself.” The comment here, however, suggests that publication plans were changing. Indeed, six weeks later, the presidency wrote, “You will see by these revelations that we have to print the new translation here at kirtland for which we will prepare as soon as possible.” In that letter, the presidency clarified that the Church of Christ would publish two editions of the scriptures simultaneously, one in Kirtland and one in Jackson County. (Minute Book 1, 2 Feb. 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 2 July 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 21 Apr. 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 6 Aug. 1833; see also Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–B [D&C 94:10].)  

  43. 41

    See Revelation, 15 Mar. 1833 [D&C 92].  

  44. 42

    While it is not clear exactly to whom this warning is directed, it may have been meant for Sidney Gilbert, who, as noted earlier in this letter, seems to have been unable to earn an adequate profit in the store he ran for the United Firm in Jackson County. The store’s unprofitability or Gilbert’s use of proceeds from the mercantile establishment for unauthorized purposes would have compromised plans to publish the scriptures.  

  45. 43

    The phrase “Sons of perdition” is also found in the written account of a JS and Sidney Rigdon vision dated February 1832. The vision outlined three levels of heavenly glory and stated that the “sons of perdition” were excluded from any of those three levels. (Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76:43–44].)  

  46. 44

    “Brethren Hulits” refers to Charles and Sylvester Hulet. Sylvester Hulet was again reprimanded the following year because “the Hulet branch believed that they recieved the word of the Lord by the gift of tongues and would not proceed to their temporal business without recieving the word of the Lord. Silvester would speak and Sally Crandle interpreted. Said that they would not recieve the teachings of ordained members even br. Joseph Smith jr. unless it agreed with their gifts.” (Minute Book 2, 6–7 Aug. 1834; see also Minute Book 2, 31 July–1 Aug. 1834.)  

  47. 45

    See 1 Timothy 4:1.  

  48. 46

    The bishopric’s decision is not recorded in the Missouri minute book (Minute Book 2).  

  49. 47

    Although this may be an accurate number for Kirtland proper, there were also many members in nearby settlements. In contrast, approximately 1,200 church members resided in Missouri at this time. (“The Elders Stationed in Zion to the Churches Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 110–111.)  

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

  50. 48

    Work on the Kirtland temple commenced on 7 June 1833, less than three weeks earlier. (Hyrum Smith, Diary, 7 June 1833, [15]; see also Minutes, 6 June 1833.)  

    Smith, Hyrum. Diary, Nov. 1832–Apr. 1833. Hyrum Smith, Papers, 1832–ca. 1911. BYU.

  51. 49

    For earlier references to the “buffetings of Satan,” see Revelation, 1 Mar. 1832 [D&C 78:12]; and Revelation, 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82:21]. What specifically prompted disciplinary action against Peterson is unknown. In August 1831, Peterson was chastened and was apparently stripped of his authority as an elder. He then promptly confessed his sins at a special church conference on 4 August, at which time he was forgiven. In October the next year, another disciplinary matter concerning Peterson was discussed before a conference of high priests and elders, which decided that Lyman Wight should reordain Peterson as an elder. (Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:60]; Minutes, 4 Aug. 1831; Minute Book 2, 2 Oct. 1832.)  

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    Signatures of JS, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, Martin Harris, and Orson Hyde.  

  53. 50

    Martin Harris had been imprisoned in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, and was in the Springville area of Susquehanna County as late as May 1833. Consequently, he had been in Kirtland only a short time when he signed this letter. According to a letter from his brother Emer Harris, Martin had been incarcerated at Montrose, Susquehanna County, for a few days in January 1833 on “a fals charge of slander” until “we got Bail to answer to Cort the Last Monday in Apriel.” The court postponed Harris’s trial date from 30 April to 3 September; though he was not present at the later trial, the court judged in his favor. Apparently neither JS nor any other church member in Kirtland was aware of Harris’s whereabouts or imprisonment. In late March, Sylvester Smith and Harpin Riggs were tasked to “Journey eastward” to find Martin Harris “and make known to him what the Lord is doing in this place.” Emer and Martin were still in the Springville area on 7 May 1833, though they probably left for Kirtland shortly thereafter. Why Martin Harris signed this letter along with the three men who constituted the presidency of the high priesthood is not known. He may have signed it because it discussed matters pertaining to the United Firm, of which Harris was a member, and the publishing activities of the Literary Firm, in which he had an interest. (Emer Harris, Springville, PA, to “Dearly Beloved Brethern,” Brownhelm, OH, 7 May 1833, Harris Family Papers, BYU; Minutes, 23 Mar. 1833–B; Nelson and Harper, “Imprisonment of Martin Harris in 1833,” 113–119.)  

    Harris Family Papers, 1818–1969. BYU.

    Nelson, Mark B., and Steven C. Harper. “The Imprisonment of Martin Harris in 1833.” BYU Studies 45, no. 4 (2006): 113–119.

  54. 51

    On 6 June 1833, a conference of high priests nominated and voted to accept Orson Hyde as “a Clerk for the presidency of the High priesthood.” This appears to be the first letter to which Hyde’s name is attached as clerk for the presidency and likely the first time that church leaders in Missouri would have learned of Hyde’s new position. (Minutes, 6 June 1833.)  

  55. 52

    In January 1833, JS urged Phelps, as the editor of The Evening and the Morning Star, to include more history to help make the Star “more interesting” and warned, “If you do not render it more interesting than at present it will fall.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 11 Jan. 1833.)  

  56. 53

    TEXT: “[Hole in paper]lation”.  

  57. 54

    The presidency instructed that after the plat of Zion sent with this letter was properly “laid off and supplied,” church members were to then “lay off another in the same way and so fill up the world in these last days and let every man live in the City for this is the City of Zion.” Each additional settlement was to have a bishop to oversee the consecration-based economy. (Plat of the City of Zion, ca. Early June–25 June 1833.)  

  58. 55

    See Acts 4:32; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 61 [2 Nephi 1:21]; and Old Testament Revision 1, p. 16 [Moses 7:18].  

  59. 56

    The “olive leaf” refers to a revelation dictated six months earlier and sent to Jackson County church leaders in January 1833. Two letters of rebuke were also sent with the revelation. On 2 May 1833, JS replied to a previous letter of complaint from Partridge, “begging your pardon for not having addressed you, more particularly in letters which I have written to Zion, for I have always felt, as though a letter written to any one in authority in Zion, would be the property of all, & it mattered but little to whom it was directed.” A subsequent letter from Partridge, the one referred to here (and no longer extant), apparently pointed out specific letters from the presidency to church leaders in Jackson County that had not been shown to him. (Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:1–126]; Letter to William W. Phelps, 11 Jan. 1833; Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 14 Jan. 1833; Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.)  

  60. 57

    TEXT: “thing[hole in paper]”.  

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    Postage in unidentified handwriting.  

  62. 58

    Likely “25”.  

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    Recipient information in handwriting of Frederick G. Williams.