Letter to Edward Partridge and the Church, circa 22 March 1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Continued to the .
We continue to offer further reflections to and to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints whom we love with a fervent love and do always bear them in mind in all our prayers to the throne of God. It still seems to bear heavy heavily in our minds that the church would do will well to secure to themselves the contract of the Land which is proposed to them by Mr. and to cultivate the friendly feelings of that gentleman in as much shall as he shall prove himself to be a man of honor humanity and a friend to humanity. We really think that his letter breaths that kind of spirit if we can judge correctly. And Isaac Van Allen Esqr. the attorney Genl. of that peradventure such men may be wrought upon by the providence of God to do good unto his people. also. We suggest the ideah of praying fervantly for all men who manifest any degree of sympathy for the suffering children of God. We think that peradventure the survayor of the may be of grate benefeit to the church if it be the will of God to this end if ritiousness shall should be manifested as the girdle of our loins. It seems to be deeply impresed upon our minds that the saints ought to lay hold of evry door shall that shall seem to be opened for unto them to obtain foot hold on the Earth and be a make making all the preparation<​s​> that is within the power of posibles for the terible storms that are now gethering in the heavens with darkness and gloominess and thick darkness as spoken of by the prophets which cannot be now of a long time lingering for there seems to be a whispering that the angels of heaven who have been intrusted with the council counsel of these matters for the last days have taken council counsel together: and among the rest of the general affairs that have to be transacted in their honorable council counsel they have taken cognisance of the testimony of those who were murdered at and also those who were martered with . and else where and have passed some [p. 1] decisions peradventure in favour of the saints and those who were called to suffer without cause these decisions will be made known in there time and they will take into concideration all those things that offend. We have a fervant desire that in your general that evry thing should be discused with a grate deal of care and propriety lest you grieve the Holy Spirit which shall be poured out at all times upon your heads when you are exercised with those principals of ritiousness that are agreeable to the mind of God and are properly affected one toward an other and are carefull by all means to remember those <​who​> are in bondage and in heaviness and in deep affliction for your sakes and if there are any among you who aspire after their own aggrandisement and seek their own oppulance while thier brethren are groaning in poverty and are under sore trials and temptations they can not be benefeited by the intersesion of the Holy Spirit <​which​> maketh intersesion for us daily day and knight with groning that cannot be uttered. We ought at all times to be verry carefull that such high mindedness never have place in our hearts but condesend to men of low estate and with all long suffering bear the infermities of the weak. Behold there are ma[n]y called but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world and aspire to the honors of men that they do not learn this one lesson that the rights of are inseperably connected with the powers of heaven and that the powers of heaven connot be controled nor handled only upon the principals of rightiousness. That they may be confered upon us it is true but when we undertake to cover our sins or to gratify our pride or vain ambition or to exercise controle or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men in any degree of unritiousness behold the heavens withdraw themselves the spirit of the Lord is grieved [p. 2] and when it has withdrawn Amen to the or the authority of that man behold ere he is aware he is left unto himself to kicken against the pricks to persecute the saints and to fight against God. We have learned by sad experiance that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men as soon as they get a little authority as they suppose they will imediately begin to [e]xercise unritious dominion. hence ma[n]y [are] called but few are ch[osen.] [No power or in]f[luence] can or ought to be maintained by <​[vi]rt[ue]​> of the Priesthood only by persuasion by long suffering by gentleness and meekness and by love unfaigned by kindness by pure knowledge which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy and without guile reproving be-times with sharpness when moved upon by the Holy Ghost and then showing forth afterwords an increas of love toward him whom thou hast reproved lest he esteem the[e] to be his enimy that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death thy bowells also being full of charity towards all men and to the household of faith and virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presants of God, and the doctrins of the Priesthood shall destill upon thy soul as the dews from heaven the Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion and thy septer an unchanging septer of ritiousness and truth and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion and without compulsory means it shall flow [un]to thee for ever and ever. The ends of the Earth shall [enq]uire after thy na[me] and fools shall have thee in deri[s]ion and hell shall rage against thee while the pure in heart and the wise and the noble and the virtious shall seek council counsel and authority and blessings constantly from under thy hand and thy people shall never be turned against thee by the testimony of traitors and although their influenance shall cast the[e] into trouble and into bars and walls thou shalt be had in honor and but for a small moment and thy voice shall be more terable in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce Lion because of thy ritiousness and [p. 3] thy God shall stand by the[e] for ever and ever. If thou art called to pass through tribulation. If thou art in perals among fals brethren. If thou art in perals amongst robbers. If thou art in perals by land or by sea. If thou art accused with all maner of fals accusations. If thine enimies fall upon the[e]. If they tear the[e] from the society of thy and and brethren and Sisters. And if with a drawn sword thine enimies tear the[e] from the bosome of thy and of thine offsprings and thine El[d]er although but six years of age shall cling to thy garments and shall say my Father my Father why cant you stay with us Oh my Father what are the men going to do with you. And if then he shall be thrust from the[e] by the sword and thou be draged to prison and thine enimies prowl around the[e] like wolves for blood of the Lamb and if thou shouldest be cast into the pit or into the hands of murderers and the sentantce of death pased upon thee. If thou be cast into the deep. If the billowing surge conspire against thee. If fierce wind become thine enimy. If the heavens gether blackness and all the elements combine to hedge up the way and above all if the verry jaws of hell shall gap open her mouth wide after <​thee​> know thou my son that all these things shall give thee experiance and shall be for thy good. The son of man hath desended below them all art thou greater than he? Therefore hold on thy way and the shall remain with thee for their bounds are set they cannot pass. Thee Thy days are known and thy years shall not be numbered less. therefore fear not what man can do for God shall be with you for ever and ever. Now brethren I would suggest for the concidereration of the of its being carefully and wisely understood by the <​counsel​> or conferences that our brethren scattered abroad who understand the spirit of the that [p. 4] they fall into the places of refuge and saf[e]ty that God shall open unto them betwean and . Those from the East and from the West and from far country countries let them fall in some where betwean those two boundries in the most safe and quiet places they can find and let this be the presant understanding untill God shall open a more effectual door for us for further conciderations. And again we further suggest for the concideration of the counsel that there be no organizations of large bodies upon common stock principals in property or of large companies of firms untill the Lord shall signify it in a proper manner as it opens such a dreafull [dreadful] field for the averishous and the indolent and corrupt hearted to pray upon the inocent and virtious and honist We have reason to believe that many things were introduced among the saints before God had signified the times and not withstanding the principles and plans may have <​been​> good yet aspiring men or in other word men <​who​> had not the substance of Godliness about them perhaps undertook to handle edg tools children you know are fond of tools while they are not yet able to use them. Time and experiance however is the only safe remidy against such evils there are many teachers but perhaps not many Fathers. There are times comming when God will signify many things which are expediant for the well being of the saints but the times have not yet come but will come as fast as there can be found place and reseptions for them. And again we would suggest for your concideration the propriety of all the saints gethering up the <​a​> knowledge of <​all​> the facts and suffering and abuses put upon them by the people of this and also of all the property and amount of damages which they have sustained both of character and personal <​Injuries as will as real property​> property and also the names of all persons that have had a hand in their oppressions as far as they can get hold of them and find them out. and perhaps a committe can be appointed to find out these [p. 5] things and to take statements and affidafets and also to gether up the libilous publications that are afloat and all that are in the magazines and in the Insiclopedias [encyclopedias] and all the libillious history histories that are published and that <​are​> writing and by whom and present the whole concatination of diabolical rascality and nefarious and murderous impositions that have been practised upon this people that we may not only publish to all the world but present them to the heads of the government in all there dark and hellish hugh [hue?] as the last effort which is injoined on us by our heavenly. Father before we can fully and completely claim that promise which shall call him forth from his hiding place and also the whole nation may be left without excuse before he can send forth the power of his mighty arm. It is an imperious duty that we owe to God to angels with whom we shall be brought to stand and also to ourselves to our wives and our children who have been made to bow down with grief sorrow and care under the most damning hand of murder tyranny and oppression supported and urged on and upheld by the influance of that spirit which hath so strongly rivited the creeds of the fathers who have inherited lies upon the harts of the children and filled the world with confusion and has been growing stronger and stronger and is now the verry mein main spring of all corruption and the whole Earth grones under the wait of its iniquity. it is an iron yoke it is a strong band they are the verry hand cuffs and chains and shackles and fetters of hell Therefore it is an imperious duty that we owe not only to our own wives and children but to the widdows and fatherless whose husbands and fathers have been murdered under its iron hand which dark and blackning deeds are enough to make hell itself shudder and to stand aghast and pale and the hands of the verry devil tremble and palsy and also it is an imper [p. 6]ious duty that we owe to all the rising generation and to all the pure in heart which there <​are​> many yet on the Earth among all sects parties and de[no]minations who are blinded by the suttle craftiness of men whereby they ly in wait to decieve and only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it therefore that we should waist and ware out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness wherein we know them and they are truly manifest from heaven. These should then be attended to with greate earnestness let no man counts them as small things for there is much which lieth in futurity pertaining to the saint which depends upon these things you know brethren that a verry large ship is benefeited verry much by a verry small helm in the time of a storm by being kept work ways with the wind and the waves Therefore dearly beloved beloved brethren let us cheerfully do all things <​that​> lieth in our power and then may we stand still with the utmost asurance to see the salvation of God and for his arm to be revealed. And again I would further suggest the impropriety of the organization of bands or companies by covenant or oaths by penalties <​or secrecy secrecies​> but let the time past of our experiance and sufferings by the wickedness of suffise and let our covenant be that of the as is contained in the Holy writ and the things that God hath revealed unto us. Pure friendship always becomes weakened the verry moment you undertake to make it stronger by penal oaths and secrecy. Your humble servant or servants intend from henceforth to disapprobate every thing that is not in accordance with the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and is not of a bold and frank and an upright nature they will not hold their peace as in times past when they see iniquity begining to rear its head for fear of traitors or the concequences that shall flow <​follow​> by reproving those who creap in unawares that they may get something to distroy the flock. We believe that the experiance of the saints in times past has been sufficient that they will from [p. 7] henceforth be always ready to obey the truth without having mens persons in admiration because of advantage it is expediant that we should be aware of such things. And we should ought always to be aware of those prejudices which sometimes so strangly presented themselves and are so congenial to human nature against our nieghbors friends and brethren of the world who choose to differ with us in opinion and in matters of faith. Our religeon is betwean us and our God. Their religeon is betwean them and their God. There is a ty from God that should be exercised towards those of our faith who walk uprightly which is peculiar to itself but it is without prejudice but gives scope to the mind which inables us to conduct ourselves with grater liberality to-wards all others that are not of our faith than what they exercise towards one another these principals approximate nearer to the mind of God because it is like God or God like. There is a principal also which we are bound to be exercised with that is in common with all men such as governments and laws and regulations in the civil conserns of life This principal guarentees to all parties sects and denominations and classes of religeon equal coherant and indefeasible rights they are things that pertain to this life therefore all are alike interested they make our responcibilities one towards another in matters of corruptible things while the former principals do not distroy the latter but bind us stronger and make our responcibilities not only one to another but unto God also hence we say that the constitution of the is a glorious standard it is founded in the wisdom of God. it is a heavenly banner it is to all those who are privilaged with the sweats of its liberty like the cooling shades and refreshing watters of a greate rock in a thirsty and a weary land it is like a greate [p. 8] tree under whose branches men from evry clime can be shielded from the burning rays of an inclemant sun. We bretheren are deprived of the protection of this glorious principal by the cruelty of the cruel by those who only look for the time being for pasterage like the beasts of the field only to fill themselves and forget that the mormons as well as the presbitarians and those of evry other class and description have equal rights to partake of the fruite of the greate tree of our national liberty but notwithstanding we see what we see and we feel what we feel and know what we know. Yet that fruite is no less presious and delisious to our taist we cannot be weaned from the milk neither can we be drawn from the breast neither will we deny our religeon because of the hand of oppresion but we will hold on untill death we say say that God is true that the constitution of the is true that the bible is true that the book of mormon is true <​that​> the book <​of​> covenants are true that Christ is true that the ministering angels sent forth from God are true and that we know that we have an house not made with hands eternal in the heavens whose building builder and maker is God a consolation which our oppressors cannot feel when fortune or fate shall lay its iron hand on them as it has on us. Now we ask what is man? Remember brethren that time <​and​> chance hapeneth to all men. We shall continue our reflections in our next. We subscribe ourselves your sinsear [sincere] friends and brethe[r]en in the bonds of the everlasting gospel prisoners of Jesus Christ for the sake of the gospel and the saints. We pronounce the blessing of heaven upon the heads of the saints who seek to serve God with an undevided hearts in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.
Joseph Smith Jr
. [p. 9]
Mrs.
Ill. [p. [10]]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    For more information on Galland’s offer to sell property in Iowa Territory and Commerce, Illinois, to the church, see Historical Introduction to Letter from Edward Partridge, 5 Mar. 1839; and Historical Introduction to Letter to the Church and Edward Partridge, 20 Mar. 1839.  

  2. 2

    In his letter dated 26 February 1839, Galland reported that Van Allen (1816–1839) had recently stated he would endeavor to protect the Latter-day Saints “from insult or violence.” (Isaac Galland, Commerce, IL, to David Rogers, [Quincy, IL], 26 Feb. 1839, in JS Letterbook 2, p. 2.)  

  3. 3

    Albert Ellis (1800–1885) was appointed the first surveyor general of Iowa Territory. In late February or early March 1839, Ellis met with church leaders in Quincy and offered to identify sites in Iowa Territory where the Latter-day Saints could settle. Further, Ellis stated that after the Saints selected a site, he would submit a petition to the United States Congress, “requesting that the entire tract be given to” the Saints. The minutes for the undated meeting with Ellis were included in the packet of documents Rogers delivered to the prisoners on 19 March 1839. (Wisconsin Bureau of Vital Statistics, Registration of Deaths, ca. 1862–1907, vol. I, p. 64, microfilm 1,311,649, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Report and Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 207, 208; Minutes, no date, in JS Letterbook 2, p. 48.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Report and Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, for the Years 1873, 1874, 1875 and 1876. Vol. 7. Madison, WI: E. B. Bolens, 1876.

  4. 4

    JS inserted “to this end” in the rough draft.  

  5. 5

    See Isaiah 11:5.  

  6. 6

    The rough draft had “the saints,” which JS canceled; he then inserted “unto them.”  

  7. 7

    See Zephaniah 1:15.  

  8. 8

    JS inserted “of heaven” in the rough draft.  

  9. 9

    JS inserted “else where and” in the rough draft.  

  10. 10

    JS inserted “the saints and” in the rough draft.  

  11. 11

    See Ephesians 4:30.  

  12. 12

    See Isaiah 32:15; Ezekiel 39:29; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 164 [Mosiah 4:20].  

  13. 13

    See Romans 8:26–27.  

  14. 14

    See Matthew 20:16; 22:14.  

  15. 15

    See Psalm 32:1; Romans 4:7; and 1 Peter 4:8.  

  16. 16

    See Acts 26:14.  

  17. 17

    TEXT: “[Page torn]xercise”.  

  18. 18

    TEXT: “ma[page torn]y”.  

  19. 19

    TEXT: “[Page torn]”. Here and in the rest of the document, missing text was supplied from the rough draft of this letter. (JS et al., [Liberty, MO], to Edward Partridge and the Church, Quincy, IL, [ca. 22 Mar. 1839], Revelations Collection, CHL.)  

    Revelations Collection, 1831–ca. 1844, 1847, 1861, ca. 1876. CHL. MS 4583.

  20. 20

    TEXT: “ch[page torn]”. See Matthew 20:16; 22:14.  

  21. 21

    TEXT: “[Page torn]f[page torn]”.  

  22. 22

    TEXT: “[Page torn]rt[page torn]”.  

  23. 23

    See 2 Corinthians 6:6; and 1 Peter 1:22.  

  24. 24

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 315 [Alma 32:28].  

  25. 25

    See Galatians 6:10.  

  26. 26

    See Hebrews 1:8.  

  27. 27

    See Daniel 4:34; 7:14.  

  28. 28

    TEXT: “[Page torn]to”.  

  29. 29

    See Isaiah 52:10; Psalm 65:5; Job 37:3; Acts 13:47; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 524 [Mormon 3:18].  

  30. 30

    TEXT: “[Page torn]uire”.  

  31. 31

    TEXT: “na[page torn]”.  

  32. 32

    TEXT: “deri[page torn]ion”.  

  33. 33

    See Matthew 5:8; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 128 [Jacob 3:2]; and Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–A [D&C 97:21].  

  34. 34

    For more information on the prosecution witnesses at the November 1838 hearing, see Introduction to Part 3: 4 Nov. 1838–16 Apr. 1839.  

  35. 35

    See 2 Corinthians 11:26.  

  36. 36

    Lucy Mack Smith later recalled that when JS was arrested, the Smith family feared he would be shot. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 16, [2].)  

  37. 37

    The rough draft had “one,” which JS canceled; he then inserted “son.”  

  38. 38

    Joseph Smith III recalled that when JS “was brought to the house by an armed guard I ran out of the gate to greet him, but was roughly pushed away from his side by a sword in the hand of the guard and not allowed to go near him. My mother, also, was not permitted to approach him and had to receive his farewell by word of lip only.” (“The Memoirs of President Joseph Smith,” Saints’ Herald, 6 Nov. 1934, 1414.)  

    Saints’ Herald. Independence, MO. 1860–.

  39. 39

    See Genesis 37:20, 22, 24; 2 Samuel 18:17; Revelation 20:3; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 557 [Ether 9:29].  

  40. 40

    For more information on the 1 November 1838 court-martial, in which JS and other church leaders were sentenced to death, see Introduction to Part 3: 4 Nov. 1838–16 Apr. 1839.  

  41. 41

    See Jonah 2:3.  

  42. 42

    JS inserted “and shall be for thy good” in the rough draft.  

  43. 43

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 582 [Moroni 8:16].  

  44. 44

    See Genesis 48:21.  

  45. 45

    See Matthew 9:36; John 11:52; and James 1:1.  

  46. 46

    On 16 January 1839, the First Presidency wrote in a letter to senior apostles Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young that “the gathering of necessity [had] stopt” but that, pending further developments, the Latter-day Saints could consider gathering to “Kirtland, and the regions round about.” (Letter to Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young, 16 Jan. 1839.)  

  47. 47

    JS inserted “in property” in the rough draft.  

  48. 48

    In 1831 JS dictated a revelation that outlined the “Laws of the Church of Christ” for consecrating, or donating, property to the church to assist the poor. In the 1830s, church leaders used several strategies to administer these laws, with varying degrees of success. During summer 1838, the church organized multiple firms designed to combine the resources and organize the labor of the burgeoning Latter-day Saint population in Missouri. According to church member Luman Shurtliff, he “was attached with all [he] possessed” to “a cooperative Firm” led by Isaac Morley, a counselor in the Far West bishopric, and the firms were divided into companies of ten men. Property was apparently leased to the church rather than transferred outright. The firms were designed to facilitate agricultural production; coordinate the construction of homes, a temple, and other church buildings; and stimulate manufacturing to help the church achieve economic independence. Laborers were paid one dollar per day and were given access to the church’s storehouses for provisions. Although JS taught that participation in the firms was voluntary, dissenters John Corrill and Reed Peck later stated that Sampson Avard and other Danites resorted to coercion to enforce participation. (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:1–72]; JS, Journal, 27 July and 20–21 Aug. 1838; Shurtliff, Autobiography, 119; Rockwood, Journal, 6 Oct. 1838; Corrill, Brief History, 45–46; Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 34–35, 53–55, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA; see also Historical Introduction to Revelation, 8 July 1838–C [D&C 119].)  

    Shurtliff, Luman Andros. Autobiography and Journal, ca. 1852–1876. CHL. MS 1605.

    Rockwood, Albert Perry. Journal Entries, Oct. 1838–Jan. 1839. Photocopy. CHL. MS 2606.

    Peck, Reed. Letter, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

  49. 49

    JS inserted “and virtious and honest” in the rough draft.  

  50. 50

    See 2 Timothy 3:5.  

  51. 51

    See 1 Corinthians 4:15.  

  52. 52

    JS inserted “and hellish” in the rough draft.  

  53. 53

    See Romans 1:20; and Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:82].  

  54. 54

    See Psalm 89:13. These instructions to document and publicize the Saints’ persecutions reiterated directions in an 1833 revelation to petition Missouri judges, the Missouri governor, and the president of the United States for redress following the 1833 expulsion of Latter-day Saints from Jackson County, Missouri. The revelation promised that if these officials denied the Saints’ petitions, “the Lord [would] arise and come forth out of his hiding place & in his fury vex the nation.” In late 1833 and in 1834, church members petitioned the aforementioned officials, as well as the American people in general, but the Saints received no relief. (Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:81–92]; Historical Introduction to Letter, 30 Oct. 1833; Jennings, “Importuning for Redress,” 15–29; see also Letter to Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young, 16 Jan. 1839.)  

    Jennings, Warren A. “Importuning for Redress.” Bulletin 27, no. 1 (Oct. 1970): 15–29. Published by the Missouri Historical Society.

  55. 55

    On 22 March 1839, JS wrote in a letter to Galland that the Latter-day Saints opposed “creeds or superstitious notions of men,” presumably referring to official statements of belief that various religious groups had adopted throughout the history of Christianity. JS explained that such creeds violated “the first and fundamental principle of our holy religion,” and he asserted that the Saints had the “right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation or without being circumscribed.” (Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.)  

  56. 56

    See Jeremiah 16:19.  

  57. 57

    See Malachi 4:6.  

  58. 58

    See Romans 8:21–22; and Works of the Rev. Isaac Watts, 3:208.  

    The Works of the Rev. Isaac Watts. D. D. 9 vols. Leeds, England: William Baynes, 1812.

  59. 59

    See Deuteronomy 28:48; and Jeremiah 28:13–14.  

  60. 60

    See Isaiah 28:22.  

  61. 61

    See Ephesians 4:14.  

  62. 62

    See 1 Corinthians 4:5.  

  63. 63

    See Exodus 14:13.  

  64. 64

    See Isaiah 53:1.  

  65. 65

    In June 1838, the Society of the Daughter of Zion (later known as the Danite band) was organized in Caldwell County in response to internal and external opposition to the church. Former Danite leader Sampson Avard claimed in his testimony before Judge Austin A. King in November 1838 that JS suggested the “band should be bound together by a covenant.” However, it remains unclear what role—if any—JS played in formulating the oath that Avard recited in court: “In the name of Jesus Christ the son of God, I do solemnly obligate myself, ever to conceal & never to reveal the secret purposes of this society called the daughter of Zion; Should I ever do the same I hold my life as the forfeiture.” John Corrill, who was critical of the society, believed that the Danites swore additional oaths to support each other whether “right or wrong,” to correct wrongs internally rather than relying on the law, to uphold the First Presidency without question, and to eliminate dissent in the church. (Sampson Avard, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, pp. [2]–[3], State of Missouri v. JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes [Mo. 5th Jud. Cir. 1838], in State of Missouri, “Evidence”; Corrill, Brief History, 30–31; see also R. Peck to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 39–41.)  

    Peck, Reed. Letter, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

  66. 66

    See Genesis 17:13; Ezekiel 16:60; Hebrews 13:20; and Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:39].  

  67. 67

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 23, 487 [1 Nephi 10:14; 3 Nephi 16:10].  

  68. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting of JS.  

  69. 68

    In the rough draft, “which belongs” was canceled here.  

  70. 69

    In the rough draft, JS inserted “that are not of our faith.”  

  71. 70

    This language parallels the famous rhetoric of religious liberty that Thomas Jefferson used in his Notes on the State of Virginia. In the late eighteenth century, governments at the state and federal levels began passing laws and constitutional provisions such as the 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. These laws and provisions, prompted largely by growing religious diversity, guaranteed the free exercise of religion first to white Protestants of all sects and gradually to white non-Protestants. This extension of religious liberty involved disestablishing previously privileged churches and ensuring that all churches enjoyed equal rights. These significant legal changes were paralleled by cultural changes, with white Americans beginning to accept coexistence with members of diverse religious groups. Although religious prejudice did not disappear, as the experience of many Catholics, Latter-day Saints, Jews, and other religious minorities attested, the formal granting of religious liberty gave rise to an unprecedented sense of ecumenism and pluralism in American society. (Jefferson, “Notes on the State of Virginia,” 93–97; An Act for Establishing Religious Freedom [16 Jan. 1786], in Hening, Statutes at Large, 84–86; U.S. Constitution, amend. I; see also Beneke, Beyond Toleration, 6–10.)  

    Jefferson, Thomas. “Notes on the State of Virginia,” 1783–1784. Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.

    Hening, William Waller, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. Vol. 12. Richmond, VA: George Cochran, 1823.

    Beneke, Chris. Beyond Toleration: The Religious Origins of American Pluralism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

  72. 71

    Many Americans in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century interpreted the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787 as providential, arguing that God inspired the framers as they drafted the charter, guiding them to make the United States an “asylum for liberty.” In 1833 JS dictated a revelation affirming that God “established the constitution of this Land by the hands of wise men” whom he “raised up unto this very purpose.” (Guyatt, Providence and the Invention of the United States, 142–146; Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:80].)  

    Guyatt, Nicholas. Providence and the Invention of the United States, 1607–1876. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

  73. 72

    See Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:10–11; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 44 [1 Nephi 17:29].  

  74. 73

    “Tree of liberty” was a common nineteenth-century phrase used to describe the United States and its Constitution; the tree’s branches extended to provide equal protection for all. (See, for example, Knox, Essays, Moral and Literary, 3:317; and “Charm of the Word Liberty,” 247.)  

    Knox, Vicesimus. Essays, Moral and Literary. 15th ed. 3 vols. London: J. Mawman and Poultry, 1803.

    “Charm of the Word Liberty.” Southern Lady’s Companion 2, no. 11 (Feb. 1849): 246–247.

  75. 74

    That is, the Doctrine and Covenants.  

  76. 75

    See 2 Corinthians 5:1.  

  77. 76

    See Hebrews 11:10.  

  78. 77

    See Psalms 8:4; 144:3; and Hebrews 2:6.  

  79. 78

    See Ecclesiastes 9:11.  

  80. 79

    No subsequent epistle from the prisoners has been located.  

  81. 80

    TEXT: “brethe[page torn]en”.  

  82. 81

    See Philemon 1:13; and Revelation 14:6.  

  83. 82

    See Philemon 1:9.  

  84. 83

    See Mark 8:35.  

  85. 84

    See Genesis 49:25.  

  86. 85

    “Serve God with an undivided heart” was a common nineteenth-century saying. (See, for example, Morison, Family Prayers, 196; and Doubleday, “Wife of President Edwards,” 137.)  

    Morison, John. Family Prayers for Every Morning and Evening throughout the Year. Additional Prayers for Special Occasions. 2nd ed. New York: Fisher, Son, and Company, [1837].

    Doubleday, M. E. “The Wife of President Edwards.” Christian Parlor Magazine 7 (1850): 134–138.

  87. 86

    TEXT: Original signatures of JS, Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, and Alexander McRae.