Letter to Newel K., Elizabeth Ann Smith, and Sarah Ann Whitney, 18 August 1842

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

<​ August 18th. 1842​>
Dear, and Beloved, and , and &c. []
I take this oppertunity to communi[c]ate, some of my feelings, privetely at this time, which I want you three Eternaly to keep in your own bosams; for my feelings are so strong for you since what has pased lately between us, that the time of my abscence from you seems so long, and dreary, that it seems, as if I could not live long in this way: and <​if you​> three would come and see me in this my lonely retreat, it would afford me great relief, of mind, if those with whom I am alied, do love me, now is the time to afford me succour, in the days of exile, for you know I foretold you of these things. I am now at , Just back of farm, it is only one mile from town, the nights are very pleasant indeed, all three of <​you​> come <​can​> come and see me in the fore part of the night, let come a little a head, and nock at the south East corner of the house at <​the​> window; it <​is​> next to the cornfield; I have a room intirely by myself, the whole matter can be attended to with most perfect saf[e]ty, I <​know​> it is the will of God that you should comfort <​me​> now in this time of affliction, or not all at all now is the [p. [1]] time or never, but I hav[e] no kneed of saying any such thing, to you, for I know the goodness of your hearts, and that you will do the will of the Lord, when it is made known to you; the only thing to be careful of; is to find out when comes then you cannot be safe, but when she is not here, there is the most perfect safty: only be careful to escape observation, as much as possible, I know it is a heroick undertakeing; but so much the greater frendship, and the more Joy, when I see you I <​will​> tell you all my plans, I cannot write them on paper, burn this letter as soon as you read it, keep all locked up in your breasts, my life depends upon it, one thing I want to see you for is <​to​> get the fulness of my blessings sealed upon our heads, &c. you will pardon me for my earnestness on <​this subject​> when you consider how lonesome I must be, your good feelings know how to <​make​> every allowance for me, I close my letter, I think wont come to night if she dont dont fail to come to night, I subscribe myself your most obedient, <​and​> affectionate, companion, and friend.
Joseph Smith [p. [2]]


  1. new scribe logo

    Insertion in handwriting of William Clayton.  

  2. 1

    TEXT: JS handwriting begins.  

  3. 2

    See Elizabeth Ann Whitney and Sarah Ann Whitney Kimball, Affidavit, Salt Lake Co., Utah Territory, 13 Aug. 1869, in Joseph F. Smith, Affidavits about Celestial Marriage, 2:27–28.  

    Smith, Joseph F. Affidavits about Celestial Marriage, 1869–1915. CHL. MS 3423.

  4. 3

    JS went into hiding by 10 August 1842 to avoid arrest and extradition to Missouri. (See JS, Journal, 10 Aug. 1842.)  

  5. 4

    Granger rented a house located in section 31, which was outside the platted areas of Nauvoo but within the city limits. (Book of Assessment, 1842, Second Ward, copy, 6, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.)  

    Nauvoo, IL. Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 16800.

  6. 5

    TEXT: “hav[page torn]”.  

  7. 6

    In addition to the need to keep his location secret, JS may have asked that the letter be destroyed because it could indicate his sealing to Sarah Ann Whitney. In two other instances JS may have instructed that letters with connections to the practice of plural marriage be destroyed. (See Young, Diary and Reminiscences, 1; and George W. Robinson, Nauvoo, IL, to James Arlington Bennet, 27 July 1842, in Bennett, History of the Saints, 246.)  

    Young, Emily Dow Partridge. Diary and Reminiscences, Feb. 1874–Nov. 1883. Typescript. CHL. MS 2845.

    Bennett, John C. The History of the Saints; or, an Exposé of Joe Smith and Mormonism. Boston: Leland and Whiting, 1842.

  8. 7

    Emma Smith had visited Edward Sayers’s home the previous night to warn JS that his location was known. JS moved to Carlos Granger’s house under the cover of darkness, and Emma apparently stayed with him overnight. As a result, she may have been hesitant to visit him the following night and attract attention to his new location. (JS, Journal, 17 Aug. 1842.)