Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 January 1833

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

4th. Jany. 1833—
Considering the Liberal prisciples [principles] upon which your interesting and valuable paper is published and myself being a subscriber and feeling a deep intrist in the cause of and in the happiness of my brethren of mankind I cheerfully take up my pen to contribute my mite at this every [very] interesting and important period
For some length of time I have been car[e]fully viewing the state of things as now appear throug[h]out our christian Land and have looked at it with feelings of the most painful anxiety while upon the one hand beholding the manifested withdrawal of Gods holy Spirit and the vail of stupidity which seems to be drawn over the hearts of the people and upon the other hand beholding the Judgments of God that have swept and are still sweeping hundreds and thousands of our race (and I fear unprepared) down to the shades of death with this solemn and alarming fact before me I am led to exclaim [“]O that my head were waters and mine ey[e]s a fountain of tears that I might weep day and night &c,” I think that it is high time for a christian world to awake out of sleep and cry mightely to that God day and night whose anger we have Justly incured. Are not these things a sufficient stimulant to arouse the faculties and call forth the energies of evry man woman and child that poseses feeling of sympathy for his fellow[s] or that is in any degree endeared to the bud[d]ing cause of our glorious Lord; I leave an inteligent community to answer this important question with a confession that this is what has caused me to overlook my own inability and expose my weakness to a learned world but trusting in that God. who has said these things are hid from the wise and prudent and reve[a]led unto babes I step forth into the field to tell you what the Lord is doing and what you must do to enjoy the smiles of your saviour in these last day[s]—— The time has at last come arived when the Gods of Abraham of Isaac and of Jacob has set his hand again the seccond time to recover the remnants of his people which have [p. 14] been left from Assyria, and from Egypt and from Pathros &.c. and from the Islands of the sea and with them to bring in the fulness of the and establish that covenant with them which was promised when their sins should be taken away. see Romans 11, 25, 26, & 27 and also Jeremiah 31. 31, 32, & 33, This covenant has never been established with the house of Isreal nor with th[e] house of Judah for it requires two parties to make a covenant and those two parties must be agreed or no covenant can be made. Christ in the days of his flesh proposed to make a covenant with them but they rejected him and his proposals and in consequence thereof they were broken off and no covenant was made with them at that time but their unbelief has not rendered the promise of God of none effect; no, for there was another day limited in David which was the day of his power and then his people Isreal, should be a willing people and he would write his laws in their hearts and print them in their thoughts their sins and their eniquities he would remember no more, Thus after this chosen family had rejected Christ and his proposals the heralds of salvation said to them. “lo I we turn <​un​>to the gentiles,” and the gentiles received the covenant and were grafted in from whence the chosen family were broken off but the Gentiles have not continued in the goodness of God but have departed from the faith that was once delivered to the saints and have broken the everlasting covenant in which their fathers were established see Isaiah 24th 5th. and have become high minded and have not feared therefore but few of them will be gathered with the chosen family Has not the pride highmindedness and unbelief of the Gentiles provoked the holy one of Israel to withdraw his holy spirit from them and send forth his Judgments to scourge them for their wickedness; this is certianly the case, Christ said to his deciples Mark 16, 17 & 18 that these signs should follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out Devils they shall speap [speak] with new tongues they shall take up serpants and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover, and also in connection with this read 1 Corinthians 12 Chapt, By the foregoing testamonies or through the glass of the foregoing testamonies we may look at the Christian world and see the apostacy there has been from [p. 15] the Apostolic platform, and who can look at this, and and not exclaim in the language of Isaiah, [“]the earth is defiled under the inhabitants thereof because they have transgressed the Laws; changed the ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant”
The plain fact is this, the power of God begins to fall upon the Nations, and the light of the latter day glory begins to break forth through the dark atmosphere of sectarian wickedness and their iniquity rools [rolls] up into view and the Nations of the are like the waves of the sea casting up mire and dirt or all in commotion and they hastily are preparing to act the part allotted them when the Lord rebukes the nations, when he shall rule them with a rod of iron & break them in peaces like a potters vessel, The Lord has declared to his servants some Eighteen months since that he was then withdrawing his spirit from the earth, and we can see that such is the fact for not only the churches are dwindling away, but there are no convers[i]ons, or but very few, and this is not all, the governments of the earth are thrown into confusion & division, and distruction to the eye of the spiritual beholder seemes to be writen by the finger of an invisable hand in Large capitals upon almost evry thing we behold——
And now what remains to be done under circumstan[c]es like these, I will proce[e]d to tell you what the Lord requires of all people high and Low, rich and poor, male and female, ministers & people professors of religeon, and nonproffessors in order that they may enjoy the holy spirit of God to a fulness, and escape the Judgments of God which are almost ready to burst upon the nations of the earth— Repent of all your sins and be in water for the remission of them, in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost, and receive the of the of him who is and unto this power, that ye may receive the holy spirit of God, and this according to the holy scriptures, and of the Book of Mormon; and [p. 16] the only way that man can enter into the . These are the requesitions of the new Covenant or first principles of of the Gospel of Christ; then add to you[r] faith virtue and to virtue knowledge and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience, brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness charity (or Love) and if these things be in you and abound, they make you to be neither baran nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ——
The Book of Mormon is a reccord of the forefathers of our western Tribes of Indians, having been found through the ministration of an holy Angel into our own Language by the gift and power of God, after having been hid up in the earth for the last fourteen hundred years containing the word of God, which was delivered unto them, By it we learn that our western tribes of Indians are desendants from that Joseph that was sold into Egypt, and that the Land of America is a promised land unto them, and unto it all the tribes of Israel will come. with as many of the as shall comply with the requesitions of the new co[v]enant. But the tribe of Judah will return to old Jerusalem, The City, of , spoken of by David in the 102 Psalm will be built upon the Land of America and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to it with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads, and then they will be delivered from the overflowing scourge that shall pass through the Land But Judah shall obtain deliverence at Jerusalem see Joel 2. 32. Isaiah 26, 20 & 21, Jer. 31, 12, Psalm 50. 5, Ezekiel 34, 11, 12 & 13, These are testamonies that the good Shepherd will put forth his own sheep and Lead them out from all nations where they have been scattered in a cloudy and dark day, to Zion and to Jerusalem beside many more testamonies which might be brought——
And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before the shall present such [p. 17] a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the hystory of our nation pestalence hail famine and earthquake will sweep the wicked off this generation from off the face of this Land to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country— The people of the Lord, those who have complied with the requsitions of the new covenant have already commenced gathering togethe[r] to which is in the State of . Therefore I declare unto you the warning which the lord has commanded me to declare unto this generation, rembring [remembering] that the eyes of my maker are upon me and that to him I am accountabl for evry word I say wishing nothing worse to my fellow men then their eternal salvation therefore fear God, and give glory to him for the hour of his Judgment is come, <​Repent ye​> Repent, ye and imbrace the everlasting Covenant and flee to Zion before the overflowing scourge overtake you, For there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things which I have spoken fulfilled Rem[em]ber these things, call upon the Lord while he is near and seek him while he may be found is the exhortation of your unworthy servant
Joseph Smith Jr
<​To N Y.​> [p. 18]


  1. 1

    The nameplate of the American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer proclaimed that it was “DEDICATED TO THE INTERESTS OF ZION GENERALLY, AND ESPECIALLY TO REVIVALS OF RELIGION.” Two weeks before Noah C. Saxton published JS’s letter, the newspaper printed commentary on an article from the Cincinnati Journal about Mormonism in that city. Among other things, the commentary referred to the “ignorant and fanatical” state of Mormon converts, the “arch devices of Mormon leaders,” the “abominable absurdities of Mormonism,” and the “wild vagaries of Mormonism.” (American Revivalist, and Rochester [NY] Observer, 29 Sept. 1832, [1]; “Mormonism in Cincinnati, Ohio,” American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer, 19 Jan. 1833, [1].)  

    American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer. Rochester, NY. 1827–1833.

  2. 2

    TEXT: “d” smudged out.  

  3. 3

    “Insensibility”; “dullness of perception or understanding.” (“Stupidity,” in American Dictionary [1845], 801.)  

    An American Dictionary of the English Language; Exhibiting the Origin, Orthography, Pronunciation, and Definitions of Words. Edited by Noah Webster. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1845.

  4. 4

    An article in the 17 November 1832 American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer similarly portrayed the cholera epidemic as “God’s judgment” and a “pestilence” sent to “check the ardor of the surviving in their pursuit of the world.” The September 1832 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star also depicted the epidemic as a result of God’s judgment, declaring, “Not since the flood, if we think right, has the Lord sent the same pestilence, or destruction, over the whole earth at once: But the Cholera, which has swept its thousands in Asia, Africa, Europe and America, gives a solemn token to a wondering world, that it will do so.” (“How Has the Cholera Affected Rochester?,” American Revivalist, and Rochester [NY] Observer, 17 Nov. 1832, [1]; “The Cholera,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Sept. 1832, [1].)  

    American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer. Rochester, NY. 1827–1833.

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

  5. 5

    Jeremiah 9:1.  

  6. 6

    See Romans 13:11.  

  7. 7

    See Jonah 3:8; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 180 [Mosiah 11:25].  

  8. 8

    JS apologized to his wife Emma in June 1832 for his “inability in convaying my ideas in writing.” (Letter to Emma Smith, 6 June 1832.)  

  9. 9

    See Matthew 11:25; and Luke 10:21.  

  10. 10

    See Isaiah 11:11; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 98, 104, 115, 139 [2 Nephi 21:11; 25:17; 29:1; Jacob 6:2].  

  11. 11

    See also Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 36, 486–487 [1 Nephi 15:13; 3 Nephi 16:4].  

  12. 12

    See Romans 4:13–14; and Galatians 3:16–17.  

  13. 13

    TEXT: “their” with “there” written over it.  

  14. 14

    See Hebrews 4:7–9; and Psalm 110:3.  

  15. 15

    See Jeremiah 31:33–34; and Hebrews 8:10; 10:16.  

  16. 16

    Acts 13:46.  

  17. 17

    See Jude 1:3.  

  18. 18

    Isaiah 24:5.  

  19. 19

    A March 1831 revelation stated that “when the times of the gentiles is come in a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness & it shall be the fulness of my Gospel.” It also explained that the Lord had “sent mine everlasting covenant unto the World to be a light to the world” (Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:9, 28]; see also Isaiah 58:8.)  

  20. 20

    See Isaiah 57:20.  

  21. 21

    Earlier revelations stated that one of the signs of the times of Christ’s coming is that “the whole Earth shall be in commotion.” (Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:26]; see also Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:91].)  

  22. 22

    See Micah 4:3; and Isaiah 2:4; 17:13. The July 1832 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star used this same phrase when describing tumult among the nations of the earth: “All the Kingdoms of the East seem to be preparing to act the part allotted to them, when the Lord rebukes the nations.” (“Foreign News,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [6].)  

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

  23. 23

    See Revelation 2:26–27; and Psalm 2:9.  

  24. 24

    Likely a reference to the declaration in a 30 August 1831 revelation that “I the Lord am angry with the wicked I am holding my spirit from the inhabitants of the earth.” (Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:32].)  

  25. 25

    The same issue of the American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer that published JS’s letter contained a report from the Cumberland Conference in Maine. Several churches there maintained that they had experienced little growth in 1832. One stated, “No admissions to this church the past year”; another declared, “This church has increased but little in number the last year.” Still another said, “Religion is low.” (“Cumberland Conference, Maine,” American Revivalist, and Rochester [NY] Observer, 2 Feb. 1833, [2].)  

    American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer. Rochester, NY. 1827–1833.

  26. 26

    This statement probably reflected not only the ongoing difficulties between South Carolina and the federal government but also problems outside the United States. The July 1832 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star reported that “the wars and rumors of wars, with many other signs of the distress of nations, from the old world, (as it is called across the Ocean) whispers so loud to the understanding, that he that runs may read the label on the Eastern sky: The end is nigh.” At this time, Russia and Persia were continuing a series of wars that began in the 1820s, while Greece was waging a war for independence against the Ottoman Empire. Belgium had only recently concluded its own battle for independence with the Netherlands. (Historical Introduction to Revelation, 25 Dec. 1832 [D&C 87]; “Foreign News,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [6]; Bitis, “1828–1829 Russo-Turkish War,” 506–525; Pappas, United States and the Greek War for Independence, 1–13, 117–126; Rooney, Revolt in the Netherlands, 175–184.)  

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

    Bitis, Alexander. “The 1828–1829 Russo-Turkish War and the Resettlement of Balkan Peoples into Novorossiia.” Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, Neue Folge, Bd. 53, H. 4 (2005): 506–525.

    Pappas, Paul Constantine. The United States and the Greek War for Independence, 1821–1828. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.

    Rooney, John W. Revolt in the Netherlands: Brussels—1830. Lawrence, KS: Coronado, 1982.

  27. 27

    See Acts 2:38; 19:1–6; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 118–119, 508, 514 [2 Nephi 31:5–13; 3 Nephi 27:20; 4 Nephi 1:1].  

  28. 28

    According to the description of a 16 February 1832 vision experienced by JS and Sidney Rigdon, the celestial kingdom is the highest “glory” attainable in the hereafter. (Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76].)  

  29. 29

    See 2 Peter 1:5–8.  

  30. 30

    The portion of the letter published by Noah C. Saxton begins here and continues to the end of the letter.  

  31. 31

    According to the Book of Mormon, the last prophet and writer of the record, a man called Moroni, concluded his account around 420 years after Christ was born. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 585 [Moroni 10:1].)  

  32. 32

    See, for example, Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 485–486 [3 Nephi 15:12–13]. The December 1832 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star explained that “last week about 400, out of 700 of the Shawnees from Ohio, passed this place for their inheritance a few miles west, and the scene was at once calculated to refer the mind to the prophecies concerning the gathering of Israel in the last days.” (“The Indians,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1832, [6].)  

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

  33. 33

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 501 [3 Nephi 21:22–26].  

  34. 34

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 498 [3 Nephi 20:29–33].  

  35. 35

    Psalm 102:13–22; see also “Signs of the Times,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Oct. 1832, [6]; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 566 [Ether 13:4–6].  

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

  36. 36

    See Isaiah 35:10; and Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:71].  

  37. 37

    See Isaiah 28:15, 18; and Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:31].  

  38. 38

    This information was included in a revelation dictated less than two weeks earlier. (Revelation, 25 Dec. 1832 [D&C 87].)  

  39. 39

    See Jeremiah 23:8; 31:7–8; and Revelation, 3 Nov. 1831 [D&C 133:26].  

  40. 40

    A July 1831 revelation designated “the land of Missorie” as the place the Lord had “appointed & consecrated for the gethering of the Saints.” The Evening and the Morning Star reported in November 1832 that “since the gathering commenced, which is a little over a year, the number of the disciples which have come from the east, and which have been baptized in this region, is 465[.] Children and those not members, about 345[.] Total 810.” (Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:1]; “The Gathering,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Nov. 1832, [5].)  

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

  41. 41

    See Revelation 14:7.  

  42. 42

    See Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:31].  

  43. 43

    See Isaiah 55:6; and Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:62–63].  

  44. new scribe logo

    Insertion in handwriting of William W. Phelps.