Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 15 December 1840

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Hancock Co, Ills. Decr. 15. 1840
Beloved Brethren.
May Grace, Mercy, and Peace rest upon you, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Having several communications laying before me, from my Brethren the “ some of which have ere this merited a a reply, but <​from​> the multiplicity of business which necessarily engages my attention I have delayed communicating to them, to the present time. Be assured, my beloved brethren, that I am no disinterested observer of the things which are transpiring on the face of the whole earth and amidst the general movements which are in progress, none is of more importance, than the glorious work in which you are now engaged, and consequently, I feel some anxiety on your account, that you may, by your virtue, faith, diligence, and charity, commend yourselves to one another, <​to the ​> and <​to​> your Father which is in heaven, by whose grace you have been called to so holy a calling, and be enabled to perform the great and responsible duties which rest upon you. And I can assure you, that from the information I have received, I feel satisfied, that you have not been remiss, <​in your duty​> but that your diligence and faithfulness have been such, as must secure you the smiles of that God, whose servants you are, and the good will of the saints throughout the world.
The spread of truth throughout is certainly pleasing; the contemplation of which, cannot but afford feelings of no ordinary kind in the bosoms of those who have had to bear the heat and burthen of the day, and who were its firm supporters, and strenuous advocates, in infancy, while surrounded with circumstances the most unpropitious, and its destruction threatened on all hands. But like the gallant Bark, that has braved the storm unhurt, spreads her canvass to the breese, and nobly cuts her way through the yielding wave, more conscious than ever of the strength of her timbers and the experience and capabilities of her Captain, Pilate and crew.
It is likewise very satisfactory to <​my​> mind, that there has been such a good understanding existing between you, and that the saints have <​so​> cheerfully, hearkened to council and vied with each other in their labors of love; and in the promotion of truth and righteousness; this is as it should be in the church of Jesus Christ. Unity is strength. “How pleasant [p. [1]] it is for brethren to dwell together in Unity &c” Let the saints of the most high, ever cultivate this principle, and the most glorious blessings must result, not only to them individually but to the whole — The order of the Kingdom will be maintained,— Its officers respected, and its requirements readily and cheerfully obeyed. Love is one of the leading characteristics of Deity, and ou[gh]t to be manifested by those who aspire to be the Sons of God. A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the world, anxious to bless the whole of the human family. This has been your feelings and caused you to forego the pleasures of home, that you might be a blessing to others, who are candidates for immortality but and who were strangers to the principals of truth and for so doing I pray that Heaven’s choicest blessings may rest upon you.
Being requested to give my advice respecting the propriety of your returning in the spring, I will do so willingly. I have reflected on the subject some time and am of the opinion that it would be wisdom in you to make preparations to leave the scene of your labors in the spring. Having carried the testimony to that land, and numbers having received it, consequently the leaven can now spread, without your being obliged to stay. Another thing, there has been some whisperings of the spirit; that there will be some agitation, some excitement, and some trouble in the land in which you are now laboring. I would therefore say in the mean time be diligent, organize the churches and let every one stand in his proper place, so that those who cannot come with you in the spring may not be left as sheep without shepherds.
I would likewise observe that inasmuch as this place has been appointed for the of the saints, it is necessary that it should be attended to, in the order which the Lord intended it should; to this end I would say that as there are great numbers of the saints in , who are extremely poor and not accustomed to the farming business, who must have certain preparations made for them before they can support themselves in this , therefore to prevent confusion and disappointment when they arrive here, let those men who are accustomed to making machinery and those [p. [2]] who can command a capital even if it be but small, come here as soon as convenient and put up machinery and make such other preparations as may be necessary, so, that when the poor come on they may have employment to come to. This place has advantages for a manufacturing and commercial purposes which but very few can boast of; and by establishing Cotton Factories, Founderies, Potteries &c &c would be the means of bringing in wealth and raising it to a very important elevation. I need not occupy more space on this subject as its reasonableness must be obvious to every mind. In my former epistle I told you my mind respecting the printing of the Book of Mormon. Hymn Book &c &c— I have been favored by receiving a Hymn Book from you and as far as I have examined it I highly approve of it and think it to be a very valuable collection. I am informed that the Book of Mormon is likewise printed, which I am glad to hear, and should be pleased to hear that it was printed in all the different Languages of the earth. You can use your own pleasure respecting printing the Book of Doctrine & Covenants, if there is a great demand for them, I have not any objections, but would rather encourage it.
I am happy to say, that as far as I have been made acquainted with your movements, I have been perfectly satisfied that they have been in wisdom, and I have no doubt but the spirit of the Lord has directed you. and this proves to my mind that you have been humble, and your desires have been, for the salvation of your fellow man, and not your own aggrandizement and selfish interest. As long as the saints manifest such a disposition their councils will be approved of, and their exertions crowned with success. There are many things of minor importance, on which you ask council, but which I think you will be perfectly able to decide upon as I you are more conversant with the peculiar circumstances than I can am, and I feel great confidence in your united wisdom, therefore you will excuse me for not entering into detail. If I should see any thing that was wrong, I should take the priviledge of making known my mind to you and pointing out the evil. [p. [3]]
If should wish to remain in , for some time longer than the rest of the , he will feel himself at liberty to do so; as he his family are with him Consequently his circumstances are somewhat different to the rest, and likewise it is necessary that some one should remain who is conversant with the rules, regulations &c & of the And continue the paper which is published; consequently taking all these things into consideration I would not press upon to return in the spring.
I am happy to inform you that we are prospering in this place, and that the saints are more healthy than formerly, and from the decrease of sickness this season, when compared with the last, I am led to the conclusion that this, must eventually become a healthy place.
There are at present about 3000 inhabitants in , and numbers are flocking in daily; severeal have been set off in different parts of the country , which are in prospering circumstances. Provisions are much lower than when you left. Flour is worth about four dollars per barrel, corn 25 20 cents per bushel; Pottatoes about 20 cents. and other things in about the same proportion. There has been a very plentiful harvest indeed, throughout the .
You will observe by the “Times & Season” that we are about building a for the worship of our God in this place; preparations are now making, every tenth day is devoted by the brethren here, for quarrying rock &c &. we have secured one of the most lovely sites for it that there is in this region of Country. It is expected to be considerably larger and on <​a​> more magnificent scale than the in and which will undoubtedly attract the attentio[n] of the great men of the <​earth​> We have a bill before the Legislature for the incorporation of the City of Nauvoo for the establishment of a Seminary and other purposes, which I expect will pass in a short time.
You will also have received intelligence of the death of my , which event altho painful to the family and to the church generally, yet the sealing testimony of the truth of the work of the Lord was indeed satisfactory; the particulars of his death &c you will find in the Sepr. number of the “Times and seasons” succeeds him as of the Church, according to his last directions and benedictions.
Several persons of emminece [eminence] and distinction in society, have joined the Church, and [p. [4]] become obedient to the faith, and I am happy to inform you that the work is spreading very fast on this continent, some of the Brethren are now in , and we expect to have a gathering from the South.
I have had the pleasure of wel[c]oming about One hundred of the Brethren from , who came with , the remainder I am informed stop[p]ed in , not having means to get any further. I think they can those that came here did not take the best possible rout, or the least expensive. Most of the brethren have obtained employment of one kind or another and appear tolerably well contented and seem disposed to hearken to council. Brothers & lately had a letter from , & in which gave us information of the commencement of the work of the Lord in that City, which I was glad to hear. I am likewise informed the Elders have gone to Austrailia & to the East Indies I feel deserieous that every providential opening of that kind should be filled, and that you should prior to your leaving , send the gospel into as many parts as you possibly can.
Beloved brethren, you must be aware in some measure of my feelings when I contemplate the great work which is now rolling on, and the relationship which I sustain to it; while it is extending to distant lands, and islands, and thousands are embracing it, I realize in some measure my responsibility and the need I have of support from above, and wisdom from on high; that I may be able to teach this people, which have now become a great people, the principles of righteousness, and lead them agreeably to the will of heaven so that they may be perfected and prepared to meet the Lord Jesus Christ, when he shall appear. in great glory. Can I rely on your prayers to your heavenly Father in my behalf? and on the prayers of all my brethren & sisters in ? (whom having not seen yet I love) that I may be enabled to escape every stra[ta]gem of satan, surmount every difficulty, and bring this people, to the enjoyment of those blessings, which are reserved for the righteous I ask this at your and their hands in the name of Jesus Christ. [p. [5]]
Let the remember that great things depend on their individual exertion, and that they are called to be co-workers with us and the holy spirit in accomplishing the great works of the last days, and in consideration of the extent, the blessings, and the glories of the same let every selfish feeling be not only buried, but anihalated, and let love to God and man, predominate and reign triumphant in every mind, that their hearts may become like unto Enoch’s of old so that they may comprehend all things, present, past, and future, and “come behind in no gift waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ”. The work in which we are unitedly engaged in, is one of no ordinary kind, the enemies we have to contend against are subtle and well skilled in manuvering, it behoves us then to be on the alert, to concentrate our energies, and that the best feelings should exists in our midst, and then by the help of the Almighty we shall go on from victory to victory and from conquest unto conquest, our evil passions will be subdued, our predjudices depart, we shall find no room in our bosoms for hatred, vice will hide its deformed head, and we shall stand approved in the sight of heaven and be acknowledged “the Sons of God” Let us realize that we are not to live to ourselves but to God by so doing the greatest blessings will rest upon us both in time and in Eternity.
I presume the doctrine of “ for the dead” has ere this reached your ears, and may have raised some inquiries in your mind respecting the same. I cannot in this letter give you all the information you may desire on the subject, but aside from my knowledg[e] independant of the Bible, I would say, that this was certainly practized by the antient churches And. St Paul endeavors to prove the doctrine of the ressurrection from the same, and says “else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead[”] &c &c. I first mentioned the doctrine in public while preaching the funeral sermon of , and have since then given general instructions to the on the subject. The saints have the priviledge of being baptized for those of their relatives who are dead, who they feel to believe would have embraced the gospel if they had been priviledged with hearing it, and who have received the gospel in the spirit through the instrumentality of those who may have been commissioned to preach to them while in the prison. Without enlarging on the subject you will undoubtedly see its consistancy, and reasonableness, and presents the the gospel of Christ in probably a more enlarged scale than some have received it. But as the performance of this right is more particularly confined to this place it will not be necessary to enter into particulars, at the same time I allways feel glad to give all the information in my power, but my space will not allow me to do it. [p. [6]]
We had a letter from a few days ago, who is in , and is expecting to leave for as soon as reaches him. He requested to know in his letter if converted Jews are to go to or to come to . I therefore wish you to inform him that converted Jews must come here. If & testimony to the Jews at should be received then they may know “that the set time hath come”: I will write more particular instructions to them afterwards. Your
Your families are well and generally in good spirits, and bear their privations with christian fortitude and patience.
’ question respecting arriving in the spring is answered I shall be very happy to see him & his family & likewise , tell him that is making preparations for his coming.
With respect to the rout best to be taken I think you will be better able to <​give​> advise than myself. But I would not advise coming round by the lakes. And it would not be prudent to come via in the sickly season. but in the spring or fall or winter it might do. Give my kind love to all the brethren, and sisters, and tell them I should have been pleased to have come over to to see them, but am afraid that I shall be under the necessity of remaining here for some time, therefore I give them a pressing invitation to come and see me.
I am Dr Brethren Yours, Affectionately Joseph Smith [p. [7]]
To the and of the in Great Britain
Do not understand me to say that all the Elders are to come with you, as it will be necessary for some to stay. J.
To the “Twelve” [p. [8]]


  1. 1

    This sentence is an epistolary greeting from the New Testament. (See, for example, 1 Timothy 1:2.)  

  2. 2

    These letters likely included Letter from Heber C. Kimball and Others, 25 May 1840; Letter from Heber C. Kimball, 9 July 1840; and Letter from Brigham Young and Willard Richards, 5 Sept. 1840.  

  3. 3

    On 27 February 1835, JS explained the duties of the apostles: “They are to hold the keys of this ministry— to unlock the door of the kingdom of heaven unto all nations and preach the Gospel unto every creation. This is the virtue powr and authority of their Apostleship. . . . It is your duty to go and unlock the kingdom of heaven to foreign nations, for no man can do that thing but yourselves.” (Minutes and Discourses, 27 Feb. 1835.)  

  4. 4

    In addition to directly receiving letters from members of the Twelve in England, JS would have been familiar with correspondence published in the Times and Seasons, such as a letter Parley P. Pratt, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Orson Pratt wrote to the church in Commerce, Illinois, on 19 February 1840 and a letter Wilford Woodruff addressed to Don Carlos Smith and Ebenezer Robinson on 29 April 1840. JS also would have had the opportunity to discuss the church in Great Britain with British immigrants and a returning missionary, Theodore Turley, who arrived in Nauvoo on 24 November 1840. (Parley P. Pratt et al., New York City, NY, to “the Church of Jesus Christ,” Commerce, IL, 19 Feb. 1840, in Times and Seasons, Mar. 1840, 1:70–71; Wilford Woodruff, Ledbury, England, 29 Apr. 1840, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, June 1840, 1:122; Clayton, Diary, 24 Nov. 1840.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    Clayton, William. Diary, Jan.–Nov. 1846. CHL.

  5. 5

    Psalm 133:1.  

  6. 6

    Brigham Young and Willard Richards had asked, “Shall we gather up all the saints we can & come over with them next Spring?” (Letter from Brigham Young and Willard Richards, 5 Sept. 1840.)  

  7. 7

    In a 17 June 1840 letter to his son, George A. Smith, JS’s uncle John Smith stated: “I would advise you to be very Dilligent to warn that People while it is called to Day for I think the time is short according to the working of the spirit in me perscution will rage in England ere long worse then in Missouri and the saints will have to flee out the best way they can.” (John Smith and Clarissa Lyman Smith, Montrose, Iowa Territory, to George A. Smith, Burslem, England, 17 June 1840, George Albert Smith, Papers, CHL.)  

    Smith, George Albert. Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322.

  8. 8

    See Matthew 9:36.  

  9. 9

    In the October 1839 general conference, the Commerce area was officially designated as the gathering place for church members. (Minutes and Discourses, 5–7 Oct. 1839.)  

  10. 10

    Many recent converts in Great Britain came from poor, working-class families involved in factory work. In a September 1840 letter, Young and Richards described the shift of British industry from agriculture to manufacturing. “Manufacturing is the business of England,” they wrote, noting that “cotton mills are the most numerous.” (Letter from Brigham Young, 7 May 1840; Letter from Brigham Young and Willard Richards, 5 Sept. 1840.)  

  11. 11

    JS addressed this topic in a 19 July 1840 letter carried to Great Britain by Lorenzo Snow, who arrived in Liverpool on either 21 or 22 October 1840. While no copy of this letter has been located, a note in JS’s letterbook states that the letter authorized the apostles to publish the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and a hymnal. (Note, in JS Letterbook 2, p. 153; JS History, vol. C-1, 1119; Lorenzo Snow, London, England, to Charlotte Granger, 25 Feb. 1841, in Snow, Letterbook, [3]–[4].)  

    Snow, Lorenzo. Letterbook, ca. 1839–1846. CHL.

  12. 12

    The Twelve had published a hymnbook by 6 July 1840. Copies of the new hymnal likely arrived in Nauvoo in November 1840 with British Saints who departed Liverpool on 8 September 1840. The apostles were concerned about JS’s response to the hymnbook, likely because of controversy over David W. Rogers’s publication of an unauthorized hymnal in 1838. (“Minutes of the General Conference,” LDS Millennial Star, July 1840, 1:69; Clayton, Diary, 8 Sept. and 24 Nov. 1840; Letter from Brigham Young and Willard Richards, 5 Sept. 1840; Minutes and Discourses, 5–7 Oct. 1839; Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:82–83.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

    Clayton, William. Diary, Jan.–Nov. 1846. CHL.

    Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 3 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997–2012.

  13. 13

    JS had been misinformed; many of the steps toward publication of the Book of Mormon had been completed in Great Britain, but the book was not yet printed. The apostles contracted with a printer on 17 June 1840 and purchased paper on 7 July 1840. (John Tompkins, Estimate, 7 June 1840, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL; Brigham Young, Manchester, England, to Willard Richards, Ledbury, England, 17 June 1840, Willard Richards, Journals and Papers, CHL; Woodruff, Journal, 7 July 1840.)  

    Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.

    Richards, Willard. Journals and Papers, 1821–1854. CHL.

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  14. 14

    In a May 1840 letter, Orson Hyde and John E. Page asked JS whether they were authorized to translate the Book of Mormon into German. JS replied, “I entirely approve of the same; and give my consent.” (Letter from Orson Hyde and John E. Page, 1 May 1840; Letter to Orson Hyde and John E. Page, 14 May 1840.)  

  15. 15

    In a September 1840 letter, Brigham Young and Willard Richards asked, “Shall we print the doctrins & Covena[n]ts here or not? or will the D. & C. be printed & go to the nations, as it now is or not? or will it be revised & pr[i]nted for the nation?” (Letter from Brigham Young and Willard Richards, 5 Sept. 1840.)  

  16. 16

    Several of the original members of the Quorum of the Twelve dissented from the church in 1837 and 1838, which may have caused JS increasing concern about unity within that quorum. On 2 July 1839, JS instructed the Twelve in preparation for their mission, telling them to “be humble & not be exalted & beware of pride & not seek to excell one above another but act for each others good & pray for one & another & honour our brother or make honourable mention of his name.” (Discourse, 2 July 1839.)  

  17. 17

    One of these unanswered issues, posed by Young, related to ordaining men to the priesthood office of seventy. JS also did not respond to a few of the specific questions Young and Richards asked in their September 1840 letter, including whether they should forward copies of the Millennial Star to Nauvoo and whether they should copy portions of hieroglyphics kept in the British Museum, which the missionaries had visited. (Letter from Brigham Young, 7 May 1840; Letter from Brigham Young and Willard Richards, 5 Sept. 1840.)  

  18. 18

    TEXT: Cross-writing begins over page [1].  

  19. 19

    Realizing he would need to stay in England significantly longer than the rest of the Twelve in order to manage the church’s publishing efforts, Pratt requested shortly after his arrival in England on 6 April 1840 that his family join him. After learning that members of his family had contracted scarlet fever, Pratt traveled to New York and escorted them to England, arriving in October 1840. Pratt’s family consisted of his wife, Mary Ann Frost Pratt; his sister-in-law, Olive Frost; his stepdaughter, Mary Ann Stearns, age seven; and his two sons, Parley Parker Pratt Jr. and Nathan Pratt, ages three and two. (Parley P. Pratt, Liverpool, England, to Mary Ann Frost Pratt, New York City, NY, 6 Apr. 1840, Parley P. Pratt, Papers, CHL; Pratt, Autobiography, 342–343; “Records of Early Church Families,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 27 [July 1936]: 106, 109; Woodruff, Journal, 7 July 1840.)  

    Pratt, Parley P. Papers, 1837–1844. CHL.

    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.

    “Records of Early Church Families.” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 27 (July 1936): 102–116.

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  20. 20

    Pratt had served as the editor of the Millennial Star since its first issue was printed in May 1840. ([Parley P. Pratt], “Prospectus,” LDS Millennial Star, May 1840, 1:1–2.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  21. 21

    The mortality rate in Nauvoo in 1840 had decreased since the previous year. While the community had increased by an estimated seven hundred since 1839, there were only two additional deaths recorded in 1840. (Ivie and Heiner, “Deaths in Early Nauvoo,” 165, 171.)  

    Ivie, Evan L., and Douglas C. Heiner. “Deaths in Early Nauvoo, 1839–46, and Winter Quarters, 1846–48.” Religious Educator 10, no. 3 (2009): 163–173.

  22. 22

    On 26 August 1840, the Cincinnati Daily Chronicle estimated that the population of Nauvoo was approximately twenty-eight hundred. (“The Mormons,” Daily Chronicle [Cincinnati], 26 Aug. 1840, [2].)  

    Daily Chronicle. Cincinnati. 1839–1850.

  23. 23

    On 9 July 1840, a stake was organized at Ramus, Illinois. On 3 October 1840, a general conference in Nauvoo appointed Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, and Almon Babbitt to “organize stakes between this place and Kirtland.” On that same day, the conference resolved to organize a stake in Adams County, Illinois. (Letter to Crooked Creek, IL, Branch, ca. 7 or 8 July 1840; Macedonia Branch, Record, 9 July 1840, 8; Minutes and Discourse, 3–5 Oct. 1840.)  

    Macedonia Branch, Record / “A Record of the Chur[c]h of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in Macedonia (Also Called Ramus),” 1839–1850. CHL. LR 11808 21.

  24. 24

    The temple’s construction was announced during the October 1840 general conference, the minutes of which were published in the October 1840 issue of the Times and Seasons. (Minutes and Discourse, 3–5 Oct. 1840.)  

  25. 25

    Devoting every tenth day to labor on the temple complied with the resolution adopted in the October 1840 general conference that “every tenth day be appropriated for the building of said house.” (Minutes and Discourse, 3–5 Oct. 1840.)  

  26. 26

    The temple was “situated on the brow of the most prominant part of the bluff, which extends a short distance in the advance of the bluff, either to the right or to the left so that it commands a complete view of the majestic river for several miles, both north and south; and completely overlooks the flat which constitutes the western part of the city, and is so curiously formed by the extraordinary bend of the river.” (Benjamin Winchester, Nauvoo, IL, to Lorenzo Snow, 12 Nov. 1841, in Times and Seasons, 15 Nov. 1841, 3:605.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  27. 27

    An August 1833 revelation provided the dimensions for the House of the Lord in Kirtland, Ohio: “It shall be fifty five by sixty five in the width thereof and in the length therof— in the inne[r] court.” On 6 October 1840, Phebe Carter Woodruff reported the proposed dimensions of the Nauvoo temple were “100 feet by 120.” (Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–B [D&C 94:4]; Phebe Carter Woodruff, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, to Wilford Woodruff, 6–19 Oct. 1840, digital scan, Wilford Woodruff, Collection, CHL; see also Discourse, ca. 19 July 1840.)  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Collection, 1831–1905. CHL. MS 19509.

  28. 28

    In July 1840, JS predicted that Nauvoo’s poor would “be fed by the curious who shall come from all parts of the world to see this wonderful temple.” (Discourse, ca. 19 July 1840.)  

  29. 29

    “A Seminary” refers to the planned “University of the City of Nauvoo.” Webster’s 1841 dictionary defined a seminary as “a place of education; any school, academy, college or university, in which young persons are instructed in the several branches of learning.” (Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840; “Seminary,” in American Dictionary [1845], 739–740.)  

    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.

  30. 30

    During the October 1840 general conference, a committee was organized to draft a charter for the incorporation of the city of Nauvoo. By the time of this letter, both the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives had passed the bill, which was signed into law on 16 December, the day after JS wrote this letter. (Minutes and Discourse, 3–5 Oct. 1840; Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840.)  

  31. 31

    A funeral sermon given for Joseph Smith Sr., who died 14 September 1840, was included in the September 1840 issue of the Times and Seasons. (Robert B. Thompson, “An Address Delivered at the Funeral of Joseph Smith Sen.,” Times and Seasons, Sept. 1840, 1:170–173.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  32. 32

    According to Vilate Murray Kimball, Joseph Smith Sr.ordai[ned] his sons Hiram to be a Patriarch, and pronounced great blessing upon all his children before he died.” (Vilate Murray Kimball, Nauvoo, IL, to Heber C. Kimball, 11 Oct. 1840, photocopy, Vilate Murray Kimball, Letters, 1840, CHL.)  

    Kimball, Vilate Murray. Letters, 1840. Photocopy. CHL.

  33. 33

    These converts included John C. Bennett, quartermaster general of the Illinois militia; Isaac Galland, a major property owner in the region of Hancock County, Illinois; James Adams, a probate judge in Sangamon County, Illinois; Sidney Knowlton, a prominent citizen of Hancock County and “scientific Farmer”; and three doctors: Robert D. Foster of Adams County; Lenox Knight of Putnam County, Indiana; and a Dr. Green of Shelby County, Illinois. (Proclamation, 15 Jan. 1841; Letter Extract, Times and Seasons, Feb. 1840, 1:61.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  34. 34

    Elam Luddington and Eli Terrill were apparently then proselytizing in New Orleans. They wrote a letter to JS on 4 January 1841, in which they requested additional assistance in the city. (“Summary,” Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1841, 2:339.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  35. 35

    The first organized company of British converts, comprising forty-one individuals, departed from Liverpool on 6 June 1840 and arrived in New York City on 20 July 1840. They would not arrive in Nauvoo until mid-April 1841. A second company of two hundred Saints, under the direction of Theodore Turley, departed Liverpool on 8 September 1840, reached New York on 11 October 1840, and arrived in Nauvoo beginning on 24 November 1840. (JS History, vol. C-1, 1061; William Clayton, Penwortham, England, to Brigham Young and Willard Richards, Manchester, England, 19 Aug. 1840, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL; “Book of the Life of Hugh Moon,” 25–26; Clayton, Diary, 8 Sept. 1840; 11 Oct. 1840; 24 Nov. 1840.)  

    Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.

    “The Book of the Life of Hugh Moon.” In Biographical Sketches of the Moon Family of Malad, Idaho, compiled by Deseret Moon, Elva E. Moon, Ellen Greer Rees, and Lavern Ward, 23–38. Provo, UT, 1955. Copy at BYU.

    Clayton, William. Diary, Vol. 1, 1840–1842. BYU.

  36. 36

    William Clayton, a member of Turley’s company, recorded in his journal that the group traveled variously by steamboat, canal boat, and wagon. After arriving at New York City, the group traveled to Nauvoo via the Hudson River, the Erie Canal, the Great Lakes, the Rock River, and the Mississippi River. At Buffalo the company encountered steamboat fares double what they had anticipated, which compelled those unable to afford their passage to leave the group and stay in Kirtland for the winter. (Clayton, Diary, 13 Oct.–24 Nov. 1840.)  

    Clayton, William. Diary, Vol. 1, 1840–1842. BYU.

  37. 37

    Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, and George A. Smith, Manchester, England, 12 Oct. 1840, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, 15 Dec. 1840, 2:250–252.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  38. 38

    On 20 July 1840, George A. Smith wrote, “I have had the pleasure of ordaining an Elder (William Barratt) a day after my return from Conference, who is now on his way for South Australia.” Brigham Young and Parley P. Pratt ordained William Donaldson an elder in June 1840. Donaldson, an English soldier, was assigned to go “to the east Indies” so that he could “carry the gospel to that People.” (“News from the Elders,” Times and Seasons, 1 Dec. 1840, 2:228–229; Woodruff, Journal, Note after entry for 6 July 1840.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  39. 39

    JS’s revision of the Bible included added material regarding Enoch, such as a panoptic vision in which the Lord “told Enck [Enoch] all the doings of the children of men wherefore Enoch knew and looked upon their wickedness and their misary and wept and stretched forth his arms & his heart swelled wide as eternity.” (Old Testament Revision 1, p. 17 [Moses 7:41].)  

  40. 40

    1 Corinthians 1:7.  

  41. 41

    See Romans 8:14.  

  42. 42

    Members of the Twelve had received at least two letters that documented the teaching of the doctrine in Nauvoo. (Phebe Carter Woodruff, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, to Wilford Woodruff, 6–19 Oct. 1840, digital scan, Wilford Woodruff, Collection, CHL; Vilate Murray Kimball, Nauvoo, IL, to Heber C. Kimball, 11 Oct. 1840, photocopy, Vilate Murray Kimball, Letters, 1840, CHL; Woodruff, Journal, 3 Dec. 1840.)  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Collection, 1831–1905. Digital scans. CHL. Originals in private possession.

    Kimball, Vilate Murray. Letters, 1840. Photocopy. CHL.

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  43. 43

    Vilate Murray Kimball reported that “by Revelation” JS had “received a more full explaination” of baptism for the dead than what was in the Bible. (Vilate Murray Kimball, Nauvoo, IL, to Heber C. Kimball, 11 Oct. 1840, photocopy, Vilate Murray Kimball, Letters, 1840, CHL.)  

    Kimball, Vilate Murray. Letters, 1840. Photocopy. CHL.

  44. 44

    1 Corinthians 15:29.  

  45. 45

    JS preached this funeral sermon on 15 August 1840. He provided further instruction on the ordinance during the October 1840 general conference held in Nauvoo. (Jane Harper Neyman and Vienna Jaques, Statement, 29 Nov. 1854, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, ca. 1839–1860, CHL; Simon Baker, “15 Aug. 1840 Minutes of Recollection of Joseph Smith’s Sermon,” JS Collection, CHL; Minutes and Discourse, 3–5 Oct. 1840.)  

    Historian’s Office. Joseph Smith History Documents, 1839–1860. CHL. CR 100 396.

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

  46. 46

    Phebe Carter Woodruff explained that JS taught that the Saints could be baptized “for their children, parents, b[r]others, sisters, grandparents, uncles, & aunts— but not for acquaintances unless they send a ministering spirit to their friends on earth.” (Phebe Carter Woodruff, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, to Wilford Woodruff, 6–19 Oct. 1840, digital scan, Wilford Woodruff, Collection, CHL.)  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Collection, 1831–1905. Digital scans. CHL. Originals in private possession.

  47. 47

    According to a record of a January 1836 vision, JS heard the voice of the Lord pronounce that “all who have died with[out] a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it, if they had been permited to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God— also all that shall die henseforth, without a knowledge of it, who would have received it, with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom.” (Visions, 21 Jan. 1836 [D&C 137:8].)  

  48. 48

    See 1 Peter 3:19. In 1838 JS explained that “all those who have not had an opportunity of hearing the gospel, and being administered to by an inspired man in the flesh, must have it hereafter, before they can be finally judged.” ([JS], Editorial, Elders’ Journal, July 1838, 43.)  

  49. 49

    In a letter dated 11 October 1840, Vilate Murray Kimball explained to her husband, “There is a perticlelar [particular] order that the Elders have to adminester [baptism for the dead] in, and to presurve this order it was President Smiths advise that it should not be attended to only in” Nauvoo. (Vilate Murray Kimball, Nauvoo, IL, to Heber C. Kimball, 11 Oct. 1840, photocopy, Vilate Murray Kimball, Letters, 1840, CHL.)  

    Kimball, Vilate Murray. Letters, 1840. Photocopy. CHL.

  50. 50

    TEXT: Cross-writing stops; horizontal writing resumes. This page of the letter, page [7], was written after the page had been trifolded. The trifolding created an address panel and two flaps. This page is inscribed on the two flaps.  

  51. 51

    This letter is apparently not extant.  

  52. 52

    In April 1840, Hyde and Page departed on a mission to “visit the Jews in New York, London, Amsterdam, and then visit Constantinople and the Holy Land.” Toward the end of August, Hyde left Page in Cincinnati with the understanding that Page would continue to raise funds for the mission and join him shortly thereafter. (Minutes and Discourse, 6–8 Apr. 1840; Orson Hyde and John E. Page, Quincy, IL, 28 Apr. 1840, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, June 1840, 1:116–117; Letter from Orson Hyde, 28 Sept. 1840.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  53. 53

    See Psalm 102:13.  

  54. 54

    Young and Richards asked in their 5 September letter, “What is the Lords will concerning Bro Richards? Shall he take his family to America next season? or shall he tary here with them awhile longer? what shall he do?” (Letter from Brigham Young and Willard Richards, 5 Sept. 1840.)  

  55. 55

    Thompson, then serving as JS’s personal secretary, was married to Fielding’s sister, Mercy Fielding Thompson. Robert Thompson was in the process of building Fielding a home in Nauvoo. (Fielding, Journal, Dec. 1843, 8.)  

    Fielding, Joseph. Journals, 1837–1859. CHL. MS 1567.

  56. 56

    Along the Mississippi River, more people contracted malaria in the summer months. In the mid-nineteenth century, this increase in malaria cases was seen as a result of seasonal miasmas, or vapors caused by “the decomposition of vegetable or animal matter.” (“Westminster Medical Society,” 849–851.)  

    “Westminster Medical Society, Saturday, February 23rd, 1839.” Lancet 1 (2 Mar. 1839): 849–851.

  57. 57

    In their 5 September 1840 letter, Young and Richards asked, “We have heard by the bye that Brothers Joseph & Hyram are coming to England next season. Is this good news true? May we look for you?” (Letter from Brigham Young and Willard Richards, 5 Sept. 1840.)  

  58. new scribe logo

    Signature of JS.  

  59. 58

    TEXT: The following text is cross-written over the text of page [7].  

  60. 59

    Shortly after the Twelve Apostles were first appointed, JS explained that they were to function as “a travelling, presiding high council.” (Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:33].)