Letter to the Church in Clay County, Missouri, 22 January 1834

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

To the brethren in Christ Jesus scattered abroad from the Land of their Greeting
We your companions in tribulation embrace the present oppertunity of sending you this token of our love and good will assuring you that our bowels are filled with compassion and that our prayers are dailey assending to God in the name of Jesus Christ in your behalf
We have just received inteligence from you through the medium of [of] [Ohio,] making inquiries concerning the course which you are to persue. In addition to the knowledge contained in the above upon this subject; we say if it is not the duty of the to call out and keep a standing force in to protect you on your Lands, which it appears must be done, as we understand that the mob are determined to massecree you if the take you back upon your lands and leave you unprotected. It will become your duty to petition the to petition the President to send a force of men there to protect you are reinstated. The proposes to take you back to your lands whenever you are ready to go (if we understand correctly) but cannot keep up and army to guard you; and while the hostile feelings of the people of remain unabated probably you dare not go back to be left unguarded. Therefore, in your petition to the set all these things forth in there proper light, and pray him to notify the President of your situation and also petition the President yourselves according to the direction of the Lord We have petitioned in your behalf and enclosed in it a printed revelation, the source of this which we now send to you. The petition was signed by something like sixty brethren and mailed to go to one week ago, and he will probably received it two weeks [p. 79] before you receive this We also calculate to send a petition and this revelation to the President forthwith in your behalf and then we will act the part of the poor widow to perfection if possable, and let our rulers read their destiny if they do not lend a helping hand. We exhort you to prosecute and try every lawful means to bring the mob to Justice as fast as circumstances will permit. With regard to your tarrig [tarrying] in we cannot say you must be governed by circumstances. perhaps you will have to hire out or take farms to cultivate to obtain your bread until the Lord deliver.
We have sent you a $50= note US some time ago if you have received it please acknowledge the rec[eip]t of it to us that we may be satisfied you have got it. We Shall do all that is in our power to assist you in every way we can. We know your case is a trying one but be patient and not murmr against the Lord and you shall see that all these things shall turn to your greatest good.
Inquire of and find out the entire secret of mixing or compounding lead and Antimo[n]y so as to make type mettle [metal] and write us concerning it Bro Joseph tells me that he has sent another $50= note making $100, to you, write us concerning it, there is a prospect of the eastern doing something pretty handsome toward the deliverance of in the course of a year if Zion is not delivered otherwise Tho the Lord says this affliction came upon you because of your sin polluting your &c yet there is an exception of some namely the heads of Zion for the Lord said your brethren in begin to repent, and the Angels rejoice over them &c you will also see an exception at the top of the 2d collum of this revelation Therefore this affliction came upon the Church to chastin those in transgression, and prepare the hearts of those who had repented for an from the Lord. We shall not be able to send [p. 80] you any more money at present unless the Lord put it into our power hands unexpectedly. our calls for money are many and pressing. There is not quite so much danger of a Mob upon us as there has been. The hand of the Lord has thus far been stretched out to protect us, an apostate from this has been to the State of and gathered up all the rediculous stories that could be invented and some affidavits respecting the character of Bro Joseph and the Smith family and he exhibeted them to numerous congregations in and and fired the minds of the people with much indignation against Bro Joseph and the Church. also made many harsh threats &c that he would take the life of Bro Joseph if he could not distroy Mormonism without. Bro Joseph took him with a peace warrant and after 3 days trial and investigating the merits of our religion in the town of by able attorney[s] on both sides he was bound over to the Court. thus his influence was pritty much distroyed, and since the trial the spirit of hostility seames to be broken down in a good degree but how long it will continue so we cannot say
You purchaced your with money, Therefore behold you are blessed. you have not purchaced your lands by the shedding of blood consiquently you do not come under the censure of that which says “if by blood lo your enemies are upon you and ye shall be driven from city to city” give youselves no uneasiness on this account
Farewell in the bonds of the and partakers in tribulation
Clk of the
Jany 22d 1834 [p. 81]


  1. 1

    In JS Letterbook 1, this letter is preceded by a notation that identifies the recipients as “Brethren scattered from Zion.” (JS Letterbook 1, p. 79.)  

  2. 2

    To ensure that adversaries did not intercept letters addressed to church leaders in Kirtland, Frederick G. Williams directed church members in Missouri on 10 October 1833 to send letters to Elliott, who would then forward them to church leaders. (Frederick G. Williams, Kirtland, OH, to “Dear Brethren,” 10 Oct. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 56–60.)  

  3. 3

    A probable reference to the letter just received from Elliott in Chagrin, Ohio.  

  4. 4

    Phelps told the leaders in Kirtland, “The mob sware, if we come we shall die!” (Letter from William W. Phelps, 15 Dec. 1833, italics in original.)  

  5. 5

    Dunklin officially informed church leaders in Missouri on 4 February 1834 that maintaining militia troops in Jackson County “would transcend the powers” he possessed as governor of Missouri. (Daniel Dunklin, Jefferson City, MO, to William W. Phelps et al., 4 Feb. 1834, copy, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL.)  

    Phelps, William W. Collection of Missouri Documents, 1833–1837. CHL. MS 657.

  6. 6

    The 16–17 December 1833 revelation commanded the church members in Missouri to “importune at the feet of the President.” Church leaders in Missouri wrote to United States president Andrew Jackson and Missouri governor Daniel Dunklin the following April. (Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:88]; Edward Partridge et al., Petition to Andrew Jackson, 10 Apr. 1834; Sidney Gilbert et al., Liberty, MO, to Andrew Jackson, 10 Apr. 1834, copy; William W. Phelps et al., Liberty, MO, to Daniel Dunklin, 10 Apr. 1834, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL.)  

    Phelps, William W. Collection of Missouri Documents, 1833–1837. CHL. MS 657.

  7. 7

    The petition to Governor Dunklin has not been located.  

  8. 8

    No petition to President Andrew Jackson from church leaders in Kirtland has been located.  

  9. 9

    In instructing members of the church in Missouri to petition government authorities for help, the 16–17 December 1833 revelation referenced the parable given in Luke 18:1–5 about a widow who importunes an unjust judge for justice. (Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:81–89].)  

  10. 10

    The 16–17 December 1833 revelation warned that if the president did not heed the Mormons’ call for help, the Lord will “arise and come forth out of his hiding place & in his fury vex the nation and in his hot displeasure and in his fierce ander [anger] in his time will cut off these wicked unfaithful and unjust stewards and appoint them their portion among hypocrits and unbelievers even in outer darkness where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:89–91].)  

  11. 11

    Dunklin and other Missouri authorities anticipated that the legal proceedings against members of the Jackson County mob would begin in the February 1834 term of the Jackson County circuit court. On 23 February 1834, Phelps and several other church members, including John Corrill and Edward Partridge, entered Jackson County under a heavy guard to testify at the proceedings. The men, however, were escorted out of Independence the following day—without having offered any testimony in the case—after Judge John F. Ryland, circuit attorney Amos Rees, and Missouri attorney general Robert W. Wells concluded that it was “entirely unnecessarry to investigate this subject on the part of the State, as the jury were equally concerned in the outrages committed it was therefore not likely that any bills [of indictment] would be found and consequently no good could possibly result from any further investigation.” (Letter from William W. Phelps, 27 Feb. 1834; “Mormon Difficulties,” Missouri Intelligencer and Boon’s Lick Advertiser [Columbia], 8 Mar. 1834, [1].)  

    Missouri Intelligencer and Boon’s Lick Advertiser. Franklin, MO, 1819–1827; Fayette, MO, 1827–1830; Columbia, MO, 1830–1835.

  12. 12

    Marsh, one of the church’s leaders in Missouri, had worked at a Boston type foundry for several years in the 1820s. A new printing press, replacing the one lost in a mob attack in Jackson County in July 1833, began operation in Kirtland in December 1833. (JS, Journal, 4–6 and 18 Dec. 1833; Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to William W. Phelps, 30 Mar. 1834, Cowdery, Letterbook, 36–38; “T B Marsh,” [1], Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1856–1858, 1861, CHL.)  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

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

  13. 13

    According to the 16–17 December 1833 revelation, all the branches of the church were to “gather to gether all their monies” and purchase “all the Land which can be purchaced in Jackson County and the counties round about.” (Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:71–72].)  

  14. 14

    Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:1–2, 6].  

  15. 15

    The information in this sentence was given in a March 1833 revelation. (Revelation, 8 Mar. 1833 [D&C 90:34].)  

  16. 16

    The top of the second column of the printed version of the 16–17 December 1833 revelation states, “Behold, here is wisdom concerning the children of Zion: even many, but not all: they were found transgressors, therefore, they must needs be chastened. He that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that abaseth himself shall be exalted.” (Verily, I Say unto You, concerning Your Brethren Who Have Been Afflicted, [Kirtland, OH: ca. Jan. 1834], copy at CHL [D&C 101:41–42].)  

    Verily, I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted. [Kirtland, OH: ca. Jan. 1834]. Copy at CHL.

  17. 17

    The affidavits that Hurlbut collected from New York—concerning both the character of the Smith family and the origin of the Book of Mormon—were published in E. D. Howe’s book Mormonism Unvailed. (Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, chaps. 17, 19; for Mormon perspectives on the Hurlbut affidavits, see Oliver Cowdery, Editorial, The Evening and the Morning Star, Apr. 1834, 150; for more information on Hurlbut, see Historical Introductions to Appeal and Minutes, 21 June 1833; and to Note to Newel K. Whitney, ca. Oct. 1833–Early 1834.)  

    Howe, Eber D. Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A Faithful Account of That Singular Imposition and Delusion, from Its Rise to the Present Time. With Sketches of the Characters of Its Propagators, and a Full Detail of the Manner in Which the Famous Golden Bible Was Brought before the World. To Which Are Added, Inquiries into the Probability That the Historical Part of the Said Bible Was Written by One Solomon Spalding, More Than Twenty Years Ago, and by Him Intended to Have Been Published as a Romance. Painesville, OH: By the author, 1834.

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

  18. 18

    Hurlbut was “lieing in a wonderful manner,” JS wrote on 18 August 1833, “and the peapl [people] are running after him and giveing him mony to b[r]ake down mormanism which much endangers our lives.” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833.)  

  19. 19

    The text of the 30 August 1831 revelation cited here reads, “If by blood as ye are forbidden to shed blood lo your enemies are upon you & ye shall be scourged from city to city & from Synagogue to synagogue.” In his 15 December letter, William W. Phelps similarly stated, “If, from what has been done in Zion, we, or the most of us, have got to be persecuted from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, we want to know it.” (Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:31]; Letter from William W. Phelps, 15 Dec. 1833.)