Letter to the Church, not after 18 December 1833

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Dear Brethren in Christ, and companions in tribulation:
It seemeth good unto us, to drop a few lines to you, giving you some instruction relative to conducting the affairs of the kingdom of God, which has been committed unto us in these later times, by the will and testament of our Mediator, whose intersessions in our behalf, are lodged in the bosom of the Eternal Father, and ere long will burst with blessings upon the heads of all the faithful:
We have all been children, and are too mutch so at the present time; but we hope in the Lord, that we may grow in grace and be prepared for all things which the bosom of futurity may disclose unto us. Time is rapidly rolling on, and the prophecies must be fulfilled. The days of tribulation are fast approaching, and the time to test the fidelity of the Saints, has come.— Rumor with her ten thousand tongues is diffusing her uncertain sounds in almost every ear: but in these times of sore trial, let the saints be patient and see the salvation of God. Those who cannot endure persecution and stand in the day of affliction, cannot stand in the day when the Son of God shall burst the veil, and appear in all the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
On the subject of , a few words are necessary: In many instances there has been too much haste in this thing, and the admonition of Paul has been too slightingly passed over, which says, “Lay hands suddenly upon no man.” Some have been ordained to the ministry, and have never acted in that capacity, or magnified their calling, at all: Such may expect to lose their calling, except they awake and magnify their office. Let the elders abroad be exceedingly careful upon this subject, and when they ordain a man to the holy ministry, let it be a faithful man, who is able to teach others also; that the cause of Christ suffer not. It is not the multitude of preachers that is to bring about the glorious Millenium! but it is those who are “called, and chosen, and faithful.”
Let the elders be exceedingly careful about unnecessarily disturbing and harrowing up the feelings of the people. Remember, that your business is, to preach the gospel in all humility and meekness, and warn sinners to repent and come to Christ. Avoid contentions and vain disputes with men of corrupt minds, who do not desire to know the truth. Remember that “it is a day of warning, and not a day of many words.” If they receive not your testimony in one place, flee to another, remembering, to cast no reflections, nor throw out any bitter sayings. If you do your duty, it will be just as well with you, as though all men embraced the gospel.
Be careful about sending boys to preach the gospel to the world; if they go, let them be accompanied by some one who is able to guide them in the proper channel, lest they become puffed up, and fall under condemnation and into the snare of the devil: finally, in these critical times, be careful; call on the Lord day and night. Beware of pride: Beware of false brethren, who will creep in among you to spy out your liberties, &c. Awake to righteousness and sin not; let your light shine, and show yourselves workmen that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Apply yourselves diligently to study, that your minds may be stored with all necessary information.
We remain your brethren in Christ, anxiously praying for the day of redemption to come, when iniquity shall be swept from the earth; and everlasting righteousness brought in:
Farewell. [p. 120]


  1. 1

    As articulated in JS’s revelations, JS and the presidency of the high priesthood held “the keys of the kingdom of God,” indicating that they were responsible for conducting the affairs of the “kingdom of God.” The wording of the letter here suggests that JS was involved in the creation of this letter or was at least responsible for what it said. (Revelation, 30 Oct. 1831 [D&C 65:2]; Revelation, 8 Mar. 1833 [D&C 90:6].)  

  2. 2

    See Romans 8:34; Hebrews 8:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; and Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76:69].  

  3. 3

    See Isaiah 52:10; and Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:66].  

  4. 4

    Regarding persecution, a revelation dictated by JS on 16–17 December 1833 declared, “Therefore they must needs be chastened and tried even as Abraham who was commanded to offer up his only son for all those who will not endure chastening but deny me cannot be sanctified.” (Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:4–5].)  

  5. 5

    1 Timothy 5:22.  

  6. 6

    Minute Book 1 and letters written over the previous two years cite several cases in which men were brought before an ecclesiastical council and had their licenses or priesthood responsibilities taken away for not “magnifying” their callings or for improper conduct. (See, for example, Minute Book 1, 29 Dec. 1832; Minutes, 21 June 1833; Minutes, 2 May 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Eugene, IN, 2 July 1833; and Letter to Church Leaders in Geneseo, NY, 23 Nov. 1833.)  

  7. 7

    Revelation 17:14. A JS revelation dictated over two years earlier declared, “Wherefore now let every man learn his duty & to act in the office in which he is appointed in all diligence he that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand & he that learneth not his duty & sheweth himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand even so Amen.” (Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:99–100].)  

  8. 8

    William W. Phelps gave similar advice to “Elders of the Church of Christ” in The Evening and the Morning Star over a year earlier: “Warn in compassion, without threatening the wicked with judgments which are to be poured upon the world hereafter. You have no right . . . to collect the calamities of six thousand years, and paint them upon the curtain of these last days, to scare mankind to repentance; no; you are to preach the gospel . . . even glad tidings of great joy unto all people.” ([William W. Phelps], “To the Elders of the Church of Christ, Who Preach Good Tidings to the World,” 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.

  9. 9

    See Titus 3:9.  

  10. 10

    Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:58].  

  11. 11

    See Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:106].  

  12. 12

    See 1 Timothy 3:6.  

  13. 13

    See Revelation, Apr. 1830–A [D&C 23:1]; Revelation, July 1830–C [D&C 25:14]; and Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:39].  

  14. 14

    See Galatians 2:4.  

  15. 15

    See 2 Timothy 2:15.  

  16. 16

    A September 1832 revelation counseled, “Treasure up in your minds continually the words of life and it shall be given you in the very hour that po[r]tion that shall be meeted unto evry man.” The December 1832 revelation that called for the organization of the “school of the prophets” also emphasized the importance of education for those who had been called to the ministry in the Church of Christ. (Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:85]; Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:77–80].)