Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 November 1832

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

<​Letter 1​> Nov 27th 1832—
Brother I say brother because I feel so from the heart and altho it is not long since I wrote a letter unto you yet I feel as tho<​ugh​> you would excuse me for writing this as I have many things which I wish to communicate some things which I will mention in this letter which are laying <​great​> with weight upon my mind I inform you I am well and family God grant that you may enjoy the same and yours and all the brethren and sisters who remember to enquire afte[r] the of the Lord and the welfare of and such a being as me and while I dictate this letter I fancy to myself that you are saying or thinking something simmiler to these words my God great and mighty art thou therefore shew unto thy servant what shall becom of all these who are assaying to come up unto in order to keep this the commandments of God and yet receive not there by by order or deed from the the man that God has appointed in a legal way agreeable to the law given to organiz[e] and regulate the and all the affairs of th[e] same; in the love of God having the most implicit confidence in you as a man of God having obtained this confidence by a vision of heavn therefore I will procede to unfold to you some of the feelings of my heart and procede to answer the question[.] firstly, it is the duty of the lord[’s] whom he has appointed to keep a hystory and a general church reccord of all things that transpire in and of all those who consecrate properties and receive inhertances legally from the bishop and also there manner of life and the faith and works and also of all the apostates who apostatize after receiving ther inhertances in that day shall not find an inheritanc[e] among the saints of the [p. 1] most high therefore it shall be done unto them as unto the children of the priest as you will find recorded in the second chapter and sixty first and second verses of Ezra now if what I have said is true how careful then had men aught to be what they do in the last days lest they think they stand should fall because they keep not the <​Lod [Lord’s]​> commandments while<​st​> you who obey who do the will of the lord and keep his commandments have need to rejoice with unspeakabl Joy for such shall be exalted very high and shall be lifted up in triumph above all the kingdoms of the world but I must drop this subject at the begining, O Lord when will the time come when thy servant and myself behold the day that we may stand together and gaze upon eternal wisdom engraven upon the heavens while the magesty of our God holdeth up the dark curtain until we may read the round of eternity to the fulness of our immortal souls, O Lord God deliver us in thy due time from the little narrow prison almost as it were total darkness of paper pen and Ink and a crooked broken scattered and imperfect Language, I would inform seccondly it is conterary to the will and of God that those who receive not the by agree[a]ble to his law which he has given that he may tithe his people to prepare them against the day of vengence and burning should have there names enrolled with the people of God, neithe[r] is the geneology to be kept or to be had where it may be found on any of the reccords or hystory of the there names shall not be found neithe[r] the names of ther fathers or the names of the children writen in the book of the Law of God saith [p. 2] the Lord of hosts yea thus saith the still small voice which whispereth through and pierceth all things and often times it maketh my heart bones to quake while it maketh manifest saying and it shall come to pass that I the Lord God will send on[e] mighty and strong holding the scepter of power in his hand clothed with light for a covering whose mouth shall utter words Eternal words while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth to set in order the house of God and to arange by lot the of the saints whose names are found and the names of their fathers and of their children enroled in the Book of the Law of God while that man who was called of God and appointed that puteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God shall fall by the shaft of death like as a tree that is smitten by the vived shaft of lightning and all they who are not found write [written] in the book of remmemberance shall find none inheritence in that day but they shall be cut assunder and their portion shall be appointed them among unbelievers where is wailing and gnashing of teeth these things I say not of myself therefore as the Lord speaketh he will also fulfill and they who are of the whose names are not found writen in the book of the Law or that ar[e] found to have appostitized or to have been cut off out of the as well as the or the members in that day shall not find an inheritence among th[e] saints of the most high therefore it shall be done unto them as unto the children of the Priest as you will find recorded in the second Book chapter and sixty first and second verses of Ezra now if what I say have said is true how careful then had men aught to be what they do in the last days lest they are cut assunder short of their expecttations and they that think [they?] stand should fall because they keep not the Lords whilst you who do the will of the Lord and keep his commandments have need to rejoice with unspeakable Joy for such shall be exalted very high and shall be lifted up in [p. 3] triumph above all the kingdoms of this world but I must drop this subject at the begining Oh Lord when will the time come when thy servent and myself behold the day that we may stand together and gase upon Eternal wisdom engraven upon the hevens while the magesty of our God holdeth up the dark curtain <​until​> we may read the round of Eternity to the fullness and satisfaction of our immortal souls Oh Lord God deliver us in thy due time from the little narrow prison almost as it were totel darkness of paper pen and ink and a crooked broken scattered and imperfect language I would inform you that I have obtained ten subscriboers for the star and received pay their names and place of residence as follows, John Mc.Mahhan, James Mc.Mahhan, James White, William Brown, Henry Kingery, Micayer Dillions, Abraham Kingery, John A Fisher, David Houghs, Thomas Singers, the papers and and all to be sent to Guy[a]ndotte the papers are all to be sent to Post office Verginea except David Houghs his is to be sent to Wayne <​County​> Township Worster County <​Township​> Ohio, has not r[e]ceived her Papers pleas inform her Sister <​Hariet​> that shee is well and give my respects to her tell her that Mr, Angels Brother came after her and the child soon after shee went from here all he wanted wanted was the child No More <​my​> love for all the Brotheren yours in bonds Amen
Joseph Smith Jr—
PS send the evening and morning star to Brothe[r] Watertown Jeffers[on] County New York all to be from first No—
Jos Sm [p. 4]

Footnotes

  1. new scribe logo

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  2. 1

    It is unclear to what letter JS refers, but the most recent extant JS letter to Phelps is dated 31 July 1832. (Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832.)  

  3. 2

    See Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:30–38]; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:7]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:17, 35–36]; and Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:68, 71].  

  4. 3

    This “vision of heavn” probably occurred sometime after JS wrote his letter of 31 July 1832 to Phelps. (See Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832.)  

  5. 4

    This reiterated a charge given to John Whitmer in a March 1831 revelation: “it shall be appointed unto you to Keep the Church Record & History continually.” (Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–B [D&C 47:3].)  

  6. 5

    At this point, Frederick G. Williams apparently began copying a later portion of the letter. JS then took over the copying, still in the wrong part of the letter, and copied several lines. Williams transcribed the rest of the section before realizing the mistake and crossing out the section. The entire canceled portion appears later in the letter.  

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    Frederick G. Williams handwriting ends; JS begins.  

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    JS handwriting ends; Frederick G. Williams begins.  

  9. 6

    TEXT: “when” written over “time” and then canceled with the rest of the passage.  

  10. 7

    A revelation dated 11 September 1831 stated that it was “a day of Sacrifice & a day for the tithing of my People for he that is tithed shall not be burned.” (Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831 [D&C 64:23].)  

  11. 8

    After conversing with JS about this passage in January 1834, Oliver Cowdery told John Whitmer, “The names of the saints are to be kept in a book that contains the law of God; this is what is meant in bro. Joseph’s letter.” Two February 1831 revelations contained the “Laws of the Church of Christ.” (Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to John Whitmer, [Liberty, MO], 1 Jan. 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 14–15; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:1–72]; Revelation, 23 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:74–93].)  

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

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    Frederick G. Williams handwriting ends; JS begins.  

  13. 9

    See 1 Kings 19:12.  

  14. 10

    TEXT: Word runs off the page.  

  15. 11

    See Isaiah 28:2.  

  16. 12

    According to the Bible, the Lord told Moses to divide the land of Canaan among the children of Israel by lot. (Numbers 26:52–56; 34:13.)  

  17. 13

    No such record kept by Whitmer or Phelps during this period is extant. In the early 1840s, however, JS directed the keeping of “the Book of the Law of the Lord,” which contained both his journal entries and tithing donations for the construction of the Nauvoo, Illinois, temple. (JS, Journal, Dec. 1841–Dec. 1842; Smith, “Book of the Law of the Lord,” 131–163.)  

    Smith, Alex D. “The Book of the Law of the Lord,” Journal of Mormon History 38 (Fall 2012): 131–163.

  18. 14

    Writing about this passage in January 1834, Oliver Cowdery explained, “Brother Joseph says, that the item in his letter that says, that the man that is called &c. and puts forth his hand to steady the ark of God, does not mean that any one had at the time, but it was given for a caution to those in high standing to beware, lest they should fall by the shaft of death as the Lord had said.” (Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to John Whitmer, [Liberty, MO], 1 Jan. 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 15.)  

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

  19. 15

    See Malachi 3:16. JS’s revisions to Genesis that became known as the Book of Moses discussed a book of remembrance written “in the Language of Adam.” (Old Testament Revision 1, pp. 11–13 [Moses chap. 6].)  

  20. 16

    TEXT: Word runs off the page.  

  21. 17

    TEXT: Word runs off the page.  

  22. 18

    JS used similar language in his 31 July 1832 letter to Phelps, stating, “Now this is a warning to all to whom this knowledge may come, and he that thinks he stands, let him take heed least he fall.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832.)  

  23. 19

    See 1 Peter 1:8.  

  24. 20

    The subscription rate for The Evening and the Morning Star was “one dollar for a year in advance.” JS may have received these subscriptions on his trip to the eastern states in October and November 1832. (Notice, The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832, [8].)  

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

  25. 21

    Phelps reported in the November 1832 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star that “new churches have been built up” in a variety of locations, including Guyandotte, Virginia. (“The Gathering,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Nov. 1832, [6].)  

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

  26. 22

    Vienna Jaques’s sister Harriet was married to a “Mr Angel.” In July 1832, Orson Hyde and Samuel Smith stayed with the Angels near Providence, Rhode Island. Although Angel was at first friendly to the missionaries, his feelings changed when Harriet expressed her desire to take their eleven-year-old child to Zion in Missouri. Hyde and Smith initially counseled Harriet to stay with her husband, even though it was clear he had abused her in the past, “but when he turned against [the] work we concluded that if the way opened that it was best for her to go.” This letter indicates that Harriet and her son did indeed go to Missouri. Whether Jaques traveled with them from New England to Ohio is unclear, but the information in this letter implies Jaques may have been in Ohio in fall 1832. Jaques did not move to Missouri until 1833. (Samuel Smith, Diary, 22 July and 26 Nov. 1832; see also Hyde, Journal, 22 July 1832; and Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, 2 July 1833.)  

    Smith, Samuel. Diary, Feb. 1832–May 1833. CHL. MS 4213.

    Hyde, Orson. Journal, Feb. 1832–Mar. 1833. CHL. MS 1386.

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