Prayer, 11 January 1834

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

January 11, 1834. This evening Joseph Smith Jr, , , , , and united in prayer and asked the Lord to grant the following petition: [p. 43]
Firstly, That the Lord would grant that our lives might be precious in his sight, that he would watch over our persons and give his angels charge concerning us and our families that no evil nor unseen hand might be permitted to harm us.
Secondly, That the Lord would also hold the lives of all the , and not suffer that any of them shall be taken.
Thirdly, That the Lord would grant that our brother Joseph might prevail over [p. 44] his enemy, even , who has threatened his life, whom brother Joseph has <​caused to be​> taken with a precept; that the Lord would fill the heart of the Court with a spirit to do justice, and cause that the law of the land may be magnified in bringing him to justice.
Fourthly, That the Lord would provide, in the order of his Providence, the of this with means sufficient to discharge every debt that the owes, in due season, that [p. 45] the may not be braught into disrepute, and the saints be afflicted by the hands of their enemies.
Fifthly, That the Lord would protect our printing press from the hands of evil men, and give us means to send forth his word, even his gospel that the ears of all may hear it, and also that we may print his scriptures; and also that he would give those who were appointed to conduct the press, wisdom sufficient that the cause [p. 46] may not be hindered, but that men’s eyes may thereby be opened to see the truth.
Sixthly, That the Lord would deliver , and gather in his scattered people, to possess it in peace; and also, while in their dispersion, that he would provide for them that they perish not with hunger nor cold. And finally, that God in the name of Jesus would gather his elect speedily, and unveil his face that his saints [p. 47] might behold his glory and dwell with him; Amen. [p. 48]


  1. 1

    “Precept” here refers to a “command in writing by a Justice of Peace, or other Officer, for bringing a person or records before him.” On 21 December 1833, JS filed a complaint with Kirtland justice of the peace John Dowen, whose decision in a preliminary hearing stated that JS “had reason to fear that Doctor P. Hurlbut would Beat wound or kill him.” Dowen, who then issued a warrant for Hurlbut’s arrest, later claimed that when Hurlbut said he would “kill” JS, “he meant he would kill Mormonism.” (“Precept,” in Tomlins, Law-Dictionary, 5:271; Geauga Co., OH, Court of Common Pleas, Court Records, 1807–1904, Final Record Book P, pp. 431–432, microfilm 20,278, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; John C. Dowen, Statement, 2 Jan. 1885, Collection of Manuscripts about Mormons, 1832–1954, Chicago History Museum.)  

    Tomlins, Thomas Edlyne. The Law-Dictionary: Explaining the Rise, Progress, and Present State of the British Law; Defining and Interpreting the Terms or Words of Art; and Comprising Also Copious Information on the Subjects of Trade and Government. 3rd ed. 2 vols. London: Payne and Foss, 1820.

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Manuscripts about Mormons at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, ca. 1832–1954. Microfilm. Chicago Historical Society.

  2. 2

    Following a change of venue to Chardon, Ohio, a second preliminary hearing for Hurlbut was held from 13–15 January 1834, at which time Justice of the Peace William Holbrook found that JS had just cause to issue the complaint and ordered Hurlbut to keep the peace and to appear before the court of common pleas at the start of its next term, 31 March 1834. On 9 April 1834, the court of common pleas found that JS “had ground to fear” an attack from Hurlbut and ordered Hurlbut to post a $200 bond to keep the peace and pay the court costs of $112.59. (Geauga Co., OH, Court of Common Pleas, Court Records, 1807–1904, Final Record Book M, p. 193, microfilm 20,277; Final Record Book P, pp. 431–432, microfilm 20,278, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  3. 3

    Newel K. Whitney.  

  4. 4

    Revelations of November and December 1831 mandated that a compilation of JS’s revelations be published. Efforts to publish such a compilation—titled the Book of Commandments—began in November 1831 but were interrupted on 20 July 1833 when a mob in Jackson County, Missouri, destroyed the church printing office. JS and his associates published a new collection of revelations, the Doctrine and Covenants, in Kirtland in 1835. A revelation dated 4 December 1831 stipulated that the church was also to publish JS’s translation of the Bible. This translation, however, was not published in JS’s lifetime. (Revelation, 1 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 1:6]; Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–B [D&C 72:20–21]; Minutes, 1–2 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831; Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–B [D&C 94:10]; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 6 Aug. 1833.)  

  5. 5

    On 11 September 1833, United Firm members JS, Sidney Rigdon, Newel K. Whitney, Frederick G. Williams, and Oliver Cowdery held a council in which they determined to establish a printing press in Kirtland under the auspices of the firm “F. G. Williams and Company.” The firm was directed to publish a new paper, the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, and to continue, under the direction of Oliver Cowdery, publishing The Evening and the Morning Star—the church newspaper printed in Independence, Missouri, before the press there was destroyed in July 1833—until the paper could be moved back to Missouri. Members of the firm also planned to publish a weekly political paper later titled the Northern Times. Cowdery purchased a new press and type in New York, and the press began operation in December 1833. In a letter written two months later, JS recalled how he, Cowdery, and others had had to “lie every night for a long time upon our arms to keep off mobs, of forties, of eighties, & of hundreds to save our lives and the press.” (Minutes, 11 Sept. 1833; Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:47–53; JS, Journal, 4–6 and 18 Dec. 1833; Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 30 Mar. 1834, underlining in original.)  

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

  6. 6

    In December 1833, William W. Phelps wrote that church members in Missouri were scattered in Clay, Ray, Lafayette, Jackson, and Van Buren counties, and that their “situation . . . affords a gloomy prospect.” However, a JS revelation dictated that same month promised that church members in Missouri would again possess their lands in Jackson County: “Zion shall not be moved out of her place notwithstanding her children are scattered they that remain and are pure in heart shall return and come to their inheritances.” (Letter from William W. Phelps, 15 Dec. 1833; Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:17–18].)