Letter to Editor, 22 January 1840

Brandywine Chester Co Pa Jan. 22d 1840
Faith of the Latter Day Saints on Governments  and Laws in general
Mr Editor Sir
For as much as many false rumors are a broad  in the world concerning my self and the fa ith which I profess and that my belief with  regard to Earthly governments and laws in gen eral may not be miss interpreted nor miss  understood I have thought proper to present  for your consideration and for the consideration  of the public (if you will do me the favour.)  through your valuable and interesting paper  my opinions concerning the same
First I believe that goverments were instituted  of God for the benefit of man and that he holds  men accountable for their their acts in relation  to them Either in making laws or administering  them for the good and safety of Society
<Secondly> I believe that no goverment can exist in peace  except such laws are framed and held inviolate as  will secure to each individual the free exercise  of conscince the right and controll of property and  the protection of life
<Third> <I> We believe that all governments necessarily re quire civel officers and magistrates to inforce the  Laws of the Same and that such as will administer  the Law <of the Same> in equity and justice should be sou ght for and upheld by the voice of the people  (if a republick) or the will of the Sovreign
<Fourth> I believe that a religion is instiuted instituted  of God and that men are ameniable to him  <and to him onley> onley for the exercise of it unless their religious  opinion prompts them to infringe upon the righ ts and <libertey> privalegs <privaleges> of others But I doo not be lieve that human Law has a right to inter fear in prescribing rules of worship to bind the  conciences of men nor do dictate forms for public  or private devotion That the civel magistrate shou ld restrane crime but never controll conscience  should punish guilt but never supress the freedom of the <soul> [p. [1]]
JS, letter, Brandywine, PA, to the editor of The Chester County Register and Examiner, 22 Jan. 1840; unidentified handwriting with signature of JS; four pages; private possession.