Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833

Kirtland Ohio May 2d 1833
I commence answering your letter &  sincere request to me, by begging your pardon for not having  addressed you, more particularly in letters which I have written to  Zion, for I have always felt, as though a letter written to any one  in authority in Zion, would be the property of all, & it mattered but  little to whom it was directed. But I am satisfied that this is an  error, for instruction that is given pointedly, and expressly to us,  designating our names as individuals, seems to have double power  and influence over our minds, I am thankful to the Lord for  the testimony of his spirit, which he has given me, concerning your honesty,  and sincerity before him, and the Lord loveth you, and also Zion, for  he chasteneth whom he loveth, and scourgeth every son & daughter whom he  receiveth, and he, will not suffer you to be confounded, and of this thing you  may rest assured, notwithstanding, all the threatning of the enemy, and your  perils among false brethren, For verily I say unto you, that this is my  prayer, and I verily believe the prayer of all the saints in Kirtland, recorded  in heaven, in these words, Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ thy son, pre serve brother Edward, the bishop of thy church, and give him wisdom, knowledge  & power, & the holy ghost, that he may impart to thy saints in Zion. their  inheritance, & to every man his portion of meat in due season, and  now, this is our confidence & record on high, therefore fear not little flock, for it  has been your fathers good will to giv[e] you the king[dom], and now, I will  proceed to tell you my views, concerning consecration, property, and giving  inheritances &c. The law of the Lord, binds you to receive, whatsoever property  is consecrated, by deed, The consecrated property, is considered the residue  kept for the Lords store house, and it is given for this consideration, for  to purchase inheritaces for the poor, this, any man has a right to do,  agreeable to all laws of our country, to donate, give or consecrate all that  he feels disposed to give, and it is your duty, to see that whatsoever is  given, is given legally, therefore, it must be given for the consideration  of the poor saints, and in this way no man can take any advantage  of you in law, Again, concerning inheritances, you are bound by  the law of the Lord, to give a deed, secureing to him who receives inherit ances, his inheritance, for an everlasting inheritance, or in other words, to be his  individual prope[r]ty, his privat[e] ste[wa]rdship, and if he is found a transgressor  & should be cut off, out of the church, his inheritance is his still and he is dilivere [delivered]  over to the buffetings of satan, till the day of redemption, But the property which  he consecrated to the poor, for their benefit, & inheritance, & stewardship, he cannot  obtain again by the law of the Lord, Thus you see the propriety of this law, that  rich men cannot have power to disinherit the poor by obtaining again that  which they have consecrated, which is the residue, signified in the law, that  you will find in the second paragraph of the extract from the law, in the second  number, And now b[r]other Edward, be assured that we all feel thankful, that  the brethren in Zion are beginning to humble themselves, & trying to keep the comman dments of the Lord, which is our prayer to God, you may all be able to do, and  now, may the grace of God be with all, amen.
Joseph Smith Jun
The above is a true copy of a letter, directed &  sent, & subscribed agreeable thereto [p. [1]]
This letter from JS introduced an important adjustment to how the law of consecration was to be implemented among the Missouri members. The initial arrangement had been called into question on legal grounds related to personal property rights. This communication specified a distinction between what might be retained by the church as a donation and what should be considered individual property. The church’s bishop in Missouri, Edward Partridge, was counseled to draft future deeds to reflect this revised interpretation.
JS sent this communication from Kirtland, Ohio, to Partridge in Independence, Missouri. The original has not been located. Partridge made a copy on the back of a printed form used as a stewardship deed, perhaps as early as June 1833.