26024

“Latter Day Saints,” 1844

not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume, as the leaves of a book, with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The characters on the unsealed part were small and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction, and much skill in the art of engraving. With the records was found a curious instrument which the ancients called “Urim and Thummim,” which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rim on a bow fastened to a breastplate.
Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record, by the gift and power of God.
In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages, to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era.
We are informed by these records, that America, in ancient times, has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites, and came directly from the tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed, about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians who now inhabit this country

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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. This book also tells us that our Saviour made his appearance upon this continent after his resurrection; that he planted the gospel here in all its fulness, and richness, and power, and blessing; that they had apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists; the same order, the same priesthood, the same ordinances, gifts, powers, and blessing, as was enjoyed on the eastern continent; that the people were cut off in consequence of their transgressions; that the last of their prophets who existed among them was commanded to write an abridgment of their prophecies, history, &c., and to hide it up in the earth, and that it should come forth and be united with the Bible, for the accomplishment of the purposes of God, in the last days. For a more particular account, I would refer to the Book of Mormon, which can be purchased at Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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, or from any of our travelling elders.
As soon as the news of this discovery was made known, false reports, misrepresentation and slander flew, as on the wings of the wind, in every direction; my house was frequently beset by mobs, [p. 406]
not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings  in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume, as the leaves  of a book, with three rings running through the whole. The volume  was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was  sealed. The characters on the unsealed part were small and beauti fully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity  in its construction, and much skill in the art of engraving. With the  records was found a curious instrument which the ancients called  “Urim and Thummim,” which consisted of two transparent stones  set in the rim on9

Church History” has “of.”  


a bow fastened to a breastplate.
Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the  record, by the gift and power of God.
In this important and interesting book the history of ancient Ame rica is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from  the tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages, to the beginning of  the fifth century of the Christian era.
We are informed by these records, that America, in ancient times,  has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were  called Jaredites, and came directly from the tower of Babel. The  second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six  hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the  descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed, about the  time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them  in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second  race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The  remnant are the Indians who now inhabit this country

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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. This book  also tells us that our Saviour made his appearance upon this continent  after his resurrection; that he planted the gospel here in all its fulness,  and richness, and power, and blessing; that they had apostles,  prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists; the same order, the same  priesthood, the same ordinances, gifts, powers, and blessing, as was  enjoyed on the eastern continent; that the people were cut off in con sequence of their transgressions; that the last of their prophets who  existed among them was commanded to write an abridgment of their  prophecies, history, &c., and to hide it up in the earth, and that it  should come forth and be united with the Bible, for the accomplish ment of the purposes of God, in the last days. For a more particular  account, I would refer to the Book of Mormon, which can be pur chased at Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

More Info
, or from any of our travelling elders.
As soon as the news of this discovery was made known, false re ports, misrepresentation and slander flew, as on the wings of the  wind, in every direction; my house was frequently beset by mobs, [p. 406]
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In July 1843, JS received a letter from Clyde, Williams & Co. of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, announcing the planned publication of a volume of articles “written expressly for the Work, by distinguished Divines” from various religious denominations in the United States

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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. The letter invited JS or “some other competent person” representing the Latter-day Saints to submit an “impartial account of the Rise and Progress, Faith and Practice” of the church.1

Clyde, Williams & Co., Harrisburg, PA, to JS, Nauvoo, IL, ca. 15 July 1843, JS Collection, CHL.  


On behalf of JS, William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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prepared a letter in reply, promising that an article would be “matured and forwarded in season to meet your anticipations.”2

JS per William W. Phelps, Nauvoo, IL, to Clyde, Williams & Co., Harrisburg, PA, 1 Aug. 1843, JS Collection, CHL. Volumes describing various religious denominations were not uncommon in this time period. In addition to John Hayward’s 1836 Religious Creeds and Statistics, Robert Baird published A View of Religion in America in Glasgow in 1842, with a revised edition, titled Religion in America, printed in the United States two years later and reprinted many times thereafter. Other examples are P. Douglas Gorrie, The Churches and Sects of the United States, (New York: Lewis Colby, 1850), and Joseph Belcher, The Religious Denominations in the United States, (Philadelphia: J. E. Potter, 1854). Rupp’s volume is distinctive in that it is a collection of essays written by representatives of the respective denominations.  


The resulting essay, published as “Latter Day Saints,” was a revised version of “Church History,” an overview of Latter-day Saint history and doctrine recently written in response to a similar request and published in the church newspaper.3

See JS, “Church History”. When JS composed “Church History,” he quoted from Orson Pratt’s A[n] Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions.  


Taken as a whole, the revisions highlight JS’s emphasis on revelation, with a new opening paragraph explaining the revelatory foundations of the church and JS’s prophetic calling. The revised essay, composed in September 1843, also expanded on the achievements of the hardworking Latter-day Saints, noting the progress of Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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, Illinois, during the eighteen months since the publication of “Church History.” Whereas the earlier version noted simply, “We have commenced to build a city called ‘Nauvoo’” and alluded only briefly to the city charter, the Nauvoo Legion, and the Saints’ missionary outreach, “Latter Day Saints” elaborated on these now-implemented plans.4

JS, “Church History,” 709.  


The Nauvoo Legion was growing in numbers, and the University of Nauvoo was to be a place “where all the arts and sciences will grow.” The newly begun temple

JS revelation, dated Jan. 1841, commanded Saints to build temple and hotel (Nauvoo House). Cornerstone laid, 6 Apr. 1841. Saints volunteered labor, money, and other resources for temple construction. Construction directed by committee, which included Reynolds...

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received a descriptive paragraph of its own. While “Church History” emphasized the departure of missionaries to many parts of the world, the updated version announced that “thousands have already gathered with their kindred saints, to this the cornerstone of Zion.”
“Latter Day Saints” was written on behalf of JS and appeared under his name. JS approved of and may have collaborated on the content, but apparently it was William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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who wrote the additions to “Church History.” Phelps’s handwriting appears in a three-page document containing drafts of passages that correspond to the changes to “Church History,” including both the initial paragraph of the revised text and the new section that precedes the concluding list of beliefs. The verso of the document’s second page reads, “Additions to an article in the Times & Seasons. Sent to Clyde Williams and Co. Publishe[r]s—Harrisburgh—September—1843.”5

William W. Phelps, “Additions to an Article in the Times & Seasons,” Sept. 1843, CHL.  


In early April 1844, JS’s essay was published in the volume He Pasa Ekklesia [The whole church], edited by German-American author and translator Israel Daniel Rupp

10 July 1803–31 May 1878. Bookseller, editor, historian, insurance agent, teacher, translator. Born in East Pennsboro (later in Hampden), Cumberland Co., Pennsylvania. Son of George Rupp and Christina Boeshor. Member of Reformed faith. Moved to Allen, Cumberland...

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.6

The book was published in or shortly after April 1844, the date found in its preface. (Rupp, He Pasa Ekklesia, vi.)  


The text presented herein is a transcription of the published version, with notes indicating textual variations from Phelps’s draft and from “Church History.”
On 5 June 1844, JS wrote to Rupp

10 July 1803–31 May 1878. Bookseller, editor, historian, insurance agent, teacher, translator. Born in East Pennsboro (later in Hampden), Cumberland Co., Pennsylvania. Son of George Rupp and Christina Boeshor. Member of Reformed faith. Moved to Allen, Cumberland...

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acknowledging receipt of a copy of He Pasa Ekklesia: “I feel very thankful for so valueable a treasure. The design, the propriety, the wisdom of letting every sect tell its own story; and the elegant manner in which the work appears, have filled my breast with encomiums upon it, wishing you God’s speed.” He continued, “I shall be pleased to furnish further information, at a proper time, and render you such service as the work, and vast extension of our church may demand for the benefit of truth, virtue, and holiness.” He then assured Rupp that “your work will be suitably noticed in our paper, for your benefit.”7

JS, Nauvoo, IL, to Israel Daniel Rupp, Lancaster City, PA, 5 June 1844, copy, JS Collection, CHL.  


On 26 June, the day before JS was killed, the promised endorsement appeared in the Mormon-owned community newspaper, the Nauvoo Neighbor, noting that “every sect is its own witness” and declaring, “Such a work is actually worth its weight in gold. The author has our blessing for his success.”8

“He Pasa Ekklesia,” Nauvoo Neighbor, 26 June 1844, [2].  


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