26024

“Latter Day Saints,” 1844

Illinois

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

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. Here, in the fall of 1839, we commenced a city called 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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, in Hancock county, which, in December, 1840, received an act of incorporation from the Legislature of Illinois

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

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, and is endowed with as liberal powers as any city 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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. 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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, in every respect, connected with increase and prosperity, has exceeded the most sanguine expectations of thousands. It now contains near 1500 houses, and more than 15,000 inhabitants. The charter contains, amongst its important powers, privileges, or immunities, a grant for the “University of Nauvoo,” with the same liberal powers of the city

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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, where all the arts and sciences will grow with the growth, and strengthen the strength of this beloved city of the “saints of the last days.” Another very commendatory provision of the charter is, that that portion of the citizens subject to military duty are organized into a body of independent military men, styled the “Nauvoo Legion,” whose highest officer holds the rank, and is commissioned lieutenant-general. This legion, like other independent bodies of troops in this republican government, is at the disposal of the Governor of this State

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

More Info
, and President of 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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. There is also an act of incorporation for an agricultural and manufacturing association, as well as the Nauvoo House

JS revelation, dated 19 Jan. 1841, instructed Saints to build boarding house for travelers and immigrants. Construction of planned three-story building to be funded by fifty-dollar shares. Cornerstone laid, 2 Oct. 1841, but building never completed beyond...

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Association.
The 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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of God, now in the course of erection, being already raised one story, and which is 120 feet by 80 feet, of stone, with polished pilasters, of an entire new order of architecture, will be a splendid house for the worship of God, as well as an unique wonder for the world, it being built by the direct revelation of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the living and the dead.
Since the organization of this church its progress has been rapid, and its gain in numbers regular. Besides these 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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, where nearly every place of notoriety has heard the glad tidings of the gospel of the Son of God, England, Ireland, and Scotland, have shared largely in the fulness of the everlasting gospel, and thousands have already gathered with their kindred saints, to this the cornerstone of Zion. Missionaries of this church have gone to the East Indies, to Australia, Germany, Constantinople, Egypt, Palestine, the Islands of the Pacific, and are now preparing to open the door in the extensive dominions of Russia.
There are no correct data by which the exact number of members composing this now extensive, and still extending, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can be known. Should it be supposed at 150,000, it might still be short of the truth.
Believing the Bible to say what it means and mean what it says; and guided by revelation according to the ancient order of the fathers [p. 409]
Illinois

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

More Info
. Here, in the fall of 1839, we commenced a city called  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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,16

The Saints began settling in Commerce, Illinois, in spring 1839, and by that fall, they began referring to the area as Nauvoo. (See Leonard, Nauvoo, chap. 3; and “Nauvoo Journals, December 1841–April 1843,” in JSP, J2:xv.)  


in Hancock county, which, in December, 1840, received an  act of incorporation from the Legislature of Illinois

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

More Info
, and is endowed  with as liberal powers as any city 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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.17

The Nauvoo charter was passed by the Illinois legislature and signed by the governor in December 1840. (Journal of the Senate . . . of Illinois, 9 Dec. 1840, 61; Journal of the House of Representatives . . . of Illinois, 12 Dec. 1840, 110; An Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo [16 Dec. 1840], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841], pp. 52–57.)  


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
, in  every respect, connected with increase and prosperity, has exceeded  the most sanguine expectations of thousands. It now contains near  1500 houses, and more than 15,000 inhabitants. The charter con tains, amongst its important powers, privileges, or immunities, a grant  for the “University of Nauvoo,” with the same liberal powers of the  city

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
, where all the arts and sciences will grow with the growth, and  strengthen the strength of this beloved city of the “saints of the last  days.”18

The Nauvoo charter granted the city’s university trustees “full power to pass, ordain, establish, and execute all such laws and ordinances as they may consider necessary for the welfare and prosperity of said university, its officers and students: Provided, That the said laws and ordinances shall not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States or of this State.” (An Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo [16 Dec. 1840], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841], pp. 56–57, sec. 24; see also Bennett and Cope, “City on a Hill,” 23–25.)  


Another very commendatory provision of the charter is,  that that portion of the citizens subject to military duty are organized  into a body of independent military men, styled the “Nauvoo Legion,”  whose highest officer holds the rank, and is commissioned lieutenant- general.19

See section 25 of the Nauvoo charter. (An Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo [16 Dec. 1840], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841], p. 57, sec. 25.)  


This legion, like other independent bodies of troops in this  republican government, is at the disposal of the Governor of this  State

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

More Info
, and President of 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 ...

More Info
. There is also an act of  incorporation for an agricultural and manufacturing association, as  well as the Nauvoo House

JS revelation, dated 19 Jan. 1841, instructed Saints to build boarding house for travelers and immigrants. Construction of planned three-story building to be funded by fifty-dollar shares. Cornerstone laid, 2 Oct. 1841, but building never completed beyond...

More Info
Association.20

The Illinois legislature passed an act on 23 February 1841 to incorporate the Nauvoo House Association, authorizing the association to “erect and furnish a public house of entertainment” or boarding house to accommodate visitors to Nauvoo. Four days later, 27 February 1841, the legislature passed the act to incorporate the Nauvoo Agricultural and Manufacturing Association. (An Act to Incorporate the Nauvoo House Association [23 Feb. 1841], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841], 131–132; An Act to Incorporate the Nauvoo Agricultural and Manufacturing Association, in the County of Hancock [27 Feb. 1841], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841],139–141.)  


The 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...

More Info
of God, now in the course of erection, being already  raised one story, and which is 120 feet by 80 feet, of stone, with po lished pilasters, of an entire new order of architecture, will be a  splendid house for the worship of God, as well as an unique wonder  for the world, it being built by the direct revelation of Jesus Christ  for the salvation of the living and the dead.21

Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841, in Doctrine and Covenants 103:10–12, 1844 ed. [D&C 124:26–39], gave instructions for the building of the temple at Nauvoo and described its purpose as a holy place in which to perform rites for church members and by proxy for deceased persons.  


Since the organization of this church its progress has been rapid,  and its gain in numbers regular. Besides these 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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, where  nearly every place of notoriety has heard the glad tidings of the  gospel of the Son of God, England, Ireland, and Scotland, have  shared largely in the fulness of the everlasting gospel,22

The text omits Wales, which is included in “Church History.” About 250 people had joined the church in Wales by 1844. (JS, “Church History,” 709; Dennis, “The Welsh and the Gospel,” 237–241.)  


and thousands  have already gathered with their kindred saints, to this the corner stone of Zion. Missionaries of this church have gone to the East  Indies, to Australia, Germany, Constantinople, Egypt, Palestine, the  Islands of the Pacific, and are now preparing to open the door in the  extensive dominions of Russia.23

In addition to the assignments mentioned in “Church History,” JS here adds Constantinople, Egypt, the Pacific islands, and Russia as missionary destinations. Orson Hyde visited Constantinople and Egypt during his mission to the Jews.a Missionaries had by this time also been assigned to the Sandwich Islands, though they actually went to the Society Islands, in French Polynesia.b In spring 1843, Hyde and George J. Adams were appointed to open missionary work in Russia, though they did not fulfill the assignment.c  


aHyde, Voice from Jerusalem, 22–23.

bJS, Journal, 23 May 1843, JS Collection, CHL; see also Pratt, Journals, 20 Sept. 1843–28 Apr. 1847; and Britsch, Unto the Isles of the Sea, chap. 1.

c“Recommendatory,” Times and Seasons, 1 June 1843, 4:218.

There are no correct data by which the exact number of members  composing this now extensive, and still extending, Church of Jesus  Christ of Latter Day Saints can be known. Should it be supposed  at 150,000, it might still be short of the truth.24

Historian Dean L. May gave a conservative estimate of approximately thirty thousand Latter-day Saints by 1846; other sources indicate as many as thirty-five to forty thousand. In any case, the figure given is too high. (May, “Demographic Portrait of the Mormons,” 123.)  


Believing the Bible to say what it means and mean what it says;  and guided by revelation according to the ancient order of the fathers [p. 409]
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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...

More Info
, 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...

More Info
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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