26024

“Latter Day Saints,” 1844

LATTER DAY SAINTS.
 
BY JOSEPH SMITH.
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
.
 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was founded upon direct revelation, as the true church of God has ever been, according to the scriptures (Amos, iii. 7, and Acts i. 2.) And through the will and blessings of God, I have been an instrument in his hands, thus far, to move forward the cause of Zion. Therefore, in order to fulfil the solicitation of your letter of July last, I shall commence with my life.1

This first paragraph is based on William W. Phelps, “Additions to an Article in the Times and Seasons,” Sept. 1843, CHL.  


I was born in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, on the 23d of December, A. D. 1805. When ten years old, my parents removed to Palmyra

Known as Swift’s Landing and Tolland before being renamed Palmyra, 1796. Incorporated, Mar. 1827, two years after completion of adjacent Erie Canal. Population in 1820 about 3,700. Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family lived in village briefly, beginning ...

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, New York,2

Joseph Smith Sr. left Vermont in late summer or early fall 1816, when JS was ten years old. The rest of the Smith family joined him in Palmyra in early 1817, shortly after JS turned eleven. (Palmyra, NY, Record of Highway Taxes, 1817, Copies of Old Village Records, 1793–1867, microfilm 812,869, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 3, [3]–[6]; JS History, vol. A-1, 131nA.)  


where we resided about four years, and from thence we removed to the town of Manchester

Settled 1793. Formed as Burt Township when divided from Farmington Township, 31 Mar. 1821. Name changed to Manchester, 16 Apr. 1822. Included village of Manchester. Population in 1825 about 2,700. Population in 1830 about 2,800. JS reported first vision of...

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, a distance of six miles.3

The last five words do not appear in “Church History.”  


My father

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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was a farmer, and taught me the art of husbandry. When about fourteen years of age, I began to reflect upon the importance of being prepared for a future state; and upon inquiring the place4

For both instances of “place” in this sentence, “Church History” has “plan.”  


of salvation, I found that there was a great clash in religious sentiment; if I went to one society they referred me to one place, and another to another; each one pointing to his own particular creed as the “summum bonum” of perfection. Considering that all could not be right, and that God could not be the author of so much confusion, I determined to investigate the subject more fully, believing that if God had a church, it would not be split up into factions, and that if he taught one society to worship one way, and administer in one set of ordinances, he would not teach another principles which were diametrically opposed. Believing the word of God, I had confidence in the declaration of James, “If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.”5

James 1:5.  


I retired to a secret place in a grove, and began to call upon the [p. 404]
LATTER DAY SAINTS.
 
BY JOSEPH SMITH.
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
.
 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was founded  upon direct revelation, as the true church of God has ever been, ac cording to the scriptures (Amos, iii. 7, and Acts i. 2.) And through  the will and blessings of God, I have been an instrument in his hands,  thus far, to move forward the cause of Zion. Therefore, in order to  fulfil the solicitation of your letter of July last, I shall commence with  my life.1

This first paragraph is based on William W. Phelps, “Additions to an Article in the Times and Seasons,” Sept. 1843, CHL.  


I was born in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, on  the 23d of December, A. D. 1805. When ten years old, my parents  removed to Palmyra

Known as Swift’s Landing and Tolland before being renamed Palmyra, 1796. Incorporated, Mar. 1827, two years after completion of adjacent Erie Canal. Population in 1820 about 3,700. Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family lived in village briefly, beginning ...

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, New York,2

Joseph Smith Sr. left Vermont in late summer or early fall 1816, when JS was ten years old. The rest of the Smith family joined him in Palmyra in early 1817, shortly after JS turned eleven. (Palmyra, NY, Record of Highway Taxes, 1817, Copies of Old Village Records, 1793–1867, microfilm 812,869, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 3, [3]–[6]; JS History, vol. A-1, 131nA.)  


where we resided about four years,  and from thence we removed to the town of Manchester

Settled 1793. Formed as Burt Township when divided from Farmington Township, 31 Mar. 1821. Name changed to Manchester, 16 Apr. 1822. Included village of Manchester. Population in 1825 about 2,700. Population in 1830 about 2,800. JS reported first vision of...

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, a distance  of six miles.3

The last five words do not appear in “Church History.”  


My father

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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was a farmer, and taught me the art of husbandry. When  about fourteen years of age, I began to reflect upon the importance of  being prepared for a future state; and upon inquiring the place4

For both instances of “place” in this sentence, “Church History” has “plan.”  


of  salvation, I found that there was a great clash in religious sentiment;  if I went to one society they referred me to one place, and another to  another; each one pointing to his own particular creed as the “sum mum bonum” of perfection. Considering that all could not be right,  and that God could not be the author of so much confusion, I deter mined to investigate the subject more fully, believing that if God had  a church, it would not be split up into factions, and that if he taught  one society to worship one way, and administer in one set of ordi nances, he would not teach another principles which were diametri cally opposed. Believing the word of God, I had confidence in the  declaration of James, “If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God,  who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be  given him.”5

James 1:5.  


I retired to a secret place in a grove, and began to call upon the [p. 404]
Next
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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