26108

Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 7 May 1831

searching for truth3

Cowdery and Ziba Peterson apparently baptized a dozen or so persons in Lafayette and Jackson counties in the months that followed, including Rebecca Hopper, whom Peterson married on 11 August 1833. (Romig, “Lamanite Mission,” 30–32; Lafayette Co., MO, Marriage Records, 1821–1919, vol. B, p. 21, 11 Aug. 1831, microfilm 959,414, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  


and if cincerely I pray they may find that precious treasure for it seems to be wholly fallen in the streets that equity cannot enter4

See Isaiah 59:14.  


in the letter we received from you5

This letter from church leaders in Kirtland is not extant and the date of its composition is unknown. However, the previous letter to Cowdery from the Kirtland area, written during a time of poor weather, took approximately a month to arrive at its destination. The letter mentioned here was therefore likely written sometime in early April 1831.  


we were informed that the opposition was great against you now our beloved brethren we verily believe that we can also rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer shame for his name6

See Acts 5:41.  


for almost the whole country which consists of Universalists Atheists Deists Presbyterians Methodists Baptists & professed Christians Priests & people with all the Devels from the infernal pit are united and foaming out ther own shame God forbid that I should bring a railing accusation against them for Vengence belongeth unto him who is able to repay & herein brethren we confide.7

See Jude 1:9, 13; and Romans 12:19.  


I am informed of an other Tribe of Lamanites

A term used in the Book of Mormon to refer to the descendants or followers of Laman, as well as those who later identified themselves as Lamanites because they did not believe in the religious traditions of their ancestors. According to JS and the Book of...

View Glossary
lately who have abundence of flocks of the best kind of sheep & cattle and manufacture blankets of superior quality the tribe is very numerous they live three hundred miles west of Santafee and are called navahoes8

After its founding in 1827, Independence quickly became the eastern terminus for the Santa Fe Trail and the starting point for many western travelers, so Cowdery may have had ready access to such information about the Navajo people from local travelers.  


why I mention this tribe is because I feel under obligation to communicate my brethren evry information respecting the Lamanites & about.9

This insertion was likely added in the wrong place by Frederick G. Williams when he copied this letter into JS’s letterbook. He apparently intended to insert the caret between the words “you” and “all.”  


to you all my Labours and travels believeing as I do that much is expected from me in the cause of our Lord and not doubuting but I daily am remembered before the throne of the most high by all of my brethren as well those who have not seen my face in the flesh as those who have
We begin to expect our brother Parley P. Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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soon we have heard from him only when he was at St Louis

Located on west side of Mississippi River about fifteen miles south of confluence with Missouri River. Founded as fur-trading post by French settlers, 1764. Incorporated as town, 1809. First Mississippi steamboat docked by town, 1817. Incorporated as city...

More Info
10

Pratt had presumably carried the letter from Cowdery to Superintendent William Clark requesting permission for the Mormons to proselytize among the Indians. When Pratt arrived in St. Louis, Clark was away from the city and had been at least since 9 January 1831. John Ruland, subagent of Indian affairs, conducted business for Clark in his absence until sometime in March. Pratt likely arrived in Kirtland in April, but he soon left on a short mission to the Shakers and a subsequent mission near Kirtland. (John Ruland, [St. Louis, MO], to John Henry Eaton, [Washington DC], 9 Jan. 1831, U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Central Superintendency, Records, vol. 4, p. 198; William Clark, St. Louis, MO, to John Henry Eaton, [Washington DC], 31 Mar. 1831, U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Central Superintendency, Records, vol. 4, p. 207; Historical Introduction to Revelation, 7 May 1831 [D&C 49]; Pratt, Autobiography, 64–65, 73.)  


we are all well (bless the Lord) and preach the gospel we will if earth and hell oppose our way and we dwell in the midst of Scortions for in Jesus we trust grace be with you all Amen
PS I beseach Brother Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

View Full Bio
to remember & write & direct to me Indipendence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

More Info
Jackson County Missouri
Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
[p. 13]
searching for truth3

Cowdery and Ziba Peterson apparently baptized a dozen or so persons in Lafayette and Jackson counties in the months that followed, including Rebecca Hopper, whom Peterson married on 11 August 1833. (Romig, “Lamanite Mission,” 30–32; Lafayette Co., MO, Marriage Records, 1821–1919, vol. B, p. 21, 11 Aug. 1831, microfilm 959,414, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  


and if cincerely I pr[a]y they  may find that precious treasure for it seems  to be wholly fallen in the streets that equity  cannot enter4

See Isaiah 59:14.  


in the letter we received of <from> you5

This letter from church leaders in Kirtland is not extant and the date of its composition is unknown. However, the previous letter to Cowdery from the Kirtland area, written during a time of poor weather, took approximately a month to arrive at its destination. The letter mentioned here was therefore likely written sometime in early April 1831.  


we  were informed that the opposition was great against  you now our beloved brethren we verily believe that  we can also rejoice that we can are counted worthy  to suffer shame for his name6

See Acts 5:41.  


for almost the  whole country which consists of Universalists Ath[e]ists  Deists Presbyterians Methodists <Baptists> & professed Christians  Priests & people with all the Devels from the  infernal pit are united and foaming out ther  own shame God forbid that I should bring a railing  accusation against them for Vengence belongeth  unto him who is able to repay & herein brethren  we confide.7

See Jude 1:9, 13; and Romans 12:19.  


I am informed of an other Tribe  of Lamanites

A term used in the Book of Mormon to refer to the descendants or followers of Laman, as well as those who later identified themselves as Lamanites because they did not believe in the religious traditions of their ancestors. According to JS and the Book of...

View Glossary
lately who have abundence of flocks  of the best kind of sheep & cattle and manufacture  blankets of superior quality the tribe is very  numerous they live three hundred miles west  of Santafee and are called navahoes8

After its founding in 1827, Independence quickly became the eastern terminus for the Santa Fe Trail and the starting point for many western travelers, so Cowdery may have had ready access to such information about the Navajo people from local travelers.  


why I men tion this tribe is because I feel under obligation  to communicate <my breth[r]en evry informati[o]n respecting th[e] Lamanites & ab[out].>9

This insertion was likely added in the wrong place by Frederick G. Williams when he copied this letter into JS’s letterbook. He apparently intended to insert the caret between the words “you” and “all.”  


to you all my Labours and travels  believeing as I do that much is expected from me  in the cause of our Lord and not doubuting but I daily  am remembered before the throne of the most high  by all of my brethren as well those who have not  seen my face in the flesh as those who have
We have begin to expect our brother Parley [P. Pratt]

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

View Full Bio
soon we have  heard from him only when he was at St Louis

Located on west side of Mississippi River about fifteen miles south of confluence with Missouri River. Founded as fur-trading post by French settlers, 1764. Incorporated as town, 1809. First Mississippi steamboat docked by town, 1817. Incorporated as city...

More Info
10

Pratt had presumably carried the letter from Cowdery to Superintendent William Clark requesting permission for the Mormons to proselytize among the Indians. When Pratt arrived in St. Louis, Clark was away from the city and had been at least since 9 January 1831. John Ruland, subagent of Indian affairs, conducted business for Clark in his absence until sometime in March. Pratt likely arrived in Kirtland in April, but he soon left on a short mission to the Shakers and a subsequent mission near Kirtland. (John Ruland, [St. Louis, MO], to John Henry Eaton, [Washington DC], 9 Jan. 1831, U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Central Superintendency, Records, vol. 4, p. 198; William Clark, St. Louis, MO, to John Henry Eaton, [Washington DC], 31 Mar. 1831, U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Central Superintendency, Records, vol. 4, p. 207; Historical Introduction to Revelation, 7 May 1831 [D&C 49]; Pratt, Autobiography, 64–65, 73.)  


we are  all well (bless the Lord) and preach the gospel we will if  earth and hell oppose our way and we dwell in the midst  of Scortions11

TEXT: Possibly “Scor[ta]tions”, meaning “fornicators.” Alternatively, Frederick G. Williams may have mistranscribed Cowdery’s biblical wording “scorpions” (see Ezekiel 2:6).  


for in Jesus <we> trust grace be with you all Amen
PS I beseach you Brother [Newel K.] Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

View Full Bio
to remember & write & direct  to me Indipendence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

More Info
Jackson County Missouri
Oliver Cowd[e]ry

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
[p. 13]
Previous
Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
, Letter, Kaw Township

Settlement by whites commenced after treaty with Osage Indians, 1825. One of three original townships organized in Jackson Co., 22 May 1827. Bordered by Missouri River on north side and Big Blue River on east and south sides; western boundary was state line...

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, MO, to “Our dearly beloved Brethren” [Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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and other church members, including JS], [Kirtland Township

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, OH], 7 May 1831. Featured version copied [between ca. 27 Nov. 1832 and ca. Jan. 1833] in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 12–13; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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; JS Collection, CHL. Includes redactions. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 1.

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