30492

Letter to Church Leaders in Geneseo, New York, 23 November 1833

* We have been informed that when These two brethren visited you previously, having authority from us to teach you the doctrine of this church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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, and to expound the revelations to your understandings, that they learned that brother Ezra Landin did not believe all of the revelations which had been delivered to this chuch by inspiration by the appointment of heaven. Our brother Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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while reading the Vision to a certain brother, while in brother Landin’s house, was threatened of being turned out of at the door except he should desist. They then called a counsel

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

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of High priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests. The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church. However, the Book of Mormon also discussed...

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to labor with brother L. who, when on the point of being cut off from the church said that he believed the Vision and would teach it to the church. On the return of said brethren from the east this fall, they learned that brother L did not teach, neither believe the Vision. We have also learned from other brethren that he does not walk worthy of his high calling before the Lord, and without speedy repentance and deep humility will have his office and also membership in this church taken from him.
We want you to understand, dear brethren, that the conduct of our brother L. has greatly grieved us, and this church. We want you to understand, that we hold no communion, nor have no fellowship for those who do not believe the book of Mormon, and the revelations which God has given to us in these last days. We are informed that our brother L. endeavors to excuse himself for not believing the Vision, saying, that it is not a revelation, but a Vision. We want you to understand from us, that we pronounce such tings the works of the devil, and are calculated to ensnare the souls of the saints. We plainly declare, and as men that expect to, and must be judged by the searcher of all hearts, that those who do not believe all the revelations and vision given to this church, that they do not believe the book of Mormon, and consequently have no fellowship with us. We write plain, for we are bound so to do, and we hope that what we write may be heeded, for we write in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, by virtue of our calling in his church. [p. [3]]
* <We have been informed that when> These two brethren visited you previously, having authority  from us to teach you the doctrine of this church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
, and [to]  expound the revelations to your understandings, <that they>  learned that brother Ezra Landin did not believe <all of> the  Vision given to us of revelations which had been delivered to this  chuch by inspiration by the appointment of heaven. Our  brother Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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while reading the Vision to a cer tain brother, while in brother Landin’s house, was threat ened of being turned out of at the door except he should  desist. They then called a counsel

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

View Glossary
of the High priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests. The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church. However, the Book of Mormon also discussed...

View Glossary
to la bor with brother L. who, when on the point of being cut  off from the church said that he believed the Vision  and would teach it to the church. On the return of  said brethren from the east this fall, they learned that  brother L did not teach, neither believe the Vision.  We have also learned from other brethren that he does  not walk worthy of his high calling before the  Lord, and without speedy repentance and deep  humility will have his office and also membership  in this church taken from him.
We want you to understand, dear brethren, that  the conduct of our brother L. has greatly grieved  us, and this church. We want you to understand, that  we hold no communion, nor have no fellowship for  those who do not believe the book of Mormon,  and the revelations which God has given to us in  these last days. We are informed that our brother  L. endeavors to excuse himself for not believing  the Vision, saying, that it is not a revelation, but a  Vision. We want you to understand from us, that  we pronounce such t◊◊◊ings the works of the devil,  and are calculated to ensnare the souls of the saints.  We plainly declare, and as men that expect to,  and must be judged by the searcher of all hearts,  that those who do not believe and <all> the revela tions and vision given to this church, by that they  do not believe the book of Mormon, and con sequently have no fellowship with us. We write  plain, for we are bound so to do, and we write  in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we hope  that what we write may be heeded, for we write in the  name of our Lord Jesus Christ, by virtue of our calling in  his church. [p. [3]]
Previous
In spring 1833, a controversy had developed in the Geneseo

Agricultural area twenty-five miles west of Canandaigua. Incorporated as village, 1832. Population in 1840 about 900. While recruiting for Camp of Israel, JS and Sidney Rigdon preached to large congregation at conference in village, 16 Mar. 1834. Geneseo ...

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, New York, branch surrounding JS’s vision of the three levels of postmortal glory, or what was known at the time as “the Vision” (Revelation, 16 February 1832 [D&C 76]). Ezra Landen, the presiding elder, did not accept the revelation and persuaded other members to support his view.
Although Landen relented in his stance after receiving counsel from Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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and Lyman Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

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, he had resumed his opposition by September 1833. In November, a council of high priests at Kirtland

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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, Ohio, sent Pratt and Johnson to visit Geneseo

Agricultural area twenty-five miles west of Canandaigua. Incorporated as village, 1832. Population in 1840 about 900. While recruiting for Camp of Israel, JS and Sidney Rigdon preached to large congregation at conference in village, 16 Mar. 1834. Geneseo ...

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again and settle the matter. The letter Pratt and Johnson carried from the council stipulated that doctrinal disharmony and rejection of revelation were grounds for disfellowshipment.
JS sent this letter from Kirtland

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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on behalf of the council, over which he presided. 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...

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acted as council clerk and transcribed the letter, which was addressed to church members at Geneseo

Agricultural area twenty-five miles west of Canandaigua. Incorporated as village, 1832. Population in 1840 about 900. While recruiting for Camp of Israel, JS and Sidney Rigdon preached to large congregation at conference in village, 16 Mar. 1834. Geneseo ...

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. Cowdery also recorded a partial copy of the epistle in JS Letterbook 1.

Facts