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

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

to the saints by revelation, that discord, hardness, jealousies, and numberless evils will inevitably insue. When we reflect upon the holiness and perfections of our great Master, who has opened a way whereby we may come unto him, even by the sacrifice of himself, our hearts melt within us for his condescension. And when we reflect also, that he has called us to be perfect in all things, that we may be prepared to meet him in peace when he comes in his glory with all the holy angels, we feel to exhort our brethren with boldness, to be humble and prayerful, to walk indeed as children of the light and of the day, that they may have grace to withstand every temptation, and to overcome every evil in the worthy name of our Lord Jesus Christ. For be assured brethren, that the day is truly near when the Master of the house will rise up and shut the door, and none but such as have on a wedding garment will be permitted to enjoy a seat at the marriage supper!
Therefore, dear brethren, we have sent our brethren aforementioned to you, hoping you will receive them in our name, and in the name of the 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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in 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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, and receive their teachings and instructions as from us, for they have been set apart to this work, to act in this authority, and have received the prayers of this 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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, and this church.
We conclude this short letter by earnestly desiring an interest in your prayers, and commending you to the mercy and favor of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We subscribe ourselves your brethren in the bonds of the new and everlasting Covenant

Generally referred to the “fullness of [the] gospel”—the sum total of the church’s message, geared toward establishing God’s covenant people on the earth; also used to describe individual elements of the gospel, including marriage. According to JS, the everlasting...

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,
Joseph Smith Jr Moderator of council
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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, Clerk [p. [2]]
to the saints by revelation, that discord, hardness, jealousies,  and numberless evils will inevitably insue. When we reflect  upon the holiness and perfections of our great Master, who  has opened a way whereby we may come unto him, even by  the sacrifice of himself, our hearts melt within us for <his>  condescension. And when we reflect also, that he has called  us to be perfect in all things, that we may be prepared  to meet him in peace when he comes in his glory with all  the holy angels, we feel to exhort our brethren with boldness,  to be humble and prayerful, to walk indeed as children  of the light and of the day, that they may have grace to  withstand every temptation, and to overcome every evil  in the worthy name of our Lord Jesus Christ. For be assured  brethren, that the day is truly near when the Master of  the house will rise up and shut the door, and none but  such as have on a wedding garment will be permitted to  enjoy a se[a]t at the marriage supper!
Therefore, dear brethren, we have sent our brethren afore mentioned to you, hoping you will receive them in our  name, and in the name of the 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
in 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...

More Info
, and re ceive their teachings and instructions as from us, for they  have been set apart to this work, to act in this author[i]ty, and  have received the prayers of this 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
, and this church.
We conclude this short letter by earnestly desiring  an interest in your prayers, and commending you to  the mercy and favor of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We subscribe ourselves your brethren in the bonds  of the new and everlasting Covenant

Generally referred to the “fullness of [the] gospel”—the sum total of the church’s message, geared toward establishing God’s covenant people on the earth; also used to describe individual elements of the gospel, including marriage. According to JS, the everlasting...

View Glossary
,
Joseph Smith Jr  Moderator of co[u]ncil
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
, Clerk [p. [2]]
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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...

View Full Bio
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.

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