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Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, 10 August 1833

Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, 10 August 1833

Kirtland Mills Ohio Aug. 10th 1833
Dear brethren W[illiam W. Phelps], J[ohn Whitmer], E[dward Partridge], I[saac Morley], J[ohn Corrill], & S[idney Gilbert], & all others who are willing to lay down their  lives for the cause of Christ our Lord Jesus Christ: I need not relate to you at this  time the fatigues of my journey, nor the lonesome hours which I experienced while  journeying, a stranger in a strange land, surrounded on the right & on the  left by the destroying angels who were executing the will of the Lord in the  consumation of the wicked, I have not doubted for a moment but that your  prayers <were> ascending in my behalf; & so it is I am preserved. I did not arri ve as soon as I had hoped, in consequence of being hindered three days  since I left in waiting for a conveyance, I arrived yesterday afternoon.  I will now proceed to give you some advice concerning your business & the  advice may be relied upon. It is wisdom that you look out another place to  locate on; be wise in your selection, & commence in the best situation you  can find, is not the land before you? & an other place of beginning will be no  injury to Zion in the end, & though you may be wearied, yet count it joy, for  the Lord will reward you more than a hundred fold for all your sufferings  in righteousness,— Make out your bill of damages immediately, if you  have not, & get the pay; do not remove any faster to your new home than  you bound yourselves to, but pray for the Lord to deliver, for this is his will  that you should, & fear not for his arm will be revealed, & it will fall upon the  wicked & they cannot escape.
For the comfort of those who offered their lives  & made the compromise to remove, I just say that the Lord was well  pleased with that act, that is, the agreement to remove, & there was  no other way to save the lives of all the church in Zion, or the most:  and any who are dissatisfied with that move, are not right & have cau se to repent, & call upon the Lord for grace to support them in the  moment of tribulation. This great tribulation would not have come  upon Zion had it not been for rebelion: Firstly there were rebelions  against the one to whom were intrusted the keys, & from thence  it has spread down to the lowest & least member! not this alone,  but those who were void of understanding were continually telling  that which was not true, & putting false coloring to the things of  God! I mean those whose mouths are continually open, & whose  tongues cannot be stayed from tatling! & the church will never  have peace while such remain in her, therefore, brethren purge  them out, & have no confidence in any except such as will lay  down their lives for this sacred cause for none others are worthy  of it. It was necessary that these things should come upon  us: not only justice demands it, but there was no other way  to cleanse the church. Fear not, brethren, the Lord is yet for  you & though the heavens & the earth pass away, yet the elect [p. [1]]
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Tensions between local residents and church members in Independence, Missouri, peaked on 20 July 1833 when vigilantes destroyed the church’s printing office. Under threat of further conflict, church members in Jackson County, Missouri, signed an agreement on 23 July 1833 to move from the county “as soon as possible.” Dispatched to personally inform JS of the shocking developments, Oliver Cowdery arrived on 9 August in Kirtland, Ohio, and one day later penned this letter to his brethren in Zion.
The letter’s tone, supportive and reassuring, conveyed the concern of the church’s presidency for the members in Zion, offering counsel and advice in light of the 23 July agreement. JS added a short postscript, expressing his own sympathy for the Missouri members in their sufferings. Cowdery sent this letter from Kirtland, Ohio, to William W. Phelps and other leaders in Independence. Edward Partridge made a copy after its arrival.

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