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Letter to “Dearly Beloved Brethren,” 23 November 1833

Letter to “Dearly Beloved Brethren,” 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 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 in Kirtland, 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, 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,
Joseph Smith Jr  Moderator of co[u]ncil
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In spring 1833, a controversy had developed in the Geneseo, 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 and Lyman Johnson, he had resumed his opposition by September 1833. In November, a council of high priests at Kirtland, Ohio, sent Pratt and Johnson to visit Geneseo 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 on behalf of the council, over which he presided. Oliver Cowdery acted as council clerk and transcribed the letter, which was addressed to church members at Geneseo. Cowdery also recorded a partial copy of the epistle in JS Letterbook 1.

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