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Letter to “Dearly Beloved Brethren,” 23 November 1833

Letter to “Dearly Beloved Brethren,” 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, 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 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 of the High priests 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]]
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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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