2478323

Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 January 1833

the only way that man can enter into the Celestial kingdom

Highest kingdom of glory in the afterlife; symbolically represented by the sun. According to a vision dated 16 February 1832, inheritors of the celestial kingdom “are they who received the testimony of Jesus, & believed on his name, & were baptized,” “receive...

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.28

According to the description of a 16 February 1832 vision experienced by JS and Sidney Rigdon, the celestial kingdom is the highest “glory” attainable in the hereafter. (Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76].)  


These are the requesitions of the new Covenant or first principles of of the Gospel of Christ; then add to your faith virtue and to virtue knowledge and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience, brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness charity (or Love) and if these things be in you and abound, they make you to be neither baran nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ29

See 2 Peter 1:5–8.  


——
30

The portion of the letter published by Noah C. Saxton begins here and continues to the end of the letter.  


The Book of Mormon is a reccord of the forefathers of our western Tribes of Indians, having been found through the ministration of an holy Angel translated

To produce a text from one written in another language; in JS’s usage, most often through divine means. JS considered the ability to translate to be a gift of the spirit, like the gift of interpreting tongues. He recounted that he translated “reformed Egyptian...

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into our own Language by the gift and power of God, after having been hid up in the earth for the last fourteen hundred years31

According to the Book of Mormon, the last prophet and writer of the record, a man called Moroni, concluded his account around 420 years after Christ was born. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 585 [Moroni 10:1].)  


containing the word of God, which was delivered unto them, By it we learn that our western tribes of Indians are desendants from that Joseph that was sold into Egypt, and that the Land of America is a promised land unto them,32

See, for example, Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 485–486 [3 Nephi 15:12–13]. The December 1832 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star explained that “last week about 400, out of 700 of the Shawnees from Ohio, passed this place for their inheritance a few miles west, and the scene was at once calculated to refer the mind to the prophecies concerning the gathering of Israel in the last days.” (“The Indians,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1832, [6].)  


and unto it all the tribes of Israel will come. with as many of the gentiles

Those who were not members of the House of Israel. More specifically, members of the church identified gentiles as those whose lineage was not of the Jews or Lamanites (understood to be the American Indians in JS’s day). Certain prophecies indicated that ...

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as shall comply with the requesitions of the new covenant.33

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 501 [3 Nephi 21:22–26].  


But the tribe of Judah will return to old Jerusalem,34

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 498 [3 Nephi 20:29–33].  


The City, of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

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, spoken of by David in the 102 Psalm will be built upon the Land of America35

Psalm 102:13–22; see also “Signs of the Times,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Oct. 1832, [6]; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 566 [Ether 13:4–6].  


and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to it with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads,36

See Isaiah 35:10; and Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:71].  


and then they will be delivered from the overflowing scourge that shall pass through the Land37

See Isaiah 28:15, 18; and Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:31].  


But Juda shall obtain deliverence at Jerusalem see Joel 2. 32. Isaiah 26, 20 & 21, Jer. 31, 12, Psalm 50. 5, Ezekiel 34, 11, 12 & 13, These are testamonies that the good Shepherd will put forth his own sheep and Lead them out from all nations where they have been scattered in a cloudy and dark day, to Zion and to Jerusalem beside many more testamonies which might be brought——
And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before the United States

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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shall present such [p. 17]
the only way that man can enter into the Celestial kingdom

Highest kingdom of glory in the afterlife; symbolically represented by the sun. According to a vision dated 16 February 1832, inheritors of the celestial kingdom “are they who received the testimony of Jesus, & believed on his name, & were baptized,” “receive...

View Glossary
.28

According to the description of a 16 February 1832 vision experienced by JS and Sidney Rigdon, the celestial kingdom is the highest “glory” attainable in the hereafter. (Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76].)  


These  are the requesitions of the new Covenant or first principles of  of the Gospel of Christ; then add to you[r] faith virtue and to virtue  knowledge and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance  patience, and to patience, brotherly kindness and to brotherly  kindness charity (or Love) and if these things be in you and  abound, they make you to be neither baran nor unfruitful  in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ29

See 2 Peter 1:5–8.  


——
30

The portion of the letter published by Noah C. Saxton begins here and continues to the end of the letter.  


The Book of Mormon is a reccord  of the forefathers of our western Tribes of Indians, having  been found through the ministration of an holy Angel  translated

To produce a text from one written in another language; in JS’s usage, most often through divine means. JS considered the ability to translate to be a gift of the spirit, like the gift of interpreting tongues. He recounted that he translated “reformed Egyptian...

View Glossary
into our own Language by the gift and  power of God, after having been hid up in the earth  for the last fourteen hundred years31

According to the Book of Mormon, the last prophet and writer of the record, a man called Moroni, concluded his account around 420 years after Christ was born. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 585 [Moroni 10:1].)  


containing the word  of God, which was delivered unto them, By it we learn  that our western tribes of Indians are desendants from  that Joseph that was sold into Egypt, and that the Land  of America is a promised land unto them,32

See, for example, Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 485–486 [3 Nephi 15:12–13]. The December 1832 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star explained that “last week about 400, out of 700 of the Shawnees from Ohio, passed this place for their inheritance a few miles west, and the scene was at once calculated to refer the mind to the prophecies concerning the gathering of Israel in the last days.” (“The Indians,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1832, [6].)  


and unto  it all the tribes of Israel will come. with as many of the  gentiles

Those who were not members of the House of Israel. More specifically, members of the church identified gentiles as those whose lineage was not of the Jews or Lamanites (understood to be the American Indians in JS’s day). Certain prophecies indicated that ...

View Glossary
as shall comply with the requesitions of the new co[v]en ant.33

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 501 [3 Nephi 21:22–26].  


But the tribe of Judah will return to old Jerusalem,34

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 498 [3 Nephi 20:29–33].  


The  City, of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

View Glossary
, spoken of by David in the 102 Psalm will  be built upon the Land of America35

Psalm 102:13–22; see also “Signs of the Times,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Oct. 1832, [6]; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 566 [Ether 13:4–6].  


and the ransomed of  the Lord shall return and come to it with songs and ever lasting joy upon their heads,36

See Isaiah 35:10; and Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:71].  


and then they will be delivered  from the overflowing scourge that shall pass through the  Land37

See Isaiah 28:15, 18; and Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:31].  


But Judah shall obtain deliverence at Jerusalem  see Joel 2. 32. Isaiah 26, 20 & 21, Jer. 31, 12, Psalm 50. 5, Ezekiel  34, 11, 12 & 13, These are testamonies that the good Shepherd will  put forth his own sheep and Lead them out from all  nations where they have been scattered in a cloudy and  dark day, to Zion and to Jerusalem beside many  more testamonies which might be brought——
And now I am prepared to say by the authority  of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass  away before the United States

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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shall present such [p. 17]
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On 4 January 1833, JS wrote a letter to a newspaper editor identified in the inside address as “N. E. Sextan” of Rochester

Located at falls of Genesee River, seven miles south of Lake Ontario, on Erie Canal. Founded 1812. Incorporated as village, 1817. Originally called Rochesterville; name changed to Rochester, 1822. Incorporated as city, 1834. County seat. Population in 1820...

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, Monroe County, New York. Less than a month later, the American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer, edited by Noah C. Saxton

25 Jan. 1798–23 June 1834. Evangelist, Christian newspaper editor. Born in Wilbraham, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Noah Saxton and Patty Bliss. Graduated from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York, 1818. Received preacher license, ...

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, published a portion of JS’s letter, indicating that Saxton was the intended recipient.1

“Mormonism,” American Revivalist, and Rochester (NY) Observer, 2 Feb. 1833, [2]. Saxton was previously the editor of the New York Evangelist, which was consolidated with the Rochester Observer in 1832. The Rochester Observer began in 1827 as a Presbyterian newspaper; by the end of 1832, it had three thousand subscribers. It was known as the American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer from 29 September 1832 to 13 July 1833. (See French, Gazetteer of the State of New York, 396; Norton, “Comparative Images,” 359, 361.)  


The American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer was a weekly evangelical newspaper published in upstate New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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. According to Saxton, the newspaper was devoted to “the free discussion and critical investigation of the doctrines and duties of Christianity.” Saxton encouraged “his brethren in the ministry and other correspondents to contribute liberally to the columns of the Revivalist,” advice that JS apparently took seriously.2

“American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer,” American Revivalist, and Rochester (NY) Observer, 29 Sept. 1832, [1]; see also Norton, “Comparative Images,” 359–360.  


Speaking of the time period in which JS wrote this letter, a later JS history states that “appearances of troubles among the nations, became more visible, this season, than they had previously done, since the church began her journey out of the wilderness.” A cholera epidemic, an outbreak of the plague in India, and political tumult between South Carolina and the federal government were especially troubling.3

JS History, vol. A-1, 244.  


JS saw these events, on which Saxton

25 Jan. 1798–23 June 1834. Evangelist, Christian newspaper editor. Born in Wilbraham, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Noah Saxton and Patty Bliss. Graduated from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York, 1818. Received preacher license, ...

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had reported in several issues of his newspaper,4

See, for example, the following articles in the American Revivalist, and Rochester (NY) Observer: “Cholera Record,” 29 Sept. 1832, [1]; “Effects of the Cholera,” 29 Dec. 1832, [1]; “Political News: South Carolina Nullification,” 22 Dec. 1832, [3]; and “Persia,” 29 Dec. 1832, [4].  


through a millenarian lens. In the four months before he wrote to Saxton, JS’s revelations and other documents had warned of disasters preceding the return of Jesus Christ—disasters that seemed to be afflicting the world.5

Revelations in 1831 explained events that would precede Christ’s return, but JS seemed especially concerned with signs of the times in late 1832 and early 1833. (See, for example, Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45]; Revelation, 1 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 1]; Revelation, 3 Nov. 1831 [D&C 133]; Letter to Emma Smith, 13 Oct. 1832; and Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832.)  


A September 1832 revelation, for example, explained that because “the whole world lieth in sin and groaneth under darkness,” the Lord “laid [his] hand upon the nations to scorge them for ther wickedness.” “Plagues” would continue, the Lord declared in the revelation, “untill I have completed my work.”6

Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:49, 96–97].  


In October 1832, after walking through the streets of New York City

Dutch founded New Netherland colony, 1625. Incorporated under British control and renamed New York, 1664. Harbor contributed to economic and population growth of city; became largest city in American colonies. British troops defeated Continental Army under...

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, New York, JS lamented that “aganst man is the anger of the Lord kindled because they Give him not the Glory.”7 The calamities that the Lord would pour out on the world were graphically portrayed in a 25 December 1832 revelation: “With the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn and with famine and plague, and Earthquake and the thunder of heaven and the fierce and vivid lightning also shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel.”8

Revelation, 25 Dec. 1832 [D&C 87:6].  


A 27–28 December revelation therefore proclaimed it the duty of the elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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of the church “to warn the people” and “to prepare the saints, for the hour of judgments, which is to come.”9

Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:81, 84].  


JS wrote to Saxton

25 Jan. 1798–23 June 1834. Evangelist, Christian newspaper editor. Born in Wilbraham, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Noah Saxton and Patty Bliss. Graduated from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York, 1818. Received preacher license, ...

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partly to issue the required warning. JS explained that God had again established on the earth the covenant that Christ offered during his ministry—a covenant different from the ancient covenants that God had made with the children of Israel. To allow Israel access to this new covenant, the gathering of Israel had commenced, the apostolic church had been restored, and the inhabitants of the earth now needed to repent, be baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

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, and receive the Holy Ghost. JS concluded his letter with an explanation of the Book of Mormon, its doctrines, and the establishment of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

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in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, using imagery from a Book of Mormon allegory that compares Israel to an olive tree.10

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 131–139 [Jacob chap. 5].  


The original letter is no longer extant, but Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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copied it into JS’s letterbook, probably soon after its composition. When Saxton

25 Jan. 1798–23 June 1834. Evangelist, Christian newspaper editor. Born in Wilbraham, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Noah Saxton and Patty Bliss. Graduated from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York, 1818. Received preacher license, ...

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published a portion of the letter—beginning at the paragraph starting with “The Book of Mormon is a record of the forefathers . . .” and continuing to the end of the letter—he prefaced it by stating it was written by “Mr. J. Smith Jr., who we suppose, is a principal leader of the sect that embrace Mormonism.” The letter, Saxton continued, contained “much good feeling and urbanity.”11

“Mormonism,” American Revivalist, and Rochester (NY) Observer, 2 Feb. 1833, [2].  


Subsequent issues of the newspaper contained no commentary or articles about the letter. In February 1833, JS wrote another letter to Saxton, complaining that the editor had published only a portion of the original letter. JS warned him to “publish that letter entire” if he wanted “to clear your garments from the blood of you[r] readers,” but Saxton never published the complete letter.12

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