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Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 January 1833

a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the hystory of our nation pestalence hail famine and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of this Land38

This information was included in a revelation dictated less than two weeks earlier. (Revelation, 25 Dec. 1832 [D&C 87].)  


to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country—39

See Jeremiah 23:8; 31:7–8; and Revelation, 3 Nov. 1831 [D&C 133:26].  


The people of the Lord, those who have complied with the requsitions of the new covenant have already commenced gathering together to 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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which is in the State of 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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.40

A July 1831 revelation designated “the land of Missorie” as the place the Lord had “appointed & consecrated for the gethering of the Saints.” The Evening and the Morning Star reported in November 1832 that “since the gathering commenced, which is a little over a year, the number of the disciples which have come from the east, and which have been baptized in this region, is 465[.] Children and those not members, about 345[.] Total 810.” (Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:1]; “The Gathering,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Nov. 1832, [5].)  


Therefore I declare unto you the warning which the lord has commanded me to declare unto this generation, rembring remembering that the eyes of my maker are upon me and that to him I am accountabl for evry word I say wishing nothing worse to my fellow men then their eternal salvation therefore fear God, and give glory to him for the hour of his Judgment is come,41

See Revelation 14:7.  


Repent ye Repent, ye and imbrace the everlasting Covenant and flee to Zion before the overflowing scourge overtake you, For there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things which I have spoken fulfilled42

See Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:31].  


Remember these things, call upon the Lord while he is near and seek him while he may be found43

See Isaiah 55:6; and Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:62–63].  


is the exhortation of your unworthy servant
Joseph Smith Jr
To N. E. Sextan 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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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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N Y. [p. 18]
a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the hystory  of our nation pestalence hail famine and earthquake will  sweep the wicked off this generation from off the face of  this Land38

This information was included in a revelation dictated less than two weeks earlier. (Revelation, 25 Dec. 1832 [D&C 87].)  


to open and prepare the way for the  return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north  country—39

See Jeremiah 23:8; 31:7–8; and Revelation, 3 Nov. 1831 [D&C 133:26].  


The people of the Lord, those who have  complied with the requsitions of the new covenant  have already commenced gathering togethe[r] to 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
 which is in the State of 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...

More Info
.40

A July 1831 revelation designated “the land of Missorie” as the place the Lord had “appointed & consecrated for the gethering of the Saints.” The Evening and the Morning Star reported in November 1832 that “since the gathering commenced, which is a little over a year, the number of the disciples which have come from the east, and which have been baptized in this region, is 465[.] Children and those not members, about 345[.] Total 810.” (Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:1]; “The Gathering,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Nov. 1832, [5].)  


Therefore I decl are unto you the warning which the lord  has commanded me to declare unto this  generation, rembring [remembering] that the eyes of my maker  are upon me and that to him I am accountabl  for evry word I say wishing nothing worse to  my fellow men then their eternal salvation  therefore fear God, and give glory to him for  the hour of his Judgment is come,41

See Revelation 14:7.  


<Repent  ye> Repent, ye and imbrace the everlasting  Covenant and flee to Zion before the over flowing scourge overtake you, For there are  those now living upon the earth whose eyes  shall not be closed in death until they see  all these things which I have spoken fulfilled42

See Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:31].  


 Rem[em]ber these things, call upon the Lord  while he is near and seek him while  he may be found43

See Isaiah 55:6; and Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:62–63].  


is the exhortation of  your unworthy servant
Joseph Smith Jr
<To N. E. Sextan [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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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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N Y.>44

TEXT: Insertion in handwriting of William W. Phelps.  


[p. 18]
Previous
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 ...

View Glossary
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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