Letter to Saints Scattered Abroad, 8 December 1839

Commerce November, 1839.
To the Saints scattered abroad, in  the region westward from Kirtland  Ohio.
Beloved Brethren, feeling that it is  our duty, as the servants of God, to in struct the saints from time to time, in  those things which to us appear to be  wise and proper: therefore we freely  give you, a few words of advice at this  time.
We have heard it rumoured abroad,  that some at least, and probably many,  are making their calculations to re move back to Kirtland next season.
Now brethren, this being the case,  we advise you to abandon such an idea;  yea we warn you, in the name of the  Lord, not to remove back there, unless  you are counseled so to do by the first  Presidency, and the high council of  Nauvoo. We do not wish by this to  take your agency from you; but we  feel to be plain, and pointed in our  advice for we wish to do our duty,  that your sins may not be found in our  skirts. All persons are entitled to their  agency for God has so ordained it.—  He has constituted mankind moral  agents, and given them power to cho[o]se  good or evil; to seek after that which  is good, by pursuing the pathway of  holiness in this life, which brings  peace of mind, and joy in the Holy  Ghost here, and a fullness of joy and  happiness at his right hand hereafter;  or to pursue an evil course, going on  in sin and rebellion against God, there by bringing condemnation to their souls  in this world, and an eternal loss in  the world to come. Since the God of  heaven has left these things optional  with every individual, we do not wish  to deprive them of it. We only wish  to act the part of faithful watchmen,  agreeably to the word of the Lord to  Ezekiel the prophet, Ezekiel 33 chap.  2 3 4 5 and 6 verses, and leave it for  others to do as seemeth them good.—  Now for persons to do things, merely  because they are advised to do them,  and yet murmur all the time they  are doing them, is of no use at all;  they might as well not do them.
There are those who profess to be  saints who are too apt to murmur, and  find fault, when any advice is giv en, which comes in opposition to  their feelings, even when they, them selves, ask for counsel; much more  so when council is given unasked for,  which does not agree with their no tion of things; but brethren, we hope  for better things from the most of you;  we trust that you desire counsel, from  time to time, and that you will cheer fully conform to it, whenever you re ceive it from a proper source.
It is very probable, that it may be  considered wisdom for some of us, and  perhaps others, to move back to Kirt land, to attend to important business  there: but notwithstanding that, after  what we have written, should any be  so unwise as to move back there, with out being first counselled so to do,  their conduct will be highly disappro bated.
Done by order and vote of the first  Presidency and high council for the  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day  Saints, at Nauvoo Dec. 8th 1830 [1839].
First Presidency and High Council, Nauvoo, IL, to “Saints scattered abroad,” 8 Dec. 1839; Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, p. 29.