26086

Letter to the Church in Colesville, 2 December 1830

and be numbered with the House of Israel,21

The idea that repentant Gentiles would be adopted into the house of Israel is emphasized in the Book of Mormon. (See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 32, 85, 488, 499, 513–514 [1 Nephi 14:1–2; 2 Nephi 10:18; 3 Nephi 16:13; 21:6; 30:2].)  


for God will not always be mocked, and not pour out his wrath upon those that blaspheme his holy name, for the sword, famines and destruction will soon overtake them in their wild career, for God will avenge, and pour out his phials22

A contemporary spelling of “vial.” (“Phial” and “Vial,” in American Dictionary.)  


of wrath, and save his elect. And all those who will obey his commandments

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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are his elect, and he will soon gather them from the four winds of heaven,23

A September 1830 revelation defined the elect as those who “hear my voice & harden not their hearts.” The gathering of the elect was also mentioned in an October 1830 revelation. (Revelation, Sept. 1830–A [D&C 29:7]; Revelation, Oct. 1830–B [D&C 33:6].)  


from [p. 205]
and be numbered with the  House of Israel,21

The idea that repentant Gentiles would be adopted into the house of Israel is emphasized in the Book of Mormon. (See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 32, 85, 488, 499, 513–514 [1 Nephi 14:1–2; 2 Nephi 10:18; 3 Nephi 16:13; 21:6; 30:2].)  


for God will  not always be mocked, and  not pour out his wrath upon  those that blaspheme his holy  name, for the sword, famines  and destruction will soon  overtake them in their wild  career, for God will avenge,  and pour out his phials22

A contemporary spelling of “vial.” (“Phial” and “Vial,” in American Dictionary.)  


of  wrath, and save his elect.  And all those who will obey  his commandments

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

View Glossary
are his  elect, and he will soon  gather them from the  four winds of heaven,23

A September 1830 revelation defined the elect as those who “hear my voice & harden not their hearts.” The gathering of the elect was also mentioned in an October 1830 revelation. (Revelation, Sept. 1830–A [D&C 29:7]; Revelation, Oct. 1830–B [D&C 33:6].)  


from [p. 205]
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This letter gives instructions to the church members in Colesville

Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...

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, New York, in general but also addresses JS’s brother Hyrum Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

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in particular. At the time JS and John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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wrote it, Hyrum and his wife, Jerusha Barden Smith

15 Feb. 1805–13 Oct. 1837. Born in Norfolk, Litchfield Co., Connecticut. Daughter of Seth Barden and Sarah. Moved to Greene, Chenango Co., New York, by 1820. Married Hyrum Smith, 2 Nov. 1826, in Manchester, Ontario Co., New York. Moved to Palmyra, Wayne Co...

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, were living in Colesville with Newel Knight

13 Sept. 1800–11 Jan. 1847. Miller, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Knight Sr. and Polly Peck. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, ca. 1809. Moved to Windsor (later in Colesville), Broome Co., New...

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and his wife, Sarah Coburn Knight

1804–15 Sept. 1834. Born in Oxford (later in Guilford), Chenango Co., New York. Daughter of Amariah Coburn and Rose Linda Lyon. Resided in Oxford, Chenango Co., by 1810. Moved to Greene, Chenango Co., by 1820. Moved to Colesville, Broome Co., New York, by...

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. Hyrum Smith and Newel Knight were engaged in preaching in the area. The letter included a copy of a recently received letter from Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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, who reported on the great success he and his three missionary companions were experiencing in the area around Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio.1 The entire letter, including Cowdery’s communication, was eventually copied into Newel Knight’s autobiography.
This letter was apparently part of an ongoing correspondence, not all of which is extant, between JS and members of the church in Colesville

Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...

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. Like JS’s August 1830 letter to members in Colesville,2 it reflects a belief in an imminent Second Coming and cites international political conflict and natural catastrophes as evidence that “the prophecies of the Book of Mormon are fulfilling as fast as time can bring it about.”3

The apocalyptic content of the letter raises the possibility that it may also have been intended to prepare the Colesville branch for the forthcoming exodus of church members from New York to Ohio, declaring as it did that the “time is soon at hand that we shall have to flee whithersoever the Lord will, for safety.” The inclusion of Cowdery’s letter, with its encouraging commentary on the work in Kirtland, may have helped prepare members in Colesville to respond positively to the call to leave New York and remove to that distant location. However, no other evidence indicates that JS was contemplating a move to Ohio prior to the 30 December revelation. (See Revelation, 30 Dec. 1830 [D&C 37:2–3].)  


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