26086

Letter to the Church in Colesville, 2 December 1830

is at hand.17

See Zephaniah 1:7; Joel 1:15; and Isaiah 13:6.  


Yea, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make strait his path.18

In both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, this phrase is attributed to John the Baptist. (Luke 3:4; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 22 [1 Nephi 10:7–10].)  


Who will shrink because of offences, for offences must come, but woe to them by whom they come,19

See Luke 17:1.  


for the rock must fall on them and grind them to powder, for the fulness 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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is come in,20

See Romans 11:25.  


and woe will be unto them if they do not repent and 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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in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins, and come in at the strait gate [p. 204]
is at hand.17

See Zephaniah 1:7; Joel 1:15; and Isaiah 13:6.  


Yea, prepare ye  the way of the Lord, make strait  his path.18

In both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, this phrase is attributed to John the Baptist. (Luke 3:4; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 22 [1 Nephi 10:7–10].)  


Who will shrink  because of offences, for offences  must come, but woe to them  by whom they come,19

See Luke 17:1.  


for the  rock must fall on them  and grind them to powder,  for the fulness 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
 is come in,20

See Romans 11:25.  


and woe will  be unto them if they do not  repent and 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...

View Glossary
 in the name of our Lord and  Savior Jesus Christ for the  remission of their sins, and  come in at the strait gate [p. 204]
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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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