26086

Letter to the Church in Colesville, 2 December 1830

in the Lord, through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, Amen.
To the Church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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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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Having many things to write to you, but being assured that ye are not ignorant of all that I can write to you, finally I would inform you that 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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3

JS’s use of the term Zion here suggests that he did not yet see Zion as synonymous with the city of New Jerusalem, which was to be built; JS had just dispatched Oliver Cowdery and others to “rear up a pillar as a witness where the Temple of God shall be built, in the glorious New-Jerusalem.” While the two terms would eventually come to be used almost interchangeably, this letter demonstrates that in early December 1830 JS was using Zion to refer more generally to the work of spreading the gospel and building up the church. (Covenant of Oliver Cowdery and Others, 17 Oct. 1830.)  


is prospering here, there are many serious inquirers in this place, who are seeking the Lord. It gave us much joy to hear from you, to hear that God is softening the hearts of the children of men [p. 197]
in the Lord, through Jesus Christ  our Redeemer, Amen.
To the Church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
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...

More Info
Having many things to write  to you, but being assured  that ye are not ignorant of  all that I can write to you,  finally I would inform  you that 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
3

JS’s use of the term Zion here suggests that he did not yet see Zion as synonymous with the city of New Jerusalem, which was to be built; JS had just dispatched Oliver Cowdery and others to “rear up a pillar as a witness where the Temple of God shall be built, in the glorious New-Jerusalem.” While the two terms would eventually come to be used almost interchangeably, this letter demonstrates that in early December 1830 JS was using Zion to refer more generally to the work of spreading the gospel and building up the church. (Covenant of Oliver Cowdery and Others, 17 Oct. 1830.)  


is prospering  here, there are many  serious inquirers in this  place, who are seeking the  Lord. It gave us much  joy to hear from you, to  hear that God is softening the  hearts of the children of men [p. 197]
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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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