53992035

Letter to the Elders of the Church, November 1835

their heads, according to the dispensation

A period of God’s work on earth, such as the “dispensation of the gospel of Abraham.” The biblical phrase “dispensation of the fulness of times” appears often in the writing of early Latter-day Saints; they typically used it to describe the final dispensation...

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which he hath committed unto us: for God has so ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

View Glossary
, that his work shall be cut short in righteousness, in the last days: therefore, first teach the parents, and then, with their consent, let him persuade the children to embrace the gospel also. And if children embrace the gospel, and their parents or guardians are unbelievers, teach them to stay at home and be obedient to their parents or guardians, if they require it; but if they consent to let them gather with the people of God let them do so and there shall be no wrong and let all things be done carefully, and righteously, and God will extend his guardian care to all such.
And secondly, it should be the duty of 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...

View Glossary
, when they enter into any house, to let their labors and warning voice, be unto the master of that house: and if he receive the gospel, then he may extend his influence to his wife also, with consent, that peradventure she may receive the gospel; but if a man receive not the gospel, but gives his consent that his wife may receive it, and she believes, then let her receive it. But if the man forbid his wife, or his children before they are of age, to receive the gospel, then it should be the duty of the elder to go his way and use no influence against him: and let the responsibility be upon his head—shake off the dust of thy feet as a testimony against him, and thy skirts shall then be clear of their souls. Their sins are not to be answered upon such as God hath sent to warn them to flee the wrath to come, and save themselves from this untoward generation. The servants of God will not have gone over the nations 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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, with a warning voice, until the destroying angel will commence to waste the inhabitants of the earth; and as the prophet hath said, “It shall be a vexation to hear the report.” I speak because I feel for my fellow-men: I do it in the name of the Lord, being moved upon by the Holy Spirit. O that I could snatch them from the vortex of misery, into which I behold them plunging themselves, by their sins, that I may be enabled, by the warning voice, to be an instrument of bringing them to unfeigned repentance, that they may have faith to stand in the evil day.
Thirdly, it should be the duty of an elder, when he enters into a house to salute the master of that house, and if he gain his consent, then he may preach to all that are in that house, but if he gain not his consent, let him go not unto his slaves or servants, but let the responsibility be upon the head of the master of that house, and the consequences thereof; and the guilt of that house is no longer upon thy skirts: Thou art free; therefore, shake off the dust of thy feet, and go thy way. But if the master of that house give consent, that thou mayest preach to his family, his wife, his children, and his servants, his man-servants, or his maid-servants, or his slaves, then it should be the duty of the elder to stand up boldly for the cause of Christ, and warn that people with one accord, to 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
for the remission of sins, and for the Holy Ghost, always commanding them in the name of the Lord, in the spirit of meekness to be kindly affected one towards another; that the fathers should be kind to their children, husbands to their wives; masters to their slaves or servants; children obedient to their parents, wives to their husbands, and slaves or servants to their masters:
“Wives submit youselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.—For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”—Ephesians, Chapt. V. from the 22d to the end of the 21st [31st] verse.
“Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh: not with eye service as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” —Colocians, Chapt. III. from the 18th to the end of the 22d verse. [p. 211]
their heads, according to the dispensa tion

A period of God’s work on earth, such as the “dispensation of the gospel of Abraham.” The biblical phrase “dispensation of the fulness of times” appears often in the writing of early Latter-day Saints; they typically used it to describe the final dispensation...

View Glossary
which he hath committed unto us:  for God has so ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

View Glossary
, that his work  shall be cut short in righteousness, in  the last days: therefore, first teach the  parents, and then, with their consent,  let him persuade the children to em brace the gospel also. And if children  embrace the gospel, and their parents  or guardians are unbelievers, teach  them to stay at home and be obedient  to their parents or guardians, if they  require it; but if they consent to let  them gather with the people of God let  them do so and there shall be no wrong  and let all things be done carefully, and  righteously, and God will extend his  guardian care to all such.
And secondly, it should be the duty  of 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...

View Glossary
, when they enter into any  house, to let their labors and warning  voice, be unto the master of that house:  and if he receive the gospel, then he  may extend his influence to his wife al so, with consent, that peradventure she  may receive the gospel; but if a man  receive not the gospel, but gives his  consent that his wife may receive it,  and she believes, then let her receive it.  But if the man forbid his wife, or his  children before they are of age, to re ceive the gospel, then it should be the  duty of the elder to go his way and use  no influence against him: and let the  responsibility be upon his head—shake  off the dust of thy feet as a testimony  against him, and thy skirts shall then  be clear of their souls. Their sins are  not to be answered upon such as God  hath sent to warn them to flee the wrath  to come, and save themselves from  this untoward generation. The serv ants of God will not have gone over  the nations 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
, with a war ning voice, until the destroying angel  will commence to waste the inhabitants  of the earth; and as the prophet hath  said, “It shall be a vexation to hear  the report.” I speak because I feel  for my fellow-men: I do it in the name  of the Lord, being moved upon by the  Holy Spirit. O that I could snatch  them from the vortex of misery, into  which I behold them plunging them selves, by their sins, that I may be en abled, by the warning voice, to be an  instrument of bringing them to unfeign ed repentance, that they may have  faith to stand in the evil day.
Thirdly, it should be the duty of an  elder, when he enters into a house to  salute the master of that house, and if  he gain his consent, then he may  preach to all that are in that house, but  if he gain not his consent, let him go  not unto his slaves or servants, but let  the responsibility be upon the head of  the master of that house, and the con sequences thereof; and the guilt of that  house is no longer upon thy skirts:  Thou art free; therefore, shake off the  dust of thy feet, and go thy way. But  if the master of that house give consent,  that thou mayest preach to his family,  his wife, his children, and his servants,  his man-servants, or his maid-servants,  or his slaves, then it should be the du ty of the elder to stand up boldly for  the cause of Christ, and warn that peo ple with one accord, to 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
for the remission of sins, and  for the Holy Ghost, always command ing them in the name of the Lord, in  the spirit of meekness to be kindly af fected one towards another; that the  fathers should be kind to their children,  husbands to their wives; masters to  their slaves or servants; children obe dient to their parents, wives to their  husbands, and slaves or servants to  their masters:
“Wives submit youselves unto your own  husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband  is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the  head of the church: and he is the Savior of  the body. Therefore as the church is subject  unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own  husbands in every thing. Husbands, love  your wives even as Christ also loved the  church and gave himself for it; that he might  sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of  water by the word, that he might present it  to himself a glorious church, not having spot,  or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it  should be holy and without blemish. So  ought men to love their wives as their own  bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth him self. For no man ever yet hated his own  flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even  as the Lord the church: for we are members  of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.— For this cause shall a man leave his father  and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife,  and they two shall be one flesh.”—Ephe sians, Chapt. V. from the 22d to the end of  the 21st [31st] verse.
“Wives submit yourselves unto your own  husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands,  love your wives, and be not bitter against  them. Children, obey your parents in all  things: for this is well pleasing unto the  Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children  to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants,  obey in all things your masters according to  the flesh: not with eye service as menpleas ers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.”  —Colocians, Chapt. III. from the 18th to the  end of the 22d verse. [p. 211]
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JS, letter, 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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, OH, to the elders of the church, Nov. 1835; Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, Nov. 1835, pp. 209–212.

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