2478377

Letter to William W. Phelps, 11 January 1833

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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January 11— 1833
Brother William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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I Send you the Olieve leaf which we have plucked from the tree of Paradise, the Lords message of peace to us,3

Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:1–126]; see also Genesis 8:11.  


for though our Brethren in Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

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, indulge in feelings towards us, which are not according to the requirements of the new covenant

Generally referred to the “fulness of the gospel”—the sum total of the church’s message, geared toward establishing God’s covenant people on the earth; also used to describe individual elements of the gospel, including marriage. According to JS, the everlasting...

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yet we have the satisfaction of knowing that the Lord approves of us & has accepted us, & established his name in 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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[p. 18]
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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January 11— 1833
Brother William [W. Phelps]

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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1

TEXT: “W. Phelps” was added later in a different handwriting.  


I Send you the Olieve2

TEXT: “f” smudged out with a “v” written over it.  


leaf which we have plucked  from the tree of Paradise, the Lords message of peace to us,3

Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:1–126]; see also Genesis 8:11.  


for though  our Brethren in Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

More Info
, indulge in feelings towards us, which is are  not according to the requirements of the new covenant

Generally referred to the “fulness of the gospel”—the sum total of the church’s message, geared toward establishing God’s covenant people on the earth; also used to describe individual elements of the gospel, including marriage. According to JS, the everlasting...

View Glossary
yet we  have the satisfaction of knowing that the Lord approves of us  & has accepted us, & established his name in 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...

More Info
[p. 18]
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On 11 January 1833, JS wrote a letter to William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, enclosing with the letter a copy of a revelation dated 27–28 December 1832 and perhaps also a copy of a revelation dated 3 January 1833.1

See Revelation, 3 Jan. 1833 [D&C 88:127–137]; and Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:1–126].  


In addition to transmitting the revelations, the letter responded to a communication from Phelps dated 15 December 1832 and to one from Sidney Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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dated 10 December 1832. Although Phelps’s and Gilbert’s letters are no longer extant, Gilbert’s letter contained what Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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and 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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called “low, dark, & blind insinuations” and Phelps’s “a lightness of spirit.”2 Other communications from Missouri 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...

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earlier in 1832 had revealed a rift between church leaders in Missouri and Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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. In part to resolve these differences, JS traveled to Missouri in the spring of 1832 and met with various leaders, but subsequent letters indicated that problems remained.3 On 31 July 1832, JS reproved Phelps for his “cold and indifferent” spirit and accused other Missouri leaders of “raking up evry fault” and “looking for motes in the eyes of those who are laboring with tender and prayerful hearts continually for there salvation.”4 Phelps may have shown a repentant spirit at some point thereafter, because JS stated in a November 1832 letter that he had “the most implicit confidence” in Phelps “as a man of God.”5 JS’s response to the December communications from Phelps and Gilbert, however, shows that tension between Missouri and Ohio leaders persisted.
Revelations throughout 1832 and early 1833 called on the Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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Saints to repent of their sins lest calamities should befall them, and JS wrote this letter to emphasize the importance of that instruction. Asserting that JS and other Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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leaders were deeply interested in the welfare of those Saints living in Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

More Info
, the letter outlined the problems that would afflict Missouri church members if they did not repent. It also chastised Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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and Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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for the contents of their previous letters.
JS’s letter implied that the Saints living in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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were not under the same condemnation as the “children of Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

More Info
.”6

A September 1832 revelation stated that the “children of Zion” were under “condemnation” for “vanity and unbelief,” as well as for “treat[ing] lightly” the revelations and commandments they had received. (Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:54–56].  


A revelation dated just two weeks earlier stated instead that the Ohio Saints’ willingness to “receive his [the Lord’s] will” was “pleasing” and “the Angels

Being who acts as a minister and messenger between heaven and earth. JS taught that angels were individuals who “belonged to this earth”; those who had already lived on earth were often resurrected beings. In addition to giving instruction, direction, and...

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rejoice over [them].”7

Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:1–2].  


The letter reiterated some of the instructions contained in the 27–28 December revelation pertaining to those living in 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, such as the direction to construct a house of God

The official name for the sacred edifice in Kirtland, Ohio, later known as the Kirtland temple; also the official name for other planned religious structures in Missouri. JS and the Latter-day Saints also referred to the House of the Lord in Kirtland as “...

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. The revelation had told the “first labourers, in this last kingdom” to “appoint among yourselves, a teacher” and gain instruction in both secular and spiritual matters.8

Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:74, 78–80, 122]. The 3 January 1833 revelation, which may have been included in this transmission, provided additional instructions regarding how to conduct this school. (Revelation, 3 Jan. 1833 [D&C 88:127–137].)  


According to this letter to Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, the school was to be “a school for the Prophets

A term occasionally used to refer to a Protestant seminary; specifically used by JS to refer to a school to prepare elders of the church for their ministry. A December 1832 revelation directed JS and the elders of the church in Kirtland, Ohio, to establish...

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”—perhaps much like the “schools of the prophets” that Congregational and Presbyterian churches had established in the 1700s to train divinity students interested in the ministry.9

See Darowski, “Schools of the Prophets,” 1–3.  


JS’s letter reported that Kirtland church leaders were in the process of establishing this school; later, in the summer of 1833, the Saints in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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would create their own “school of Elders.”10

See Pratt, Autobiography, 99–100.  


The original letter is not extant, but Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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copied it into JS’s letterbook, probably soon after its composition. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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published an excerpt from the 27–28 December 1832 revelation in the February 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star, which indicates that he received the letter and the enclosed revelation.11

“Commandments,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Feb. 1833, [5].  


Phelps also acted on JS’s instruction in the letter to make the Star more interesting by giving “the rise progress and faith of the church.” In the March 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star, Phelps included an article titled “Prospects of the Church,” in which he stated his intent “to give the particulars of the rise and progress of the church.”12

“Prospects of the Church,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Mar. 1833, [4].  


The following month, Phelps published a column titled “Rise and Progress of the Church of Christ,” which he evidently intended as a series. Similar columns, including letters from those reporting on their preaching in the United States

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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, followed in the April, June, and July 1833 issues of the Star.13

See, for example, the following articles in The Evening and the Morning Star:Rise and Progress of the Church of Christ,” Apr. 1833, [4]; “The Progress of the Church of Christ,” June 1833, [4]–[5]; and “Progress of the Church of Christ,” July 1833, [4]–[5].  


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