2477290

Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 November 1832

triumph above all the kingdoms of this world but I must drop this subject at the begining Oh Lord when will the time come when Brother William

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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thy servent and myself behold the day that we may stand together and gase upon Eternal wisdom engraven upon the hevens while the magesty of our God holdeth up the dark curtain until we may read the sound of Eternity to the fullness and satisfaction of our immortal souls Oh Lord God deliver us in thy due time from the little narrow prison almost as it were totel darkness of paper pen and ink and a crooked broken scattered and imperfect language I would inform you that I have obtained ten subscriboers for the star and received pay their names and place of residence as follows, John Mc.Mahhan, James Mc.Mahhan, James White, William Brown, Henry Kingery, Micayer Dillions, Abraham Kingery, John A Fisher, David Houghs, Thomas Singers, the papers and and all to be sent to Guyandotte Post office Verginea except David Houghs his is to be sent to Wayne County Worster Township Ohio, Vienna Jaqis [Jaques]

10 June 1787–7 Feb. 1884. Laundress, nurse. Born in Beverly, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Daughter of Henry Jaques and Lucinda Hughes. Lived in Boston, 1827–1830. Baptized into LDS church by E. Harris, 12 July 1831. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1833....

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has not received her Papers pleas inform her Sister Hariet that shee is well and give my respects to her tell her that Mr, Angels Brother came after her and the child soon after shee went from here all he wanted was the child No More my love for all the Brotheren yours in bonds Amen
Joseph Smith Jr—
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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PS send the evening and morning star to Brother Joseph Wakefield

7 July 1792–18 Jan. 1835. Born in Dublin, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Thomas Wakefield and Elizabeth Hardy. Married first Eunice Sawyer, 13 Dec. 1812. Moved to Watertown, Jefferson Co., New York, by 1820. Baptized into LDS church and ordained an elder...

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Watertown Jefferson County New York all to be from first No—
Jos Sm [p. 4]
triumph above all the kingdoms of this world but I must drop  this subject at the begining Oh Lord when will the time  come when Brothe[r] William

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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thy servent and myself  behold the day that we may stand together and gase upon  Eternal wisdom engraven upon the hevens while the mages ty of our God holdeth up the dark curtain <until> we may read  the sound of Eternity to the fullness and satisfaction of  our immortal souls Oh Lord God deliver us in thy  due time from the little narrow prison almost as it were  totel darkness of paper pen and ink and a crooked bro ken scattered and imperfect language I would inform  you that I have obtained ten subscriboers for the  star and received pay20

The subscription rate for The Evening and the Morning Star was “one dollar for a year in advance.” JS may have received these subscriptions on his trip to the eastern states in October and November 1832. (Notice, The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832, [8].)  


their names and place of residence  as follows, John Mc.Mahhan, James Mc.Mahhan,  James White, William Brown, Henry Kingery, Micayer  Dillions, Abraham Kingery, John A Fisher, David  Houghs, Thomas Singers, the papers and and all to  be sent to Guy[a]ndotte the papers are all to be sent to  Post office Verginea21

Phelps reported in the November 1832 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star that “new churches have been built up” in a variety of locations, including Guyandotte, Virginia. (“The Gathering,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Nov. 1832, [6].)  


except David Houghs his is to be  sent to Wayne <County> Township Worster County <Township> Ohio,  Vienna Jaqis [Jaques]

10 June 1787–7 Feb. 1884. Laundress, nurse. Born in Beverly, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Daughter of Henry Jaques and Lucinda Hughes. Lived in Boston, 1827–1830. Baptized into LDS church by E. Harris, 12 July 1831. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1833....

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has not r[e]ceived her Papers pleas inform  her Sister <Hariet> that shee is well and give my respects to  her tell her that Mr, Angels Brother came after her  and the child soon after shee went from here all  he wanted wanted was the child22

Vienna Jaques’s sister Harriet was married to a “Mr Angel.” In July 1832, Orson Hyde and Samuel Smith stayed with the Angels near Providence, Rhode Island. Although Angel was at first friendly to the missionaries, his feelings changed when Harriet expressed her desire to take their eleven-year-old child to Zion. Hyde and Smith initially counseled Harriet to stay with her husband, even though it was clear he had abused her in the past, “but when he turned against [the] work we concluded that if the way opened that it was best for her to go.” This letter indicates that Harriet and her son did indeed go to Zion. Whether Jaques traveled with them from New England to Ohio is unclear, but the information in this letter implies Jaques may have been in Ohio in the fall of 1832. Jaques did not move to Zion until 1833. (Samuel Smith, Diary, 22 July and 26 Nov. 1832; see also Hyde, Journal, 22 July 1832; and Sidney Rigdon et al., Kirtland, OH, to “Brethren,” [Independence, MO], 2 July 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, p. 51.)  


No More <my> love  for all the Brotheren yours in bonds Amen
Joseph Smith Jr—
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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JS handwriting ends; Frederick G. Williams begins.  


PS send the evening and morning star  to Brothe[r] Joseph Wakefield

7 July 1792–18 Jan. 1835. Born in Dublin, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Thomas Wakefield and Elizabeth Hardy. Married first Eunice Sawyer, 13 Dec. 1812. Moved to Watertown, Jefferson Co., New York, by 1820. Baptized into LDS church and ordained an elder...

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Watertown Jeffers[on]  County New York all to be from first No—
Jos Sm [p. 4]
Previous
After returning to 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, on 6 November 1832 from his trip with Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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to New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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and New England, JS answered letters he had received from “the brethren” 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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.1 The present letter, which was written by JS 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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on 27 November 1832, may have been written in response to an earlier letter from Phelps, but no such communication has been located. The letter presented here reflects the continuing difficulties between JS and leaders in Missouri. Although JS expressed consternation about some of the leaders, he also conveyed satisfaction about Phelps’s devotion. Such praise was in stark contrast to a 31 July letter that chastised Phelps for his “cold and indifferent manner.”2
JS began the letter anticipating a question on the part of 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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. JS could imagine Phelps wondering what was to be the fate of those church members who came to 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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but did not “receive an inheritance by consecration” from the bishop.3

Saints were expected to “consecrate” their property to the Church of Christ and then receive property—called an “inheritance” or “stewardship”—back from the bishop. (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:30–36]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:35–36].)  


Why such individuals may not have received an inheritance is unclear from JS’s letter, but Phelps discussed this subject in the November 1832 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star. After noting that a total of 810 individuals had migrated to Zion “since the gathering commenced” in 1831,4

“The Gathering,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Nov. 1832, [5].  


Phelps posed several questions, including, “Have you all fulfilled the law of the church, which saith: Behold thou shalt consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast, unto me, with a covenant and deed that cannot be broken?”5

“To the Saints,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Nov. 1832, [6]. Phelps was quoting “the Laws of the Church of Christ,” a February 1831 revelation. John Whitmer brought a copy of the revelation to Missouri in late 1831. (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Revelation Book 1, p. 64, in JSP, MRB:99 [D&C 42:30].)  


Apparently, at least some individuals had not followed the commandment to consecrate their properties and had consequently not received an inheritance.
In writing 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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, JS highlighted the need for the church to maintain the system of consecration 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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that previous revelations had established.6

See Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:30–38]; and Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:35–36].  


He explained to Phelps that the Lord’s clerk, 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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, was to keep a “Book of the Law of God” to record the names of those who consecrated their property and received their inheritance. Individuals who did not comply with the consecration commandment were not to be listed. In this way, the church could keep an orderly record of consecration and of inheritance distributions.
Record keeping was of great concern to JS at this time. After sending 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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and 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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to 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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in November 1831 with a record book containing copies of his revelations, JS purchased another record book in February or March 1832, into which he and 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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began copying revelations that had been dictated since November 1831.7

See Historical Introduction to Revelation Book 2, in JSP, MRB:408; and Whitmer, History, 38, in JSP, H2:49.  


Probably only a few months before writing this November 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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, JS composed his first history, “A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr. an account of his marvilous experience . . . and also an account of the rise of the church of Christ in the eve of time.”8 In his July 1832 letter to the Missouri Saints, JS instructed Phelps to remind Whitmer of the need “to keep a history of the church & the gathering.”9 Moreover, the same day that JS composed the November letter to Phelps, JS purchased a record book and began his first journal “for the purpose to keep a minute acount of all things that come under my obsevation &c.”10

JS, Journal, 1832–1834, front cover, in JSP, J1:9.  


Instructing Phelps and Whitmer about keeping a “Book of the Law of God” fits with this general pattern of maintaining records. However, if Phelps or Whitmer kept such a record at this time, it is not extant.
The original letter JS sent to 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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has not been located. JS and 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 as the first letter in JS’s first letterbook, likely before sending it 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 letter appears in the letterbook immediately after JS’s 1832 history, which is the first item in the book. After Phelps received the letter, he published a portion of it in the January 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star, prefacing it by saying, “In relation to consecrating, and continuing worthy, and faithful to the end, we make the following extract of a letter.” The extract commenced with the words, “It is the duty of the Lord’s clerk” and ended after quoting from Ezra 2:61–62.11

JS’s letter referenced Ezra 2:61–62 without quoting the verses, but Phelps reproduced the referenced verses in the publication. This extract was later published in the 1876 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants as section 85. (“Let Every Man Learn His Duty,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, [5]; JS, Kirtland, OH, to William W. Phelps, [Independence, MO], 27 Nov. 1832, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 1–4 [D&C 85].)  


Facts