2476866

Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832

cause is a proof of there faithfulness in the high calling I would exhort Bros 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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& John to be ware of saducing spirits38

See 1 Timothy 4:1; see also Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–A [D&C 46:7].  


and stand firm in the liberty wherein they have been set free39

See Galatians 5:1; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 203, 393, 399–400 [Mosiah 23:13; Alma 58:40; 61:9, 21].  


and never be weary in well doing40

See Galatians 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:13; and Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831 [D&C 64:33].  


which is also my exhortation to all those 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
that love the appearing of our Lord and saviour Jesus christ.41

See 2 Timothy 4:8.  


I went 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...

More Info
last week and held a meeting on the Lords day and found the brethren strong in the faith and enjoying the sweet influence of the holy spirit cheering there hearts and enlarging ther understandings and binding there souls together that nothing but death can break asunder43

This suggests that the trouble and confusion raised by Sidney Rigdon’s recent announcement that the church had lost the “keys of the kingdom” had been resolved.  


we found the brethren in the injoyment of tolerable health except Sister Elliott whom the Doctors (two of them)44

“Sister Elliott” is probably Mary Cahoon Elliott, wife of David Elliott.a If so, the doctors mentioned here were probably located in Chagrin, Ohio, where the Elliotts appear to have been living.b Three doctors were apparently in Chagrin at the time: John Henderson, Asahel Brainard, and George Card.c Even if the Elliotts were in Kirtland, and not Chagrin, it is still possible the doctors JS mentions here were from Chagrin. Samuel Whitney, brother of Newel K. Whitney, later recalled two incidents in Kirtland in the 1830s where doctors were involved and specifically mentioned Brainard and Card.d  


aSee Backman, Profile, 23.

bJS, Kirtland, OH, to “Brethren in Zion,” Independence, MO, 21 Apr. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 32–36.

c1830 U.S. Census, Chagrin, Cuyahoga Co., OH, 100; Crary, Pioneer and Personal Reminiscences, 19.

d“Statement of Rev. S. F. Whitney on Mormonism,” Naked Truths about Mormonism, [Oakland, CA], Jan. 1888, 3.

had given over & Bro Sidney

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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’s seccond daughter

8 Dec. 1822–1 Nov. 1887. Born in Pittsburgh. Daughter of Sidney Rigdon and Phebe Brooks. Moved to Bainbridge, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1826. Moved to Mentor, Geauga Co., 1827. Baptized into LDS church, likely ca. Nov. 1830, in Ohio. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co....

View Full Bio
45

Rigdon’s second daughter, Nancy, was born on 8 December 1822 and would have been nine years old at the time. (Allegheny Co., PA, Orphans’ Court, Registration of Deaths in the City of Pittsburgh, 1870–1905, vol. 48, p. 222, microfilm 505,840, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny Co., PA, Cemetery Records, 1845–1976, vol. E, p. 262, microfilm 1,290,386, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; “Records of Early Church Families,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine Oct. 1936 27:161.)  


but were restored by the preayer of faith,46

See James 5:15.  


Father John Johnson

14 Apr. 1779–30 July 1843. Farmer, innkeeper. Born at Chesterfield, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Johnson and Abigail Higgins. Married Alice (Elsa) Jacobs, 22 June 1800. Moved to Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont, ca. 1803. Settled at Hiram, Portage...

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s family & mine are enjoying tolerable health inso much we cannot complain. Sister Sarah Jackson47

Possibly Sarah Maria Jackson, who moved to Jackson County in December 1832. (Whitmer, Daybook, 6 Jan. 1832; Faulring, “Early Marriages,” 201.)  


came to live with us yesterday you have the prayers of us all daily and I think I can say almost hourly and in this day of calamity the saints & sinner hearts are almost failing them for fear48

See Luke 21:26; and Old Testament Revision 1, p. 19 [Moses 7:66].  


and are crying to whom shall we go or whethe whither shall we flee O my God spare 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
that it may be a place of Reffuge and of safety.49

An 1831 revelation spoke of the New Jerusalem as “a City of refuge a place of safety for the saints.” (Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:66].)  


I have a partickuler request to make of Bro 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...

View Full Bio
that is as soon as you receive this letter for him to assertain the exact number of Deciples that have arived 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
& how many have received there inheritence

Generally referred to land promised by or received from God for the church and its members. A January 1831 revelation promised church members a land of inheritance. In March and May 1831, JS dictated revelations commanding members “to purchase lands for an...

View Glossary
and the state and standing of each branch

An ecclesiastical organization of church members in a particular locale. A branch was generally smaller than a stake or a conference. Branches were also referred to as churches, as in “the Church of Shalersville.” In general, a branch was led by a presiding...

View Glossary
of 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
and of this inteligence communicate to us as soon as it can be done by letter such as is not wisdom to publish in the paper,52

There is no surviving letter from Whitmer with this information. However, in the history of the church that Whitmer kept, he recorded that around March 1832 there were 402 “disciples living in this land Zion.” On 1 December 1832, Whitmer reported that there were “538 individuals in this land b[e]longing to th[e] church.” According to William E. McLellin, the group from Portage County, Ohio, that arrived in Zion in June 1832 consisted of “near 100 of our brethren (viz) men, women & children,” making up most of this increase. (Whitmer, History, 38–39; William E. McLellin, Independence, MO, to “Beloved Relatives,” Carthage, TN, 4 Aug. 1832, photocopy, CHL.)  


I exhort Bro 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...

View Full Bio
also to remember the commandment to him to keep a history of the church & the gathering

As directed by early revelations, church members “gathered” in communities. A revelation dated September 1830, for instance, instructed elders “to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect” who would “be gathered in unto one place, upon the face of this land...

View Glossary
53

A March 1831 revelation instructed Whitmer to “write & keep a regulal [regular] history.” A November 1831 revelation instructed Whitmer to “travel many times from place to place & from Church to Church that he may the more easily obtain knowledge . . . writing cop[y]ing & selecting & obtain[in]g all things which shall be for the good of the Church & for the rising generations which shall grow up on the Land of Zion.” (Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–B [D&C 47:1]; Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–A [D&C 69:8].)  


and be sure to shew him self approoved whereunto he hath been called54

See 2 Timothy 2:15.  


This is a copy of a letter writen to Broth Wm 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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July 31— 1832 from Hyram

Area settled by immigrants from Pennsylvania and New England, ca. 1802. Located in northeastern Ohio about twenty-five miles southeast of Kirtland. Population in 1830 about 500. Population in 1840 about 1,100. JS lived in township at home of John and Alice...

More Info
except a few words on the wrapper by way of exhortation complementary &c
Joseph Smith Jr. [p. 7]
cause is a proof of there faithfulness in the high calling  I would exhort Bros 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...

View Full Bio
& John to be ware of saducing  spirits38

See 1 Timothy 4:1; see also Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–A [D&C 46:7].  


and stand firm in the liberty wherein they have  been set free39

See Galatians 5:1; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 203, 393, 399–400 [Mosiah 23:13; Alma 58:40; 61:9, 21].  


and never be weary in well doing40

See Galatians 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:13; and Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831 [D&C 64:33].  


which is  also my exhortation to all those 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
that love the appear ing of our Lord and saviour Jesus christ.41

See 2 Timothy 4:8.  


I [w]ent42

TEXT: “[Hole in paper]ent”.  


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...

More Info
 last week and held a meeting on the Lords day and found  the brethren strong in the faith and enjoying the sweet  influence of the holy spirit cheering there hearts and  enlarging ther understandings and binding there souls to gethe[r] that nothing but death can break asunder43

This suggests that the trouble and confusion raised by Sidney Rigdon’s recent announcement that the church had lost the “keys of the kingdom” had been resolved.  


we  found the brethren in the injoyment of tolerable health  except Siste[r] Elliott whom the Doctors <(two of them)>44

“Sister Elliott” is probably Mary Cahoon Elliott, wife of David Elliott.a If so, the doctors mentioned here were probably located in Chagrin, Ohio, where the Elliotts appear to have been living.b Three doctors were apparently in Chagrin at the time: John Henderson, Asahel Brainard, and George Card.c Even if the Elliotts were in Kirtland, and not Chagrin, it is still possible the doctors JS mentions here were from Chagrin. Samuel Whitney, brother of Newel K. Whitney, later recalled two incidents in Kirtland in the 1830s where doctors were involved and specifically mentioned Brainard and Card.d  


aSee Backman, Profile, 23.

bJS, Kirtland, OH, to “Brethren in Zion,” Independence, MO, 21 Apr. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 32–36.

c1830 U.S. Census, Chagrin, Cuyahoga Co., OH, 100; Crary, Pioneer and Personal Reminiscences, 19.

d“Statement of Rev. S. F. Whitney on Mormonism,” Naked Truths about Mormonism, [Oakland, CA], Jan. 1888, 3.

had given over & Bro  Sidney

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

View Full Bio
[’s] seccond daughte[r]

8 Dec. 1822–1 Nov. 1887. Born in Pittsburgh. Daughter of Sidney Rigdon and Phebe Brooks. Moved to Bainbridge, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1826. Moved to Mentor, Geauga Co., 1827. Baptized into LDS church, likely ca. Nov. 1830, in Ohio. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co....

View Full Bio
45

Rigdon’s second daughter, Nancy, was born on 8 December 1822 and would have been nine years old at the time. (Allegheny Co., PA, Orphans’ Court, Registration of Deaths in the City of Pittsburgh, 1870–1905, vol. 48, p. 222, microfilm 505,840, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny Co., PA, Cemetery Records, 1845–1976, vol. E, p. 262, microfilm 1,290,386, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; “Records of Early Church Families,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine Oct. 1936 27:161.)  


but were restored to health by  the preayer of faith,46

See James 5:15.  


Father [John] Johnson

14 Apr. 1779–30 July 1843. Farmer, innkeeper. Born at Chesterfield, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Johnson and Abigail Higgins. Married Alice (Elsa) Jacobs, 22 June 1800. Moved to Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont, ca. 1803. Settled at Hiram, Portage...

View Full Bio
s family & mine are  enjoying tolerable health inso much we cannot com plain. Sister Sarah Jackson47

Possibly Sarah Maria Jackson, who moved to Jackson County in December 1832. (Whitmer, Daybook, 6 Jan. 1832; Faulring, “Early Marriages,” 201.)  


came to live with me us yesterday  you have the prayers of us all day daily and I think I can  say almost hourly and in this day of calamity the  saints & sinner hearts are almost failing them for fear48

See Luke 21:26; and Old Testament Revision 1, p. 19 [Moses 7:66].  


 and are crying to whom shall we go or whethe [whither] shall we flee  O my God spare 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
that it may be a place of Reffuge  and of safety.49

An 1831 revelation spoke of the New Jerusalem as “a City of refuge a place of safety for the saints.” (Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:66].)  


I have a partickuler request to make of Bro 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...

View Full Bio
 that is as soon as you receive this letter for him to assertain the exact num ber of Deciples that have arived 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
& how many have received there  inheritence

Generally referred to land promised by or received from God for the church and its members. A January 1831 revelation promised church members a land of inheritance. In March and May 1831, JS dictated revelations commanding members “to purchase lands for an...

View Glossary
and the stat[e]50

TEXT: “stat[hole in paper]”.  


and standing of each branch

An ecclesiastical organization of church members in a particular locale. A branch was generally smaller than a stake or a conference. Branches were also referred to as churches, as in “the Church of Shalersville.” In general, a branch was led by a presiding...

View Glossary
o[f]51

TEXT: “o[hole in paper]”.  


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
and  of this inteligence communicate to us as soon as it can be done  by letter such as is not wisdom to publish in the paper,52

There is no surviving letter from Whitmer with this information. However, in the history of the church that Whitmer kept, he recorded that around March 1832 there were 402 “disciples living in this land Zion.” On 1 December 1832, Whitmer reported that there were “538 individuals in this land b[e]longing to th[e] church.” According to William E. McLellin, the group from Portage County, Ohio, that arrived in Zion in June 1832 consisted of “near 100 of our brethren (viz) men, women & children,” making up most of this increase. (Whitmer, History, 38–39; William E. McLellin, Independence, MO, to “Beloved Relatives,” Carthage, TN, 4 Aug. 1832, photocopy, CHL.)  


I exhort  Bro 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...

View Full Bio
also to remember the commandment to him to keep  a history of the church & the gathering

As directed by early revelations, church members “gathered” in communities. A revelation dated September 1830, for instance, instructed elders “to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect” who would “be gathered in unto one place, upon the face of this land...

View Glossary
53

A March 1831 revelation instructed Whitmer to “write & keep a regulal [regular] history.” A November 1831 revelation instructed Whitmer to “travel many times from place to place & from Church to Church that he may the more easily obtain knowledge . . . writing cop[y]ing & selecting & obtain[in]g all things which shall be for the good of the Church & for the rising generations which shall grow up on the Land of Zion.” (Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–B [D&C 47:1]; Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–A [D&C 69:8].)  


and be sure to shew him  self approoved whereunto he hath been called54

See 2 Timothy 2:15.  


This is a copy of a letter writen to Broth Wm 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,...

View Full Bio
 July 31— 1832 from Hyram

Area settled by immigrants from Pennsylvania and New England, ca. 1802. Located in northeastern Ohio about twenty-five miles southeast of Kirtland. Population in 1830 about 500. Population in 1840 about 1,100. JS lived in township at home of John and Alice...

More Info
except a few words on the  wrapper by way of exhortation complementary &c

Signature of JS.  


Joseph Smith Jr. [p. 7]
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JS’s 31 July 1832 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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addressed ongoing tensions between church leaders 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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and 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...

More Info
. JS labored to establish unity between the two groups for much of the latter part of 1831 and the beginning of 1832, but his efforts were hampered by the distance between them (Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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, Jackson County, Missouri, was nearly nine hundred travel miles from 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
, Ohio) and by occasional criticisms of his leadership. Although a September 1831 revelation chastised those who had “sought occation against him [JS] without a cause” and counseled the 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
of the church to “forgive one another,” problems continued.1

Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831 [D&C 64:6, 9].  


In March 1832, a revelation commanded JS, Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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, and Bishop

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

View Glossary
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...

View Full Bio
to travel 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...

More Info
. One reason for the trip was to organize what became known as the United Firm

An organization that supervised the management of church enterprises and properties from 1832 to 1834. In March and April 1832, revelations directed that the church’s publishing and mercantile endeavors be organized. In accordance with this direction, the...

View Glossary
, a board governing the mercantile and publishing entities of the church in Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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and 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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. Another reason was to “sit in councel with the saints.”2

Revelation, 1 Mar. 1832 [D&C 78:9].  


In the course of several meetings held in late April and early May, JS, Rigdon, Whitney, and Jesse Gause

Ca. 1784–ca. Sept. 1836. Schoolteacher. Born at East Marlborough, Chester Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Gause (Goss) and Mary Beverly. Joined Society of Friends (Quakers), 1806. Moved to Fayette Co., Pennsylvania, 1808; to Chester Co., 1811; and to Wilmington...

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(who, along with Rigdon, was called as one of JS’s counselors in March 1832) established the United Firm and fostered unity so that “the hearts of all” ran “together in love.”3
Yet the harmony achieved in 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...

More Info
meetings was fleeting—a fact that apparently concerned JS as early as his May–June 1832 stay in Greenville

Located thirteen miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky, in hilly area with poor soil and good timber. First permanent white settlers arrived in area, early 1800s. Population in 1833 about 200. En route from Missouri to Kirtland, Ohio, spring 1832, JS and...

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, Indiana, en route to 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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with 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...

View Full Bio
. JS’s 31 July 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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referenced Whitney shedding many tears in Greenville “for 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
” and recounted that JS, after communing with God in a grove of trees in Greenville, “viewed the conspiricy” of church leaders in Missouri. These statements indicate that JS and Whitney understood even as they traveled home that tensions still existed with the Missouri leaders. Upon his arrival in Ohio, JS found firm evidence of the continuing tension: a letter dated 2 June 1832 from John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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, a counselor to Bishop Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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, that again raised points of conflict and exhibited some animosity toward JS and other church leaders in Ohio.4

According to the letter featured below, Sidney Gilbert brought Corrill’s letter with him to Ohio and arrived there before JS. When JS arrived in Ohio, he reunited with his wife Emma and adopted daughter, Julia, who were staying in Kirtland, before apparently moving them back to the John and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs Johnson home in Hiram, Ohio. Gilbert may have given Corrill’s letter to JS when JS was in Kirtland, or he may have brought it to JS in Hiram. (JS History, vol. A-1, 215–216.)  


According to a letter written in January 1833 by 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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and 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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, Corrill’s letter implied that JS was “seeking after Monarchal power and authority.”5 Apparently, these accusations so upset Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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that he entered into a “frantick” state of mind and claimed that the “keys” had been taken from the church, which caused JS to revoke Rigdon’s priesthood license

A document certifying an individual’s office in the church and authorizing him “to perform the duty of his calling.” The “Articles and Covenants” of the church implied that only elders could issue licenses; individuals ordained by a priest to an office in...

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and strip him of his counselor and scribal duties for a brief period in July 1832.6

Cahoon, Diary, July 1832; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 13, [5]–[6].  


In July, JS also received a letter from 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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, who operated the church’s printing works in Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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. This letter, according to JS’s 31 July reply featured below, exhibited a “cold and indifferent manner” that further disturbed JS and shaped his reply.7

Phelps’s letter is not extant.  


Phelps’s letter may have been sent directly to JS in Hiram

Area settled by immigrants from Pennsylvania and New England, ca. 1802. Located in northeastern Ohio about twenty-five miles southeast of Kirtland. Population in 1830 about 500. Population in 1840 about 1,100. JS lived in township at home of John and Alice...

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, Ohio, or it may have been sent 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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, where 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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served as postmaster.8

Other 1832 letters from Missouri leaders to JS were sent to Whitney, including a January 1832 letter from Oliver Cowdery. These letters were addressed to Whitney at the Kirtland Mills post office, which was in Whitney’s store. JS apparently received correspondence from the Missouri leaders through the Kirtland Mills post office. (Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 28 Jan. 1832; Berrett, Sacred Places, 3:11–12.)  


If Phelps sent the letter to Kirtland, JS may have obtained it during the week of 22–28 July when, as noted in this reply, JS went to Kirtland, perhaps to officiate in Rigdon’s reinstatement.9

On 28 July, Hyrum Smith wrote in his journal that “Brother Sidney was ordaind to the hight preisthood the second time.” Rigdon was probably reinstated in Kirtland; Hyrum and Rigdon both resided there, and Rigdon had been removed from his office in Kirtland. (Hyrum Smith, Diary and Account Book, 28 July 1832.)  


In any case, JS preached in Kirtland on Sunday, 29 July. He then probably spent Monday, 30 July, traveling from Kirtland to Hiram. On the morning of 31 July, JS dictated this letter to 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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, his recently appointed scribe, in response to Phelps’s letter.
JS’s reply expressed his continuing frustration with 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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leadership. JS noted that their conduct influenced other Mormons 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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to make false prophecies and unwise statements that apparently generated hostility among local citizens who were not members of the church.10

JS may have been aware of an incident later reported by Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, and Edward Partridge. According to Whitmer, in March 1832 “enem[i]es held a counsel” in Independence to decide “how they might destroy the saints.” Partridge reported that this meeting was broken up by Indian agent Marston Clark, but “still the hostile spirit of individuals was no less abated.” (Whitmer, History, 38; “A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” Times and Seasons, 17 Dec. 1839, 1:17; “The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 122.)  


But he concluded the letter on an optimistic note, highlighting the success of the missionaries and the good feelings that prevailed 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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church meetings that he had recently attended.
The document presented here is a complete copy of the letter penned by 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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and signed by JS, including a notation that it is missing only “a few words on the wrapper by way of exhortation complementary &c.” It eventually came into the possession of 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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, the bishop 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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. 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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apparently received and answered the letter, as indicated in a subsequent letter written by church leaders 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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.11

In a January 1833 letter, Hyrum Smith and Orson Hyde wrote that Phelps and others provided “answers” to letters from church leaders in Ohio that referred to these leadership issues. It is probable that this 31 July letter is one of the letters to which Smith and Hyde referred. Any response that Phelps made to this letter is not extant. (Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 14 Jan. 1833.)  


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