2476866

Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832

yea in the name of Jesus of Nazreth to remember the covenant which they have made with God, and to me18

JS may have been referring to the covenant and bond that those who participated in the United Firm were required to make with each other. A council held 27 April 1832 appointed the drafting of the bond, which may have been signed at a meeting of the United Firm on around 1 May 1832. The covenant referenced may also be the Missouri high priests’ acceptance of JS as the president of the high priesthood on 26 April 1832. (Revelation, 1 Mar. 1832 [D&C 78:11]; Revelation 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82:11]; Minutes, 26–27 Apr. 1832; Minutes, ca. 1 May 1832.)  


& repent of there iniquities and give satisfaction to the innocent whom they have injured I appeal to your conciences, and if appealing to your conciences by all the ties which bind man to man which are stronger than death will not open your eyes & let you see the state & standing which you are in and bring you to repentance I then appeal to a higher court even the court of heaven the tribunal of the great God & there I & my Brethren (I mean Broth 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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& Newel

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
) will meet you to be weighed in the ballance and there the innocent shall not suffer and the guilty go unpunished for the Lord God Almighty will do right I bear you record that myself 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
& Newel

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
as far as any thing that I know have ever maintained the purest desires for your welfare and do still our object in going 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...

More Info
was altogether to keep the commandments

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

View Glossary
of the most high, when 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
learned the feelings of the Brethren in whom he had placed so much confidence for whom he had endured so much fateague & suffering & whom he loved with so much love his heart was grieved his spirits failed & for a moment he became frantick & the advisary taking the advantage, he spake unadvisedly with his lips19

See Psalm 106:33.  


after receiving a severe chastisement resigned his commision and became a private member in 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
, but has since repented like Peter of old and after a little suffering by the buffiting of satan

A fallen angel, or son of God, known by many names, including Lucifer, the devil, the father of lies, the prince of darkness, perdition, and the adversary. In the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s Bible revisions, Satan was described as a tempter of men...

View Glossary
has been restored to his high standing in the church of God,20

Reynolds Cahoon, with whom Rigdon’s family stayed while Rigdon was in Missouri, wrote in his journal that on 5 July 1832, “Br Sidney remarked that he had a revelation from the Lord & said that the kingdom was taken from the Church and left with him.” Hyrum Smith then went to Hiram and got JS, who came to Kirtland to settle the matter. On Sunday, 8 July, JS addressed the Saints in Kirtland and stated “that the kingdom was ours & never should be taking from the faithful.” According to Lucy Mack Smith, JS then held a council at which he took Rigdon’s priesthood license, remarking that “the less priesthood you have the better it will be for you.” JS compared Rigdon’s repentance to that of the apostle Peter, who “wept bitterly” after denying his association with Jesus. On 28 July, Rigdon was reordained to the high priesthood. Rigdon’s erratic behavior may have stemmed in part from the head injury he received when he and JS were attacked in Hiram in March 1832. (Cahoon, Diary, July 1832; “History [of] Charles Coulson Rich,” 3–4, Historian’s Office, Biographies of Quorum of Twelve, [ca. 1883], CHL; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 13, [5]; Matthew 26:75; Luke 22:62; Hyrum Smith, Diary and Account Book, 28 July 1832; JS History, vol. A-1, 206–208; and Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon, 115–118, 126.)  


now this is a warning to all to whom this knowledge may come, and he that thinks he stands, let him take heed least he fall,21

See 1 Corinthians 10:12.  


tell Bro 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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it is very dangerous for men who have received the light he has received to be a seeking a after sign, for there shall no sign be given for a sign except as it was in the days of Lot. God sent angels to gather him & his family out of Sodom while the wicked were distroyed by a devouring fire22

Regarding sign seeking, see Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Luke 11:29; and Genesis 19:15–28. A revelation the previous autumn warned against sign seeking. (See Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:7–13].)  


behold this is an exsample; but I must return to your letter again you complain that there have already [p. 4]
yea in the name of Jesus of Nazreth to remember the  covenant which they have made with God, and to me18

JS may have been referring to the covenant and bond that those who participated in the United Firm were required to make with each other. A council held 27 April 1832 appointed the drafting of the bond, which may have been signed at a meeting of the United Firm on around 1 May 1832. The covenant referenced may also be the Missouri high priests’ acceptance of JS as the president of the high priesthood on 26 April 1832. (Revelation, 1 Mar. 1832 [D&C 78:11]; Revelation 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82:11]; Minutes, 26–27 Apr. 1832; Minutes, ca. 1 May 1832.)  


&  repent of there iniquities and give satisfaction to the in nocent whom they have injured I appeal to your conciences,  and if appealing to your conciences by all the ties which bind man  to man which are st[r]onger than death will not open your eyes &  let you see the stand state & standing which you are in and bring  you to repentance I then appeal to a higher court even  the court of heaven the tribunal of the great God & there I &  my Brethren (I mean Broth 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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& Newel

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
) will meet them  you to be weighed in the ballance and there the innocent  shall not suffer and the guilty go unpunished for the Lord  God Almighty will do right I bear you record that myself  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
& Newel

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
as far as any thing that I know have ever  maintained the purest desires for your welfare and do still  our object in going 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...

More Info
was altogether to keep the com mandments

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

View Glossary
of God the most high, when 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
 learned the feelings of the Brethren in whom he had  placed so much confidence for whom he had endured  so much fateague & suffering & whom he loved with so  much love his heart was grieved his spirits failed & for  a moment he became frantick & the advisary taking the  advantage, he spake unadvisedly with his lips19

See Psalm 106:33.  


after receiving a  severe chastisement resigned his commision and became a private  member in 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
, but has since repented like Peter  of old and after a little suffering by the buffiting of the  satan

A fallen angel, or son of God, known by many names, including Lucifer, the devil, the father of lies, the prince of darkness, perdition, and the adversary. In the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s Bible revisions, Satan was described as a tempter of men...

View Glossary
has been restored to his high standing in the church  of God,20

Reynolds Cahoon, with whom Rigdon’s family stayed while Rigdon was in Missouri, wrote in his journal that on 5 July 1832, “Br Sidney remarked that he had a revelation from the Lord & said that the kingdom was taken from the Church and left with him.” Hyrum Smith then went to Hiram and got JS, who came to Kirtland to settle the matter. On Sunday, 8 July, JS addressed the Saints in Kirtland and stated “that the kingdom was ours & never should be taking from the faithful.” According to Lucy Mack Smith, JS then held a council at which he took Rigdon’s priesthood license, remarking that “the less priesthood you have the better it will be for you.” JS compared Rigdon’s repentance to that of the apostle Peter, who “wept bitterly” after denying his association with Jesus. On 28 July, Rigdon was reordained to the high priesthood. Rigdon’s erratic behavior may have stemmed in part from the head injury he received when he and JS were attacked in Hiram in March 1832. (Cahoon, Diary, July 1832; “History [of] Charles Coulson Rich,” 3–4, Historian’s Office, Biographies of Quorum of Twelve, [ca. 1883], CHL; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 13, [5]; Matthew 26:75; Luke 22:62; Hyrum Smith, Diary and Account Book, 28 July 1832; JS History, vol. A-1, 206–208; and Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon, 115–118, 126.)  


now this is a warning to all to whom this knowledge  may come, and he that thinks he stands, let him take heed  least he fall,21

See 1 Corinthians 10:12.  


tell Bro 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...

View Full Bio
it is very dangerous for men  who have received that the light he has received to be a seek ing a <after> sign, for there shall no sign be given for a sign except  as it was in the days of Lot. God sent angels to gather him & his  family out of Sodom while the wicked were distroyed by a devou ring fire22

Regarding sign seeking, see Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Luke 11:29; and Genesis 19:15–28. A revelation the previous autumn warned against sign seeking. (See Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:7–13].)  


behold this is an exsample; but I must return  to your letter again you complain that there have already [p. 4]
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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...

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. 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...

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, 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...

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. 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...

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, 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...

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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...

View Full Bio
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...

View Full Bio
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...

More Info
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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