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Letterbook 2

By his almighty power
Sustains all things from week to week
From day to day, from hour to hour
Praise ye the Lord ye saints in Zion
Praise his glorious name
Our God shall triumph over all his foes
Our enemies shall all be put to shame
And God be praised for all his mighty power
Exalt the wastes of Zion sing for joy ye saints
Let praise your earthly powers employ
Arise, awake, put thy strength and sing
The everlasting praises of your King
Till earth & heaven in Halelujahs ring.
 
The towers of Zion soon shall rise
Hymn book page 38
 
If the Lord will yet speak to  his children, it may be well to inquire  every matter concerning the destruction of  the printing office, and what is to be  done in future, and also concerning  the store, and what is to be done in  future: I know from the experience  I have had that it is a good thing to  have our faith thoroughly tried.
Zion must and will be pure.  Health prevails among the disciples.
N.B. Early on Monday morning  we received letters from Kirtland  containing all the patterns &c postages $1,50  by wt, which in single letters would  have been but $1,00–We also rec’d  a dated Walnut farm” from Oliver. Our anxiety will be so great that I  say Oliver: write the first mail after you arrive at Kirtland, whether the  tidings be favorable or not. Every one that is a saint or nearly so, in the  Timber branch speaks in tongues, br David [Whitmer] says he can speak in all the  tongues on earth, we shall probably begin to worship here in tongues tomorrow  if the Lord wills, that is excepting we 6— It is a solemn day with us  and I remain.
Joseph Smith Jr
Geauga Co, Ohio

JS to Emma Smith • 4 June 1834

On the banks of the Mississippi, June 4th. 1834
My Dear Companion, I now embrace a few moments to dictate a few  words that you may know how it is with us up to this date.
We arrived this morning on the banks of the Mississippi, and were detained  from crossing the river, as there was no boat that we could cross in, but expect  a new one to be put into the river this evening, so that we are in hopes, to be able to  cross to morrow, and proceed on our journey. A tolerable degree of union has  prevailed among the brethren or camp up to the present moment, and we are all in  better circumstances of health apparently than when we started from Kirtland  with the exception of Alden Childs who is sick with the Mumps attended with [p. 56]
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On 27 November 1832, while residing at Kirtland, Ohio, JS wrote a lengthy letter to William W. Phelps at Independence, Missouri. JS’s missive emphasized the importance of record keeping and history writing in the young church. JS began by noting that he wished “to communicate some things which . . . are laying great with weight upon my mind.” He then observed, “Firstly, it is the duty of the lord[’s] clerk whom he has appointed to keep a hystory and a general church reccord of all things that transpire in Zion . . . and also there manner of life and the faith and works.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832.)
This emphasis on record keeping was not widespread at the time. Scholar Dean C. Jessee has observed, “So primitive were some aspects of record keeping in nineteenth-century America that much of the early Latter-day Saint experience was a pioneering effort. . . . Although Mormon record keeping was inaugurated by [an] 1830 revelation, details for carrying out that commandment were largely hammered out on the anvil of experience in the years that followed.” (Dean C. Jessee, “The Reliability of Joseph Smith’s History,” Journal of Mormon History 3 [1976]: 27.) During a brief span in the early 1830s, JS and those working under his direction commenced the systematic collecting and recording of critical documents pertaining to church governance and administration. From that time to the end of JS’s life, correspondence-copying, revelation-recording, minute-taking, journal-keeping, and history-writing activities remained imperative commitments.
Items of correspondence were first recorded in what was subsequently designated Letterbook 1. Created from circa November 1832 to circa August 1835, it consisted of ninety-three pages preserving a record of early church-related communications dated 14 June 1829 through 4 August 1835. A second letterbook, featured here, was apparently begun in 1839 and continued to circa summer 1843. It became a repository primarily for letters, but also other items dated from 17 June 1829 through 9 February 1843. Items were copied into the volume, later designated Letterbook 2, by JS-appointed scribes including James Mulholland, Robert B. Thompson, Howard Coray, Willard Richards, William Clayton, John Fullmer, and George Walker. Letterbook 2 contains over 150 items of correspondence and other documents, arranged primarily in chronological order. An index created at the time outlines the contents of the 246 pages of letters and other documents. Previously, the volume had been used as a business ledger for the Rigdon, Smith and Company store in Chester, Ohio.
A title page designates the volume as “Copies of Letters, &c. &c. 1839, AD.” The first entry in the letterbook, labeled “Speech of General Clarke, To the Saints at Far West. 6th. Novr 1838,” contains the text of General John B. Clark’s oration on that occasion. Among its varied contents, the volume includes copies of a letter from JS to Emma Smith in June 1834; four letters written by Emma to JS from 1837 and 1839; three letters from Edward Partridge, Sidney Rigdon, and Elias Higbee, respectively, written in March and April 1839 to JS and other prisoners confined in the jail in Liberty, Missouri; two letters sent by JS and Elias Higbee while in Washington DC in December 1839 to Hyrum Smith and others in Nauvoo, Illinois; a letter sent from England by Brigham Young in May 1840 to JS in Nauvoo; a poignant exchange of letters between William W. Phelps, who had been cut off from the church, and JS in summer 1840; and an exchange in June and July 1842 between JS and Illinois governor Thomas Carlin. The ledger also preserves nine sets of minutes from various meetings, five petitions concerning the Saints’ treatment in Missouri, an 1840 memorial ascribed to JS, and an 1841 inventory of the contents of the Nauvoo House cornerstone, among other miscellaneous documents.
The last document copied into Letterbook 2 appears on manuscript page 245, a letter from JS to Richard M. Young, U.S. senator from Illinois, dated 9 February 1843. Though there are a substantial number of blank pages preceding the index beginning on manuscript page 369, it is not known why the copying of documents into Letterbook 2 ceased. However, the following circumstances regarding JS’s clerks may have been factors: James Mulholland died in December 1839, Robert B. Thompson died in August 1841, and Howard Coray served a mission to Pennsylvania during 1842–1843. Willard Richards and William Clayton began extensive work on Joseph Smith’s history in early 1843 while continuing to perform other clerical and secretarial duties. Documents dated after 9 February 1843 that might have been expected to be copied into the letterbook were, in many instances, recorded in JS’s history. In any event, the record closed with the 9 February 1843 letter, and there is no evidence that a third letterbook was either contemplated or begun.

Facts