31763

William W. Phelps, “Rise and Progress of the Church of Christ,” April 1833

William W. Phelps, “Rise and Progress of the Church of Christ,” April 1833

RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST.
HAVING promised in our last number, something on the rise and progress of the church of Christ, we commence with the intention of giving a relation of a few facts, as they have occurred since the church was organized in eighteen hundred and thirty. We shall be brief in this article, as we design to give from time to time the progress of this church, for the benefit of inquirers as well as the satisfaction of those who believe.
Soon after the book of Mormon came forth, containing the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the church was organized on the sixth of April, in Manchester

Settled 1793. Formed as Burt Township when divided from Farmington Township, 31 Mar. 1821. Name changed to Manchester, 16 Apr. 1822. Included village of Manchester. Population in 1825 about 2,700. Population in 1830 about 2,800. JS reported first vision of...

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; soon after, a branch was established in Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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, and the June following, another in Colesville

Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...

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, New York.
We shall not give, at this time, the particulars attending the organization of these branches of the church; neither shall we publish in this, the account of the persecution of those who were then called and authorized to preach the everlasting gospel. Twenty more were added to the church in Manchester

Settled 1793. Formed as Burt Township when divided from Farmington Township, 31 Mar. 1821. Name changed to Manchester, 16 Apr. 1822. Included village of Manchester. Population in 1825 about 2,700. Population in 1830 about 2,800. JS reported first vision of...

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and Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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, in the month of April; and on the 28th of June, thirteen were baptized in Colesville

Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...

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: and of these we can say as Paul said of the five hundred who saw the Savior after he had risen from the dead: The greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. In October, (1830) the number of disciples had increased to between seventy and eighty, when four of the elders started for the west, and founded a branch of the church at 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, around which many have since arisen.
These first four, having added one to their number, proceeded to the west, after having baptized one hundred and thirty disciples in less than four weeks and ordained four of them elders, and finally stopped in the western bounds of the state of 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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, having been preserved by the hand of the Lord, and directed by his Spirit.
In the winter, (1831) the church in the state of 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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, after a commandment had been received from the Lord, began to prepare to remove to the state of 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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. The following is a part of the revelation referred to above: And that ye might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people without spot and blameless: wherefore for this cause I gave unto you the commandment that ye should go to the 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 there I will give unto you my law, and there you shall be endowed with power from on high, and from thence, whomsoever I will shall go forth unto all nations, and it shall be told them what they shall do, for I have a great work laid up in store: for Israel shall be saved, and I will lead them whithersoever I will, and no power shall stay my hand.
In the spring the greater part of the disciples who were in 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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, removed to the Ohio

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

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. In June, the word having been preached in many places and hundreds having been baptized, a number of the elders, by the commandment of the Lord, journeyed west, proclaiming the gospel and bearing testimony of the work of the Lord in these last days; saying none other things than that which the prophets and apostles had written, and that which was taught them by the Comforter, by the prayer of faith, as the Lord had said. Many gladly received the word and were baptized, so that branches of the church were built up in many places, notwithstanding the opposition with which the elders were often met.
Indeed we have the testimony before our eyes of the faithfulness with which they discharged their duty in publishing salvation to their fellow men. Many have already come up to the land of Zion who were fruits of their labors; and by what we can learn from time to time, we are reminded of the parable of the seed, for we are certain that much of it has fallen on good ground: and we are sure, having the testimony in our hearts, that those faithful elders, although often fateagued and wearied with the length of their journey, will at the last day receive a crown of eternal life, and joy unspeakable in the everlasting kingdom of God and the Lamb, with those that they were the means of turning from darkness to light. And while reflecting on this subject, a few words from Daniel seems to be applicable: And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever. For the word of the Lord to them has thus far been verified, which says: Let them go two by two, and thus let them preach by the way in every congregation, baptizing by water, and the laying on of the hands by the water’s edge: for thus saith the Lord, I will cut my work short in righteousness: for the days cometh that I will send forth judgment unto victory.
In July they began to arrive in the western boundaries of 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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, and shortly after, a branch of the church from Colesville

Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...

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, New York, came on by water, and thus the gathering commenced.
From this time, the progress of the church though gradual, has been more than many of great faith had anticipated. Many churches have been built up in different states, and some hundreds of members have come up to this land, and are striving to keep the commandments of the Lord, that they may be prepared, whether in life or in death, to meet him when he comes in his glory with all his holy angels.
[I]t may be proper to say, as we have often said before, that this church is taught by the revelations of the Lord, in all things, as they have been received from time to time from the days of Adam, until now. And it is really a matter of joy to see how fast the work of the gathering is continuing amid the discouragements, persecutions, and false statements of the world.
It has been reported that the church had settled in this country, and were living as one family. This is not so.
The faith of the church has greatly increased in these first three years of its existance, in these last days. Much is said at home and abroad about Mormonites, as the world has seen fit to call the diciples of Jesus Christ, but wherever the gospel has been truly set forth; wherever the book of Mormon has been fully explained and understood, and wherever men have listened with unprejudiced minds to learn the truth for the purpose of escaping the desolations and calamities which are already abroad in the earth, there the Lord has borne record of his own work by his Spirit.
While the gifts in many instances have been manifested beyond doubt, in healing the sick, &c. some have doubted and some have believed, as in the days of the apostles; and even from the beginning this has been the case more or less, and will be till satan is bound
We promised to correct as many falsehoods as we could, that were in circulation. In this article we have commenced, but upon looking at some of the late misrepresentations that have found their way to the public, we think the best method will be for us to continue an account of the rise and progress of the church, and publish the truth as we have done; for, of all the statements that have been published in the newspapers of the day concerning this church, not one has reached us but what in a greater or less degree was untrue; and what adds more to our astonishment, is, that these publications came from those who proffess the religion of Christ. By this however we do not intend to cast any reflections, for we remember the example of our Lord, who, when he was reviled, reviled not again.
The progress of the church has been great, and while we witness the spread of the work, knowing it is of God, we are willing to give the world all the light we can that will lead them to salvation. [p. [4]]
RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST.
HAVING promised in our last number,1

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


something on the rise and progress of  the church of Christ, we commence with the intention of giving a relation of a  few facts, as they have occurred since the church was organized in eighteen hun dred and thirty. We shall be brief in this article, as we design to give from time  to time the progress of this church, for the benefit of inquirers as well as the satis faction of those who believe.
Soon after the book of Mormon came forth,2

Phelps devoted several pages of an earlier issue to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. (“The Book of Mormon,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, [1]–[3].)  


containing the fulness of the gos pel of Jesus Christ, the church was organized on the sixth of April, in Manches ter

Settled 1793. Formed as Burt Township when divided from Farmington Township, 31 Mar. 1821. Name changed to Manchester, 16 Apr. 1822. Included village of Manchester. Population in 1825 about 2,700. Population in 1830 about 2,800. JS reported first vision of...

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;3

The earliest sources place the organizational meeting at Fayette, New York, and later JS documents support this designation.a Some later documents, including the present history, locate the meeting at Manchester. The discrepancy may originate with William W. Phelps himself, who was not involved with the church at the time of the organizational meeting and therefore appears to have misidentified the location. While preparing the Book of Commandments for publication based on Revelation Book 1, the editors (who included Phelps) added “given in Manchester, New-York,” to a 6 April 1830 revelation in chapter 22.b Records linked to Phelps or Orson Pratt (who also was not present at the church’s organizational meeting and who later spoke of Fayette as the correct location) state that the 6 April meeting took place in Manchester.c Later printings of the Doctrine and Covenants and of Pratt’s Interesting Account either omit references to Manchester as the site or revise the meeting place to Fayette.d  


aRevelation Book 1, p. 28; JS History, vol. A-1, 37.

bSee Book of Commandments, chap. 22 [D&C 21]; compare Revelation Book 1, p. 28.

c“Prospects of the Church,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Mar. 1833, [4]; Pratt, Interesting Account, 23–24; Orson Pratt, in Journal of Discourses, 7 Oct. 1869, 13:193.

dDoctrine and Covenants 46, 1835 ed. [D&C 21]; Pratt, Remarkable Visions, 12.

soon after, a branch was established in Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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, and the June following, an other in Colesville

Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...

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, New York.
We shall not give, at this time, the particulars attending the organization of  these branches of the church; neither shall we publish in this, the account of the  persecution of those who were then called and authorized to preach the everlasting  gospel. Twenty more were added to the church in Manchester

Settled 1793. Formed as Burt Township when divided from Farmington Township, 31 Mar. 1821. Name changed to Manchester, 16 Apr. 1822. Included village of Manchester. Population in 1825 about 2,700. Population in 1830 about 2,800. JS reported first vision of...

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and Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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, in  the month of April; and on the 28th of June, thirteen were baptized in Colesville

Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...

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:  and of these we can say as Paul said of the five hundred who saw the Savior after  he had risen from the dead: The greater part remain unto this present, but some  are fallen asleep.4

See 1 Corinthians 15:6.  


In October, (1830) the number of disciples had increased to  between seventy and eighty, when four of the elders started for the west, and  founded a branch of the church at 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, around which many have since  arisen.5

Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer Jr., and Ziba Peterson were commanded by revelation to preach the gospel among the “Lamanites.” (Revelation, Sept. 1830–B, in Book of Commandments 30:7 [D&C 28:8]; Revelation, Sept. 1830–D, in Book of Commandments 32:1–4 [D&C 30:5–6]; Revelation, Oct. 1830–A, in Doctrine and Covenants 54, 1835 ed. [D&C 32]; see also Jennings, “First Mormon Mission to the Indians,” 288–299; Backman, “Non-Mormon View of the Birth of Mormonism in Ohio,” 346–364; and the discussion of this mission in volume 1 of the Documents series.)  


These first four, having added one to their number,6

Frederick G. Williams. (Whitmer, Journal, Dec. 1831, [1]; Oliver Cowdery, Kaw Township, MO, to “Dearly Beloved Brethren & Sisters,” 8 Apr. 1831, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 10–12.)  


proceeded to the west, af ter having baptized one hundred and thirty disciples in less than four weeks and  ordained four of them elders, and finally stopped in the western bounds of the  state of 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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, having been preserved by the hand of the Lord, and directed by  his Spirit.
In the winter, (1831) the church in the state of 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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, after a command ment had been received from the Lord, began to prepare to remove to the state of  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...

More Info
. The following is a part of the revelation referred to above: And that ye  might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous peo ple without spot and blameless: wherefore for this cause I gave unto you the  commandment that ye should go to the 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...

More Info
; and there I will give unto you my  law, and there you shall be endowed with power from on high, and from thence,  whomsoever I will shall go forth unto all nations, and it shall be told them what  they shall do, for I have a great work laid up in store: for Israel shall be saved,  and I will lead them whithersoever I will, and no power shall stay my hand.7

Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831, in “Revelations,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, [5]–[6] [D&C 38:31–33].  


In the spring the greater part of the disciples who were in 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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, removed  to the 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...

More Info
. In June, the word having been preached in many places and hun dreds having been baptized, a number of the elders, by the commandment of the  Lord, journeyed west, proclaiming the gospel and bearing testimony of the work  of the Lord in these last days; saying none other things than that which the proph ets and apostles had written, and that which was taught them by the Comforter,  by the prayer of faith, as the Lord had said.8

See Revelation, 6 June 1831, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 87–89 [D&C 52]. Twenty-eight men were called to proselytize while traveling to Missouri, though not all went.  


Many gladly received the word and  were baptized, so that branches of the church were built up in many places, not withstanding the opposition with which the elders were often met.
Indeed we have the testimony before our eyes of the faithfulness with which  they discharged their duty in publishing salvation to their fellow men. Many  have already come up to the land of Zion who were fruits of their labors; and by  what we can learn from time to time, we are reminded of the parable of the seed,9

See Matthew 13:3–9, 18–23.  


 for we are certain that much of it has fallen on good ground: and we are sure,  having the testimony in our hearts, that those faithful elders, although often fa teagued and wearied with the length of their journey, will at the last day receive  a crown of eternal life, and joy unspeakable in the everlasting kingdom of God  and the Lamb, with those that they were the means of turning from darkness to  light. And while reflecting on this subject, a few words from Daniel seems to be  applicable: And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament;  and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.10

See Daniel 12:3.  


For the  word of the Lord to them has thus far been verified, which says: Let them go two  by two, and thus let them preach by the way in every congregation, baptizing by  water, and the laying on of the hands by the water’s edge: for thus saith the Lord,  I will cut my work short in righteousness: for the days cometh that I will send  forth judgment unto victory.11

See Revelation, 6 June 1831, in Revelation Book 1, p. 88 [D&C 52:10–11].  


In July they began to arrive in the western boundaries of 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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, and short ly after, a branch of the church from Colesville

Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...

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, New York, came on by water, and  thus the gathering commenced.12

Joseph Knight and his family formed the core of a group of early JS supporters in Colesville, New York. They moved as a group to Thompson, Ohio, and became one of the first congregations to enter into a communal arrangement. When difficulties arose over land ownership in Ohio, members of the Colesville branch moved to Kaw Township near Independence, Missouri. (Porter, “Colesville Branch in Kaw Township,” 281–287; see also Revelation, 10 June 1831, in Book of Commandments 56 [D&C 54].)  


From this time, the progress of the church though gradual, has been more than  many of great faith had anticipated. Many churches have been built up in dif ferent states, and some hundreds of members have come up to this land, and are  striving to keep the commandments of the Lord, that they may be prepared, wheth er in life or in death, to meet him when he comes in his glory with all his holy  angels.
[I]t13

TEXT: Original has “t”, preceded by a one-character space.  


may be proper to say, as we have often said before, that this church is taught  by the revelations of the Lord, in all things, as they have been received from time  to time from the days of Adam, until now. And it is really a matter of joy to see  how fast the work of the gathering is continuing amid the discouragements, perse cutions, and false statements of the world.
It has been reported that the church had settled in this country, and were living  as one family. This is not so.14

Several newspapers characterized early Mormons as holding property in common.a This characterization stemmed from revelations commanding the Saints to “consecrate all [their] properties” to the bishop of the church, after which the bishop would “appoint every man a steward over his own property, or that which he has received,” according to a particular need, whereupon the “residue” or surplus would be given to the “poor & needy.”b This system of consecration was the subject of an editorial in the Star published two months after “Rise and Progress”: “It may be well to remark in this place, for the benefit of the public, that . . . the church of Christ flourishes, and the righteous are gathered; and when they are gathered, instead of becoming a common stock family, as has been said, or of making preparations to become rich in the goods of this world, as is supposed, each man receives a warranty deed securing to himself and heirs, his inheritance in fee simple forever.”c Surviving printed consecration forms confirm that the Saints briefly practiced the consecration of property in Jackson County, Missouri, though never as a joint stock or “family” arrangement.d  


a See, for example, “Fanaticism,” Connecticut Courant (Hartford), 12 July 1831, [1]; Benjamin Shattuck, Letter to the editor, Painesville (OH) Telegraph, 26 Apr. 1831, [3]; and Benton Pixley, “The Mormonites,” Independent Messenger (Milford, MA), 29 Nov. 1832.

b Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Book of Commandments 44:26–29 [D&C 42:30–33].

c “The Progress of the Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1833, 100.

d See Arrington et al., Building the City of God, 23–26.

The faith of the church has greatly increased in these first three years of its ex istance, in these last days. Much is said at home and abroad about Mormonites,15

The Niagara Courier, reporting Phelps’s conversion, noted in its 30 August 1831 issue that he had “joined himself to the Mormonites.” Phelps noted in a previous issue of The Evening and the Morning Star that “Christ’s disciples were nick-named CHRISTIANS, in the meridian of time; and his disciples, are now called MORMONITES without authority or provocation, by the sectarian papers, as well as the political.” Early critics of JS referred to his followers as “Mormonites”; the term was popularized by Alexander Campbell in his February 1831 article attacking the Book of Mormon. (Editorial, Niagara Courier (Lockport, NY), 30 Aug. 1831, qtd. in Bowen, “Versatile W. W. Phelps,” 28; Notice, The Evening and the Morning Star, Aug. 1832, [7]; Alexander Campbell, “Delusions,” Millennial Harbinger, Feb. 1831, 85–96; see also Campbell, Delusions, 3, 6, 10, 13.)  


 as the world has seen fit to call the diciples of Jesus Christ, but wherever the gos pel has been truly set forth; wherever the book of Mormon has been fully explain ed and understood, and wherever men have listened with unprejudiced minds to  learn the truth for the purpose of escaping the desolations and calamities which  are already abroad in the earth, there the Lord has borne record of his own work  by his Spirit.
While the gifts in many instances have been manifested beyond doubt, in heal ing the sick, &c. some have doubted and some have believed, as in the days of the  apostles; and even from the beginning this has been the case more or less, and  will be till satan is bound16

See Revelation 20:2; and Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 15:10, 1835 ed. [D&C 45:55].  


We promised to correct as many falsehoods as we could, that were in circula tion. In this article we have commenced, but upon looking at some of the late  misrepresentations that have found their way to the public, we think the best meth od will be for us to continue an account of the rise and progress of the church,  and publish the truth as we have done; for, of all the statements that have been  published in the newspapers of the day concerning this church, not one has reach ed us but what in a greater or less degree was untrue;17

For the larger context of early reports of Mormonism in the press, see Norton, “Comparative Images,” chaps. 7–8.  


and what adds more to our  astonishment, is, that these publications came from those who proffess the religion  of Christ. By this however we do not intend to cast any reflections, for we re member the example of our Lord, who, when he was reviled, reviled not again.18

See 1 Peter 2:23.  


The progress of the chu[r]ch has been great, and while we witness the spread of  the work, knowing it is of God, we are willing to give the world all the light we  can that will lead them to salvation. [p. [4]]
Before his baptism on 16 June 1831, William Wines 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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traveled from his home in Canandaigua

Located in central part of county in west-central part of state. Area settled, by 1790. Population in 1830 about 5,200. Joseph Smith Sr. imprisoned for debt for thirty days at county seat of Canandaigua village, Oct.–Nov. 1830. W. W. Phelps and Brigham Young...

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, New York, 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, where he told JS that he wished to “do the will of the Lord.” In response, a 14 June revelation directed Phelps 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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, where he was to be “ordained to assist my servant 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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to do the work of printing, and of selecting, and writing books for schools, in this church.”1

JS History, vol. A-1, 124; Revelation, 14 June 1831, in Book of Commandments 57:5 [D&C 55:4]. Phelps had extensive experience as a newspaper editor, having worked for several newspapers in New York: the Western Courier in Homer, the Lake Light in Trumansburg, and the Ontario Phoenix in Canandaigua. (Bowen, “Versatile W. W. Phelps,” 6–7, 16–18, 26–28.)  


The following month, another revelation called 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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to be “a printer unto the church.”2

Revelation, 20 July 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 27:5, 1835 ed. [D&C 57:11–13].  


At a church conference held 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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that fall, Phelps was “instructed to stop at Cincinnati

Area settled largely by emigrants from New England and New Jersey, by 1788. Village founded and surveyed adjacent to site of Fort Washington, 1789. First seat of legislature of Northwest Territory, 1790. Incorporated as city, 1819. Developed rapidly as shipping...

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, on his way 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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, and purchase a press and types, for the purpose of establishing and publishing a monthly paper at 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, to be called ‘The Evening and Morning Star.’”3

JS History, vol. A-1, 154.  


In its prospectus, Phelps indicated that this newspaper would “discuss the revelations of God and provide the Saints with beneficial information,” based upon “sacred sources.”4

No copy of the original printed prospectus is known to exist, but it was published in Kirtland in 1835 as part of the reprinted Evening and Morning Star, in which it is dated 23 February 1832. The first known non-Mormon mention of Phelps’s prospectus for the Star was in the 31 March 1832 issue of the Philadelphia Album, which cited the prospectus at length. (William W. Phelps, The Evening and the Morning Star Prospectus, Evening and Morning Star, June 1832 [Jan. 1835], 1–2; “A ‘Mormonite’ Newspaper,” Philadelphia Album, 31 Mar. 1832, 101.)  


The first fourteen issues of The Evening and the Morning Star were published in Independence beginning in June 1832. In July 1833, enemies of the Mormons destroyed the printing office

JS revelations, dated 20 July and 1 Aug. 1831, directed establishment of LDS church’s first printing office in Independence, Missouri. Dedicated by Bishop Edward Partridge, 29 May 1832. Located on Lot 76, on Liberty Street just south of courthouse square....

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. Operations were transferred to Kirtland, Ohio, where 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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, now the editor, published ten more issues from December 1833 to September 1834.
Prior to the forced abandonment of 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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printing operations, JS periodically included record-keeping instructions in his correspondence 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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. In a letter of 31 July 1832, JS asked Phelps to remind 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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of Whitmer’s duty to “keep a history of the church & the gathering.”5

JS, Hiram, OH, to William W. Phelps, [Independence, MO], 31 July 1832, copy, JS Collection, CHL.  


In January 1833, Phelps printed long excerpts from another JS letter, dated 27 November 1832, instructing church leaders in Missouri on the importance of keeping “a history, and a general church record of all things, that transpire in Zion and of all those who consecrate properties and receive inheritances, legally from the bishop; and also, their manner of life, and their faith and works: and also, of all the apostates, who apostatize after receiving their inheritance.”6

“Let Every Man Learn His Duty,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, [5]; see also JS, Kirtland, OH, to William W. Phelps, [Independence, MO], 27 Nov. 1832, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 1–4 [D&C 85].  


On 11 January 1833, JS advised Phelps, “We wish you to render the Star as interesting as possable by setting forth the rise progress and faith of the church, as well as the doctrine for if you do not render it more interesting than at present it will fall, and the church suffer a great Loss thereby.”7

JS, Kirtland, OH, to William W. Phelps, [Independence, MO], 11 Jan. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 18–20; see also Minute Book 1, 13 Jan. 1833. Even before JS wrote this instruction, Phelps planned to report the progress of the church by soliciting from missionaries in the field letters that would provide “all matters connected with their mission, embracing historical facts, the number of sheaves the faithful laborers are blessed with, and all else, that may be well-pleasing in the sight of him who said, What thou seest, write in a book.” Extracts of letters from missionaries appeared regularly in the Star beginning in November 1832. After printing operations for the Star relocated to Kirtland, editor Oliver Cowdery continued the practice of reporting the growth of outlying branches of the church by publishing letters under the headings of “Progress of the Church of the Latter Day Saints” and “The Progress of the Gospel” in the May and August 1834 issues. (Notice, The Evening and the Morning Star, Aug. 1832, [7].)  


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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fulfilled JS’s 11 January request in his article “Rise and Progress of the Church of Christ,” published in the April 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star. He devoted eight paragraphs to the church’s rise, or early history, and then briefly addressed its progress and explained some of its beliefs and practices. Although he concluded with a promise “to continue an account of the rise and progress of the church,” the subsequent Star issues edited by Phelps—May, June, and July 1833—contain no narrative histories comparable to the April “Rise and Progress of the Church of Christ.” The June and July issues carried articles titled “Progress of the Church of Christ,” but these consisted of detailed letters and reports from proselytizing elders on the missionary activities of the church.
No known manuscript version 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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’s article is extant. The April 1833 number of The Evening and the Morning Star also includes a report of a meeting held on 6 April 1833, indicating that the issue was not published until after that date.8

“The Sixth of April,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Apr. 1833, [5].  


Facts