, Letter, , Suffolk Co., MA, to JS and , , Hancock Co., IL, 23 Feb. 1843; handwriting of ; four pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal stamps, postal notation, endorsement, docket, and notation.
Bifolium measuring 9⅞ × 7¾ inches (25 × 20 cm) when folded. The letter is inscribed in blue ink. It was trifolded twice in letter style, addressed to , and sealed with a red adhesive wafer. The second leaf tore when the letter was opened, resulting in a loss of text. The letter was later refolded and docketed for filing.
The document was endorsed by , who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844. It was also docketed by , who served as a clerk in the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department) from 1853 to 1859. The notation “copied by A.J” was added by Andrew Jenson, who began working in the Church Historian’s Office in 1891 and served as assistant church historian from 1897 to 1941. The document was listed in an inventory that was produced by the Church Historian’s Office circa 1904. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early endorsement, early dockets, and notation as well as its inclusion in the circa 1904 inventory and in the JS Collection by 1973 indicate continuous institutional custody.
Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 4 vols. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Co., 1901–1936.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 23 February 1843, wrote a letter from to JS in , Illinois, refuting additional rumors of his marital infidelity, reporting on his successes as a missionary, and reaffirming his loyalty to JS. In September or October 1842, JS confronted Adams with charges of adultery while Adams was visiting Nauvoo. He confessed to the charges in an 11 October 1842 letter to JS, claiming to be guilty only of a one-time indiscretion. After preaching for some time in the Nauvoo area, he returned to his home in to continue his missionary work in the eastern .
Around the beginning of January 1843, Mary Connor gave birth to a son and subsequently arrived at ’s home with the child, claiming Adams was the father. Adams’s wife, , wrote to JS informing him of the situation and asking him to recall her husband to . Unaware of his wife’s letter, George Adams resumed his missionary work in , where he had enjoyed considerable success a year earlier. Between January and March 1843, he held numerous public lectures in Boston and surrounding towns expounding Latter-day Saint doctrines and refuting the claims of other religious denominations.
By late February, apparently began to fear that rumors of his child that were circulating among Latter-day Saints in would reach JS. On 23 February 1843, he wrote this letter asking JS to ignore any charges made against him and to publish a statement in the Times and Seasons in support of his character. Adams also described the interest in and growth of the in , inviting JS to come east and join in his missionary efforts. Because of the private nature of his letter, he addressed the letter to , just as his wife had done a month earlier, believing that a letter sent to Emma was less likely to be seized or read by others.
By the time sent this letter, JS had already received ’s letter and had instructed the to call George and his family to . Adams received a letter from and conveying this message on 10 March 1843.
JS received this 23 February letter by 15 March 1843. On that date, he dictated a response, no longer extant, with likely serving as scribe. Clayton then endorsed this 23 February letter, noting that it had been answered.
“Review of the Mormon Lectures,” Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1843, 4:126. For sources reporting Adams’s earlier success, see, for example, “The Mormons in Salem,” Salem (MA) Register, 2 June 1842, ; “From Our Boston Correspondent,” Norfolk Democrat (Dedham, MA), 17 June 1842, ; “The Mormon Controversy at Marlboro’ Chapel,” Christian Freeman and Family Visiter, 1 July 1842, 34; “Mormonism,” New-London (CT) Gazette and Advertiser, 6 July 1842, ; and “Latter Day Saints, or Mormons,” Times and Seasons, 1 July 1842, 3:835–836.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Salem Register. Salem, MA. 1841–1903.
Norfolk Democrat. Dedham, MA. 1839–1854.
Christian Freeman and Family Visiter. Boston. 1841–1843.
New-London Gazette and Advertiser. New London, CT. 1840–1844.
In June 1843, after meeting with Adams, JS published a notice in the Times and Seasons stating that Adams had been appointed to serve a mission to Russia and had been “found worthy of the confidence of the saints.” After the Nauvoohigh council tried Adams in September, William Marks also published a notice, stating that Adams had been “honorably acquitted by the High Council in Nauvoo, from all charges heretofore preferred against him from any and all sources.” (“Recommendatory,” Times and Seasons, 1 June 1843, 4:218; “To Whom It May Concern,” Times and Seasons, 15 Aug. 1843, 4:303.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
, Joseph Smith, Beloved Brother, I this mourning Set down to trouble you with another letter on the Subject of my misforthens, or Sins, or transgreshens, not that I wish you for one moment to think that I am under transgreshen now or that I have been for maney months, for I have not.— but Some rumers, and reports, have been Set on foot in not by the World but by envious and Jelous mormons that are Seeking my overthrow and want to make me guilty wether I am or not, now as you know that I am an hounest Man, and a faithfull laborer and my determind determinat[i]on is to be humbel and obey council and do right, as you are a Servant of the liveing God, you know that is my purpose in the strength of Jesus.— I have written two or three letters in wich I have Spoken at full on this Subject now My Dear Brother if you can Save me without a publick trial, I trust I will never forgetit while memory lasts, I dont fear annything <from> the world can do, no! my enimies that are Seeking My overthrow are in the , there is no evidence against me— and they can get [p. ]
In October 1842, George J. Adams wrote to JS explaining some details of his affair, confessing his guilt, and asking for forgiveness. In that letter, he promised to tell JS more in person. It is unclear whether such a meeting ever took place. The October 1842 letter is the only extant letter Adams wrote to JS prior to this 23 February 1843 letter. (Letter from George J. Adams and David Rogers, 11 Oct. 1842.)