Letter to Oliver Granger, between circa 22 and circa 28 July 1840
JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to , , Lake Co., OH, [between ca. 22 and ca. 28 July 1840]. Featured version copied [between ca. 22 and ca. 28 July 1840] in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 159–161; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
In July 1840, JS wrote a letter to , who had expressed concern about ’s conduct in , Ohio. When JS and his family departed Kirtland for in January 1838, most members in the area followed, but some Saints remained. In fall 1838, the departures of Kirtland and Kirtland left the remaining church members without essential leaders. In spring 1839, a general in , Illinois, appointed Granger, who had earlier worked to sell church members’ property in Kirtland and resolve church debts there, to “preside over the general affairs of the Church” in Kirtland and to “take the Charge and oversight of the .” However, Granger apparently did not relocate to Kirtland until spring 1840, after he entered into an agreement with JS “to assume all the debts, notes, & obligations” that the owed in and .
Soon after making this agreement, departed , Illinois, for , where he apparently spent some time before departing for with . On 23 June 1840, while in New York, Granger and Richards wrote a letter to JS complaining about . A member of the , Babbitt was appointed by a May 1839 general conference “to set to rights the church” in , Illinois. After traveling to Springfield and then preaching in in fall 1839, Babbitt had relocated to Kirtland by summer 1840.
Although and ’s letter to JS is not extant, the minutes of a September 1840 meeting reveal some of the two men’s concerns. reportedly had claimed that JS and “extravagantly purchased” clothes while in in winter 1839–1840 and had asserted that JS, Rigdon, , and Granger had declared “that they were worth $100.000 each.” Babbitt also supposedly had held “secret Council” in the , locking the doors of the building and prohibiting “certain brethren, in good standing” to enter. Because Granger had been appointed to preside over the church in Kirtland, he apparently sought JS’s direction on how to deal with Babbitt. In this reply to Granger, JS expressed dismay at Babbitt’s actions and informed Granger that the church had withdrawn fellowship from Babbitt.
JS likely composed his reply—which bears no date—in late July 1840. Other letters transported between and around this same time indicate that it could have taken anywhere from two and a half weeks to a month for and ’s letter, which JS stated was written 23 June, to reach Nauvoo. JS therefore probably received the letter about mid-July. In his reply, JS mentioned a meeting in which ’s conduct was considered, suggesting that JS waited at least a few days before answering Granger and Richards. In the letter, JS also referred to a 29 June 1840 letter he had received from “a few days ago”—one that he answered on 22 July. The letter to Granger does not indicate that JS had yet answered Phelps, suggesting that JS may have written to Granger before or on 22 July prior to responding to Phelps. A later JS history dated the letter 22 July, perhaps because of where the letter falls in JS Letterbook 2. In that letterbook, the letter to Granger appears after the 22 July letter from JS to Phelps and before a 28 July letter from JS to . All of these circumstances suggest that JS wrote his reply to Granger sometime in mid- or late July, most likely between 22 and 28 July.
The original letter to is not extant. Before the letter was sent, copied it into JS Letterbook 2. Granger evidently received the letter because came to in early September to answer JS’s charges against him.
In June 1840, Granger sold land in Lake County, Ohio, to John Norton. Rhoda Richards, Levi Richards’s sister, informed their brother Willard Richards on 5 July 1840 that Levi had “spent a week in New York with Brother Granger.” (Lake Co., OH, Deeds, 1840–1950, Deed Records, vol. A, pp. 65–66, 3 June 1840, microfilm 973,892, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Rhoda Richards, Richmond, MA, to Willard Richards, Manchester, England, 14 and 28 June 1840; 5 July 1840, typescript, Richards Family Papers, CHL.)
U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.
“Richards Family Letters 1840–1849.” Typescript. Richards Family Papers, 1965. CHL.
Historian’s Office, Brigham Young History Drafts, 28–29; Minutes, 4–5 May 1839; Almon Babbitt, Pleasant Garden, IN, 18 Oct. 1839, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:26; Johnson, “A Life Review,” 58, 62; “Important Church News,” Times and Seasons, May 1840, 1:109.
Phebe Carter Woodruff indicated that she received a 17 December 1839 letter from her husband, Wilford Woodruff, who was in New York, “soon after” 1 January 1840. Heber C. Kimball was also in New York, however, and did not receive a 2 February 1840 letter from his wife, Vilate Murray Kimball, who was in Nauvoo, until 5 March 1840. (Phebe Carter Woodruff, Montrose, Iowa Territory, to Wilford Woodruff, Ledbury, England, 8 Mar. 1840, digital scan, Wilford Woodruff, Collection, CHL; Heber C. Kimball, New York City, NY, to Vilate Murray Kimball, 5 Mar. 1840, photocopy, Heber C. Kimball, Correspondence, 1837–1864, CHL.)
Woodruff, Wilford. Collection, 1831–1905. Digital scans. CHL. Originals in private possession.
Kimball, Heber C. Collection, 1837–1898. CHL. MS 12476.
but when my brethren stand aloof— when they begin to faint and endeavour to retard my progress and enterprise then I feel to mourn but am no less determined to prosecute my task, being confident that altho my earthly friends may fail and even turn against me, yet my heavenly father will bear me off triumphant. However I hope that even in , their are some who do not make a man an [“]offender for a word” but are disposed to stand forth in defence of righteousness and truth and attend to every duty enjoined upon them and who will have wisdom to direct them against any movement or influence calculated to bring confusion and disorder into the camp of Israel, and to discern between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
It would be gratifying to my mind to see the in flourish, but think the time has not yet come and I assure you it never will until a different order of things be established and a different spirit be manifested. When confidence is restored, when pride shall fall and every aspiring mind be clothed with humility as with a garment and selfishness give place to benevolence and charity, and a united determination to live by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord is observable, then and not till then can peace and order, and love prevail
It is in consequence of aspiring men that has been forsaken. How frequently has your humble servant been envied in his office by such characters who endeavoured to raise themselves to power at my expense, and seeing it impossible to do so, resorted to foul slander and abuse and other means to effect my overthrow; such characters have ever been the first to cry out against the , and publish their faults and foibles to four winds of heaven.
I cannot forget the treatment I received in the house of my friends, these things continually roll across my mind and cause me much sorrow of heart, and when I think that others who have lately come into the church should be led to instead of to this place by , and having their confidence in the Authorities lessened by such observations as he () has thought propper to make, as well as hearing all the false reports and exaggerated accounts of our enemies, I must say that I feel grieved in spirit, and cannot tolerate such proceedings neither will I, but will endeavour to disabuse the minds of the saints and break down all such unhallowed proceedings. [p. 160]
In April 1840, Hiram Kellogg reported from Kirtland that “the Lord is reviving his work in this place; there is more or less baptised here every week, we have about 125 members in the society here, and more going to be baptised next Thursday. Many of the old inhabitants of this place, have been standing and looking on until they are convinced that this is the work of the Lord, and are willing to embrace it.” (“Important Church News,” Times and Seasons, May 1840, 1:109.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
In late 1837 and early 1838, Warren Parrish, John F. Boynton, Luke Johnson, Joseph Coe, Martin Harris, and Cyrus Smalling, all of whom were prominent church members, led a group of dissenters who portrayed JS as a fallen prophet. JS and most church members departed from Kirtland in 1838 largely because of these dissenters’ actions and because of the opposition of non-Mormons such as Grandison Newell. (John Smith and Clarissa Lyman Smith, Kirtland, OH, to George A. Smith, Shinnston, VA, 1 Jan. 1838, George Albert Smith, Papers, CHL; Thomas B. Marsh to Wilford Woodruff, in Elders’ Journal, July 1838, 36–38.)
Smith, George Albert. Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322.
Elders’ Journal of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Kirtland, OH, Oct.–Nov. 1837; Far West, MO, July–Aug. 1838.