Letter to the Elders of the Church, 16 November 1835
JS, Letter, , Geauga Co., OH, to “the elders of the church of the Latter Day Saints,” 16 Nov. 1835. Featured version published in “To the Elders of the Church of the Latter Day Saints,” Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, Nov. 1835, 2:209–212. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Oliver Cowdery, Dec. 1834.
This letter to the of the is the second in a three-part series of open letters published in the September, November, and December 1835 issues of the church’s newspaper, the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. According to his journal, JS dictated a “letter for the Advocate” at his home on 16 November 1835, almost certainly referring to the installment featured here.In this letter, JS again discussed the concept of , as he had in the letter published in the September issue. Building on the doctrinal foundation of repentance and outlined in the earlier letter and drawing heavily on biblical scripture, he asserted that the Latter-day Saints had begun fulfilling the commission to gather Israel to , a New Jerusalem, in preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ. By this time, the Saints had been driven out of , Missouri, the revealed location for Zion, but JS explained that it would still be established by and for the “elect” of God.This second letter also instructed the traveling elders to obtain permission from the head of household before preaching to children or wives so as not to engender conflict between husband and wife or parents and children. The letter advised the same caution in preaching to slaves and servants. JS also provided practical instruction to the elders based on his understanding of the Bible and on past problems encountered by Latter-day Saint missionaries. Finally, JS’s message encouraged the elders to provide a “warning voice” to all but to do so tactfully.JS dictated this letter, probably to his scribe, . The original is no longer extant. After JS dictated this letter, printed it in the November issue of the Messenger and Advocate. In the last installment of his three-part instruction, written on 30 November and 1 December, JS continued to highlight the importance of gathering and further advised the traveling elders on contending against religious misrepresentation.