Letter to William W. Phelps, 22 May 1839
- Source Note
On 22 May 1839, JS wrote a letter that reflects the distance that had developed between the men during the previous two years. In September 1837, JS sent members in a revelation declaring that Phelps and had “done those things which are not pleasing in my sight” and that unless they repented “they shall be removed out of their places.” In early February 1838, Phelps and the other members of the Missouri church were removed from office following accusations that they misused funds and acted contrary to JS’s revelations. Phelps refused to repent and was excommunicated on 10 March 1838. When he and other dissenters were ordered to leave , Missouri, Phelps desired to stay, so he agreed to provide restitution to any he had wronged and “to conform to the rules of the church in all things, knowing [he] had a good deal of property in the .” Soon thereafter, Phelps was , and on 8 July JS dictated a revelation signaling that Phelps should be an .On 31 October 1838, and others negotiated the surrender of . As with others who dissented, Phelps did not approve of church members’ raids in , which he considered illegal, and threats against nonconformists. At a court of inquiry in November 1838, he testified against JS and sixty-three other Mormon defendants. He was excommunicated again on 17 March 1839 during a church in , Illinois.It is unclear how much communication had with church leaders after this excommunication. In addition to a letter he wrote to JS on 14 April 1839, which is no longer extant, Phelps also wrote to in on 23 April 1839. In that letter, Phelps expressed interest in helping sell his lands in —something Phelps had apparently promised he would assist with. In JS’s reply to the 23 April letter, he asked that Phelps not conduct any business on behalf of JS or his family; he also stated that he wished to cut off all further contact with Phelps. The original letter is apparently not extant; the featured version is a copy that inscribed into JS Letterbook 2 between 22 May and 30 October 1839.