Letter to the Church and Edward Partridge, 20 March 1839

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Clay County Mo March 20th 1839.
To the at Illinois and scattered abroad and to in particular. your humble servant Joseph Smith Jr prisoner for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake and for the saints taken and held by the power of mobocracy under the exterminating reign of his excelancy the Governer in company with his fellow prisoners and beloved Brethren . and . Send unto you all greeting. May the grace of God the father and of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ rest upon you all and abide with you for ever. May knoledge be multiplied unto you by the meorcy of God. And may faith and virtue and knoledge and temperance and pationce and Godliness and Brotherly kindness and charity be in you and abound that you may not be baron in anything nor unfrutefull. Forasmuch as we know that the most of you are well acquainted with the rongs and the high toned injustice and cruelty that is practiced upon us whereas we have been taken prisoners charged falsly with evry kind of evil and thrown into prison inclosed with strong walls surrounded with a strong guard who continually watch day and knight as indefatigable as the devil is in tempting and laying snayers for the people of God. Therefore dearly and beloved Brethren we are the more ready and willing to lay claim to your fellowship and love. For our curc [p. 1]umstances are calculated to awaken our spirits to a sacred rememberance of evry thing and we think that yours are also and that nothing therefore can seperate us from the love of God, and fellowship one with another and that evry species of wickedness and cruelty practised upon us will only tend to bind our harts together and seal them together in love we have no need to say to you that we are held in bonds without cause neither is it needfull that you say unto us we are driven from our homes and smitten without cause. We mutually unders[t]and that if the inhabitance of the state of had let the saints alone and had been as deserable of peace as they ware there would have been nothing but peace and quiatude [quietude] in this <​​> unto this day we should not have been in this hell surrounded with demonds if not those who are damned, they are those who shall be damned and where we are compeled to hear nothing but blasphemo[u]s oaths and witness a seen of blasphemy and drunkeness and hypocracy and debaucheries of evry description. And again the cry cries of orphans and widdows would <​not​> have assended up to God. the blood of inocent women and children yea and of men also would not have cried to God against them <​it​> would <​not​> have stained the soyl of . but oh! the unrelenting hand the inhumanity and murderous disposition of this people it shocks all nature it beggers and defies all discription. it is a tail [tale] of [p. 2] wo a lamentable tail yea a sorrifull tail too much to tell too much for contemplation too much to think of for a moment too much for human beings it cannot be found among the hethans it cannot be found among the nations where Kings and tyrants are inthroned it cannot be found among the savages of the wilderness yea and I think it cannot be found among the wild and ferocious beasts of the forist that a man should be mangled for sport women be violated <​rob[b]ed​> of all that they have their last morsel for subsistance and then be violated to gratify the hells <​hellish​> desires of the mob and finally left to perish with their helpless of[f]spring clinging around their necks but this is not all after a man is dead he must be dug up from his grave and mangled to peaces for no other purpose than to gratify their splean against the religeon of god. They practise <​these​> things upon the saints who have done them no rong who are inocent and virtuous who loved the Lord their god and were willing to forsaik all things for his <​Christ​> sake these things are awfull to relait [relate] but they are verily true it must needs bee that offences come, but WO! to them by whom they come. O God where art thou and where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place how long shall thy hand be stayed and thine eye yea thy pure eye behold from from the etearnal heavens the rongs of thy people and of thy servants [p. 3] and thine ear be penetrated with their cyes [cries] yea o Lord how long shall they suffer these rongs and unlawfull oppressions before thine hart shall be softened towards them and thy bowels be moved with compassion to-words them. O Lord God almity maker of heaven earth and seas and of all things that in them is and who controleth and subjecteth the devil and the dark and benig[h]ted dominion of shayole. Streach forth thy hand let thine eye pierce let thy pavilion be taken up let thy hiding place no longer be covered let thine ear be inclined let thine hart be softened and thy bowels moved with compassion toward us let thine anger be kindle against our enemi[e]s and in the fury of thine hart with thy sword avenge us of our rongs remember thy suffering saint oh our God and thy servants will rejoyce in thy name for ever. Dearly and beloved Brethren we see that peralas [perilous] times have come as was testified of we may look then with most purfect asshurance for the roling in of all those things that have been written and with more confidence than ever before lift up our eyes to the luminary of day and say in our harts soon thou wilt vail thy blushing face he that said let there be light, and there was light hath spoken this word, and again thou moon thou dimmer light thou luminary of night shall trurn <​turn​> to blood we see that evry thing is fulfilling and the time shall soon come when the son of man shall [p. 4] descend in the clouds of <​heaven,​> our harts do not shrink neither are our spirits altogether broken at the grievious yoak which is put upon us We know that God will have our oppressors in derision that he laf <​will laugh​> at their calamity and mock when their fear comith oh that we could be with you Brethren and unbosome our feeling to you we would tell that we should have been at <​liberated​> the time was on the writ of habeas corpus had not our own lawyers interpreted the law contrary to what it reads against <​us,​> which prevented us from introducing our evidence before the mock court, they have done us much harm <​from​> the begining they have of late acknoledged that the law was misconstrewed and tantalised our feelings with it and have intirally [entirely?] forsaken us and have forfeited their oaths and their bonds and we have a come back on them for they are co-workers with the mob. As nigh as we can learn the publick mind has been for a long time turning in our favor and the majority is now friendly and the lawyers can no longer browbeat us by saying that this or that is a matter of publick oppinion for publick oppinion is not willing to brook it for it is begining to look with feelings of indignation against our oppresors and to say that the mormons were not in the fault in the least we think that truth honor and virtue and inocence will eventually come out tryumphant we should have taken a habeas corpus before the high Judge and escaped [p. 5] the mob in a sumerary way but unfortunatly for us the timber of the wall being verry hard our auger handles gave out and hindered us longer than we expected we applied to a friend and a verry slight uncautious act gave rise to some suspition and before we could fully succeed our plan was discovered we had evry thing in readiness but the last stone and we could have made our escape in one minute and should have succeeded admirably had it not been for a little imprudance or over anxiety on the part of our friend. The sheriff and jailor did not blame us for our attempt it was a fine breach and cost the a round sum but publick oppinion says that we ought to have been permitted to have made our escape that then the disgrace would have been on us, but now it must come on the . that there cannot be any charge sustained against us and that the conduct of the mob, the murders committed at , and the exterminating order of the , and the one sided rascally proceedings of the Legislature has damned the state of to all eternity I would just name also that has proved himself to be as contemtible as any of them we have tryed for a long time to get our lawyers to draw us some petitions to the supream Judges of this . but they uterly refused we have examined the law and drawn the petitions ourselvs and have obtained abundance of proof to counter act all the testimony [p. 6] that was against us, so that if the supream Judge dose [does] <​not grant​> us our liberty he has got to act without cause contrary to honor evidence law or justice shearly to please the devil but we hope better things and trust that before many days God will so order our case that we shall be set at liberty and take up our habitation with the saints we received some letters last evening one from one from and one from all breathing a kind and consoling spirit we were much gratified with there contence [contents] we had been a long time without information and when we read those letters they were to our soles <​souls​> as the gentle air, <​is​> refreshing but our joy was mingled with greaf because of the suffering of the poor and much injured saints and we need not say to you that the flood gates of our harts were hoisted and our eyes were a fountain of tears but those who have not been inclosed in the walls of a prison without cause or provication can have but a little ideah how sweat [sweet] the voice of a friend is one token of friendship from any sorce whatever awakens and calles into action evry simpathetick feeling it brings up in an instant evry thing that is pas[s]ed it sesses [seizes?] the presant with a vivasity of lightning it grasps after the future with the fearsness [fierceness] of a tiger it rhetrogrades from one thing to an other untill finally all enmity malice and hatred and past diferances misunderstandings and mis [p. 7]managements lie slain victoms at the feet of hope and when the hart is sufficiently contrite and <​then​> the voice of inspiration steals along and whispers my son pease be unto thy soul thine advirsity and thy afflictions shall be but a small moment and then if thou indure it well God shall exalts the[e] on high thou shalt tryumph over all they foes thy friends do stand by the[e] and they shall hail the[e] again with warm harts and friendly hands thou art yet not yet as Job thy friends do not contend again[st] the[e] the neither charge the[e] with transgretion as they did Job and they <​who​> do the charge the[e] with transgretion there hope shall be blasted and there prospects shall melt away as the hory frost melteth before the burning rays of the rising sun and also that God hath set to his hand and seal to change the times and seasons and to blind their minds that they may not understand his marvilos workings that he may prove them also and take them in there own craftiness also because their harts are corrupt and the thing which they are willing to bring upon others and love to have others suffer may come upon them<​selvs​> to the verry utmost that they may be disappointed also and their hopes may be cut off and not many years hence that they and their pasterity shall be swept from under heaven saith God that not one of them [p. 8] is left to stand by the wall cursed are all those that shall lift up the heal against mine anointed saith the Lord and cry they have sin[n]ed when they have not sined before me saith the Lord but have done that which was meat in mine eyes and which I them but those who cry transgresion do it becaus they are the servants of sin and are the children of disobediance themselvs and those who swear false against my servants that they might bring them unto bondage and death. Wo unto them because they have offended my little ones they shall be severed from the of mine house their basket shall not be full their houses and their barnes shall famish and they themselvs shall be dispised by those that flattered them they shall not have right to the nor their posterity after them from generation to generation it had been better for them that a millstone had been hanged about their necks and they having drownd in the depth of the see wo unto all those that discomfort my people and drive and murder and testify against them saith the Lord of host a generation of viper shall not escape the damnation of hell behold mine eyes seeth and knoweth all their works and I have in reserve a swift judgement in the season thereoff for them all for there is a time appointed for <​to​> evry man [p. 9] according their <​as his​> work shall be and now beloved Brethren we say unto [you?] that in asmuch as good <​God​> hath said that he would have a tried people that he would purge them as gold now we think that this time he has chosen his own crusible wherein we have been tryed and we think if we get through with any degree of safty and shall have keept the faith that it will be a sign to this generation all together sufficient to leave them without excuse and we think also that it will be a tryal of our faith equal to that of Abraham and that the antionts [ancients] will not have were off [whereof] to bo[a]st over us in the day of judgment as being called to pass through heavier afflictions that we may hold an even waight in the balances with them but now after having suffered so grate a sacrifis and having pased through so grate a scene of sorrow we trust that a Ram may be caught in the thicket speedily to releave the sons and daughters of Abraham from their grate <​great​> anxiety and to light up the lamp of salvation upon their countinances that they may hold up <​on​> now after having gone so far unto everlasting life. Now brethren conserning the places for the location of the saints we cannot counsyl you as we could if we were presant with you and <​as​> to the things that ware writen heartofore [heretofore] we did not concider them any thing verry binding therfore we now say once for all that we think it most proper that the general affairs of the which are nessisary [p. 10] to be concidered while your humble servant remains in bondage s[h]ould be transacted by a general of the most faithfull and the most respictible of the authorities of the and a minute of those transactions may be kept and fowarded from time to time to your humble servant and if there should be any corrections by the word of the word of the Lord they shall be f[r]eely transmitted and your humble servant will approve all the things what soever is acciptable unto God if any thing thing should have been sejusted [suggested] by us or any names mentioned ex[ce]pt by or thus saith the Lord we do not concider it binding. therefore our harts shall not be greaved if diferant arraingments should be entered into the nevertheless we would sejest the propriety of being awar[e] of an aspiring spirit which spirit has oftentimes urged men fowards to make foul speaches and influaance the church and to reject milder councils and has eventually by <​been​> the means been of bringing much death and sorrow upon the church we would say be awar of pride also for well and truly hath the wise man s[a]id that pride goeth before distruction and a haughty spirit before a fall and Again outward appearance is not always a Criterean for us to Judge our fellow man but the lips betray the haughty and over barinng immginations of the heart, by his words by <​and​> his deeds let him be scan[n]ed [p. 11] flaterly also is a deadly poison an a frank an <​a frank and​> open Rebuke provoketh a good man to Emulation and in the hour of trouble he will be your best friend, but on the other-hand it will draw out all the corruption of a corrupt heart And lying and the poison of asps shall be under their tongues and they do cause the pure in heart to be cast in to prison because they want them out of thare way, A fanciful and flowely and heated immagination be aware of because the things of God Are of deep import and time and expeariance and car[e]ful and pondurous and solom though[ts] can only find them out. thy mind O Man, if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation must streach [stretch] as high as the utmost Heavens, and sink sear[c]h in to and contemplate the loest <​lowest​> consideatins [considerations] of the darkest abyss, and Expand upon the broad considerations of Eternal Expance, he must commune with God. how much more dignifide and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vane immagination of the human heart, none but fools, will triful [trifle], with the souls of men, how vane and trifling, have ben our spirits, our Conferencs our Coun[c]ils our— private Meetings our pri[v]ate as well as public Conversations to low to mean to vulgar [p. 12] to condecending, for the dignifide Characters of the Cald and Chosen of God, according to the purposes of his word will from befo[re] the foundation of the world. to hold the , of the mistres [mysteries] of those things that have ben kept hid from the foundation untill now, for <​of​> which som have tasted a little and which many of them are to be pored down from heaven upon the heads of babes, yea the weak, obscure and dispizable ones of this earth. tharefore We beseath of you bretheren, that bare <​you bear​> with those [w]ho do not feel themselves more worthey than yourselves, while we Exort one another, to a reffermation [reformation?], with one an all. both old and young. teachers and taugt both high and low rich and poor—bond and free. Male and female. let honesty and sobriety, and cander and solemnity, and virtue, and pureness, and Meekness, and simplisity, Crown our heads in every place, and in fine becom as little Children without mallice guile or high packrichy Hypokrisy: and now Bretheren after your tribulations if you do this— things, and exercise fervent prayer, and faith in the sight of God Always, he shall give unto you knowledge [p. 13] by his holy spirit yea by the unspeakable gift of the holy-Ghost that has not been revealed since the world was untill now which our fathers have wated with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times which their minds were pointed to by the Angels as held in reserve for the fullness of their glory a time to come in the which nothing shall be with held whither there be one god or many god’s they shall be manifest all thrones and dominions principalities and powers shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have indured valiently for the gospel of Jesus Christ and also if there be bounds set to the heavens or to the seas or to the dry land or to the sun moon or starrs all the times of their revolutions all their appointed days month and years and all the Days of their days, months and years and all their glories laws and set times shall be reveald in the days of the according to that which was in the midst of the councyl of the eternal God of all other Gods before this world was that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereoff where <​when​> evry man shall enter into his eternal presants and into his imortal rest but I beg leave to say unto you Brethren that ignorance supe[r]stition and bigotry placing itself where it ought not is often times in the way of the prosperity of this [p. 14] like the torant of rain from the mountains that floods the most pure and christle stream with mire and dirt and filthyness and obscures evry thing that was clear before and all hurls along in one general deluge but time tethers <​wethers​> tide and notwithstanding we are roled in for the time being by the mire of the flood the next surge peradventure as time roles on may bring us to the fountain as clear as cristal and as pure as snow while all the filthiness flood wood and rubbish is left is left and purged out by the way. How long can rowling watters reamin impure what power shall stay the heavens as well might man streach forth his puny arm to stop the in its decread cours or to turne it up stream as to hinder the Almighty from pooring down knoledge from <​heaven​> upon the heads of the Latter day saints what is or his murderous party but wimbling willows upon the shore to catch the flood wood as will might we argue that watter is not watter because the the mountain torants send down mire and riles the cristle stream altho afterwords ren[d]ers it more pure than before Or that fire is not fire because it is of a quenchable nature by pooing [pouring] on the flood, as to say that our cause is down because runegadoes lyers preasts theavs and murderers who are all alike tenatious of their crafts and creeds have poord [p. 15] down from their spiritual wickednes in hig[h] places and from their strong holds of the divin[e] a flud of dirt and mire and filthiness and vomit upon our heads no God forbid. hell may poor forth its rage like the burning lavy [lava] of mount vesuvias or of Etna or of the most terible of the burning mountains and yet shall mormonism stand. watter, fire, truth, and god are all the same truth is mormonism God is the author of it he is our shield it is by him we received our birth, it was by his voice that we were called to in a of his gospel in the begining of the fullness of tim[e]s it was by him we received the book of mormon and it was by him that we remain unto this day and by him we shall remain if it shall be for our glory and in his almighty name we are determined to indure tribulation as good soldiers unto the end but brethren we shall continue to offer further reflections in our next epistle you will learn by the time you have read this and if you do not learn it you may learn it that walls and <​iron​> doors <​and screaking hinges​> is only calcu and half scard to death Guards and jailors grining like some damned spirit lest an inocent man should make his escape to bring to light the damnible deeds of a murderous mob is cal[c]ulated in its verry nature to make the sole of an honist man feel stronger than the powers of hell. But we must bring our epistle to a close [p. 16] we send our respects to Fathers, Mothers, wives, and children, Brothers, and Sisters. we hold them in the most sacred rememberance I send this epistle to that She may have the first parusal of it we feel to inquire after if he has not forgotten us it has not been signified to us by his pen scrawl. Brother also and we remember him but would like to jog his memory a little on the fable of the bair and the two friends who mutually agreed to stand by each other and prehaps it would not be amis to mention and various others, a word of consolation and a blessing would not come amiss from any body while we are being so closly whispered by the Bair but we feel to excuse evry body and evry thing. Yea the more readily when we contemplate that we are in the hands of a wors than a Bair for a the Bair would not pray upon a dead carcus. Our respects and love and fellowship to all the virtious saints we are your Brethren and fellow sufferers and prisoners of Jesus Christ for the gospels sake and for the hope of glory which is in us. Amen.
Joseph Smith Jr
. [p. 17]
Epistle of Joseph Smith & Others in to the in .
March 20th 1839
E.