Letters to John Burk, Sally Waterman Phelps, and Almira Mack Scobey, 1–2 June 1835

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Copy this half and let each grade of officers have one copy.
June 1st 1835
: You will not value the postage of <​a​> letter I presume when you learn that this part of the sheet is for the benefit of the saints of God. According to the order of the kingdom begun in the last days, to prepare men for the rest of the Lord, the in or <​in​> her immediate region have no authority, nor right to medelle [meddle] with her affairs to regulate, or even hold any courts. The has been organized expressly <​to​> administer over <​in​> all her spiritual affairs; And the and his are set over her temporal matters: so thus the elders’ acts are null and void: Now the Lord wants the tares and wheat to grow to gether <​while and in an organized states,​>; Zion must be redeemed with Judgments and her Converts by righteousness: Every elder that can, after he has provided for his family (if any he has) and paid his debts must go forth and clear his skirts from the blood of this generation: while they are there, instead of holding courts to stop communion, or any thing <​else,​> let every one laber to bind up the broken hearted; reclaim the wanderer, and persuade back into the Kingdom, such as have been cut off. by encouraging <​them​> to lay to and work rightousness, and prepare with one heart and one mind to redeem Zion, that goodly land of promise, where the willing and the obedient shall be blessed. Souls are as precious in the sight of God as they ever were, and the elders were never called to drive any down to hell, but entice <​invite​> and persuade men every where to repent— It is the acceptable year of the Lord. The too, should not be <​idle​> their duties are plain and unless <​they​> do them, they can not expect to be approved. Righteousness must govern the saints in all things, and <​when​> the new covenants come forth the priests will learn that great <​things​> may be expected <​at​> their hands.
The and are the standing ministers of the , and in the absence of other officers, they will have great things required at their hands— They must strengthen the members;— persuade such as are out of the way to repent, and meekly urge and persuade every one to forgive each other all their trespasses, offences, and sins; Bear and forbear one with another, brethren, for so God does with us. Cease to find fault and learn to do well: Pray <​for​> your enemies in the church, and curse not <​your​> foes <​with​>out: for vengence belongs to God. Know you not, that “there is more Joy in heaven over One sinner that repents, than over there is oever <​ninety​> nine Just persons, that need no repentance!” Strive not about the mysteries of the kingdom; to one is given the word of wisdom; to another the power of healing difficulties: To every officer we say be merciful and you shall find mercy. Your Brethren, who leave their families and go forth to warn the present generation of the great things to <​come​>, expect great things of those who enjoy the society of the sain[ts] and their families— They pray that they may be very prayerful and very humble, will working diligently for spiritually <​&​> temporally for the redemption of , when all the pure in heart can return with songs, of everlasting Joy, to enjoy the good of the land of Zion: Brethren, in the name of Jesus we entreat you to live worthy [p. [1]] of the blessing which shall <​be​> heired [inherited] by the faithful after is redeemed.
To : The Lord is not pleased with him because he did not come to as is manifest to the Council: The Council fear, that in consequence of self sufficiency and self knowledge, which hertofore at times headed our worthy brother aside from the strict principles of <​the gospel of​> our Lord Jesus Christ, unless he goes forth into the vineyard, and magnifies his calling according to the , satan will sift him as chaff. Let him be reminded that it is necessary for him to repent, and humble himself before God and go about his master’s business; and let those who have been appointed, whose appointments have been sanctioned by the voice of the regulate the affairs of Zion, Lest he that puts his hand forth to steady the ark, be made an ensample, as was Uzzah in the David Days of David.
Decision in Elder ’s case appealed from the Elder’s Court.
, Ohio, May 30, 1835: The foregoing case was reviewed by the Presidency, and decided that the proceedings were illegal on the part of the Elders; they not having authority to act in that country, the Lord having appionted regular councils for the trials of transgressors— Clerk—
We say to , go to the parties and witnesses, in meekness and forgive them whatever hardness you may hold against <​them​> and they must forgive you, and when you have done so, and sufficiently humbled yourself, prepare your self— and go forth and magnify your calling, lest satan sift you as chaff.
We having a regard for Elder Fosdick hope and pray that he may also go forth and improve his talent, lest he lose his crown.
In the bonds <​of​> the , we are
Joseph Smith, Jr.
To the Elders , , and members of the church of Christ of Latte[r] day sain[t]s.
Copy this and hand it to my , that give her the original letter
Clay Co
Mo [p. [2]]
(O.) June 2d 1835
Dear and children:— Having to send the decision in s case, I embrace the opportunity to fulfil the promise I made you in my first and second lettr, (the second sent by Beebe) to give you and the saints some advice. Language has not the power to convey my mind to you; nor can those who are not separated for months and years, feel for those who are:— How sweet will be the meeting of those Elders, and , who, to fulfil their prom[i]ses and commissions, and help save souls, after months’ and years’ absence, from their beloved wives and families, return to enjoy their smiles and company!— O how well, we who have left our wives and children will know how to prize their delightful society! How often will our wives reflect on the happy moments they passed by their fire-sides, with their husbands and children! How many times will they long for such happy times again! Now is the time for our affections to feast on the perfections and virtues of each other: to be sure, we may have had some little differences about some things when we were together, but they are all buried now: And if any persons under heaven ought to enjoy the blessings prepared for the saints when is redeemed— it is those husbands and wives that freely, and faithfully bear separation for the sake of the Kingdom; for the sake of religion; and for the sake of souls! What though, my dear , can not hear her children— exclaim, as when I was there, “There comes father!” “father said so,” and “I will ask father.” &c What though my flute is not heared morning and evening— and what though my voice is not heard in reading and praying— I have confidence in you, and know that you will do right and teach the children to do so too. Live humble; pray much, for I pray for you once a day in secret, and I am confident, <​if​> you and the children “do likewise”, that our prayers will be answered:— for the Lord says what ever thi[n]g ye ask which is expedient, being united, it shall be granted. Seek diligently to preserve the faith <​which​> has been delivered unto [us] in these last days: Forgive all that trespass against you: pray for your brethren and friends— and revile not against your enemies— Inasmuch as you have strength and <​are​> prospered in your labors or undertaking, clothe your selves decently; for this <​is​> comely in the sight of God, and honorable before your brethren and the world. I shall do all I can for you, though the brethren here are considerably in debt, and are poor. The children! the children! , teach them diligently the holy precepts which you have had taught you from the book of Mormon, the bible, the revelations, &c. Let them take turns in praying. I know if you and the children are as anxious to live right, as I am to have to have <​you​> do right; so that we may all return to Zion with songs of everlasting Joy— you will not, one of you, do an evil deed, or go out of the way while I am absent from you. will not, I believe, for since we were married, I have never known her do wrong knowingly, therefore [p. [3]] strive to have the children brought up in the way they should go, and they come <​go​> back to they will thank you and honor you for your motherly admonition”, Waterman is well— one accident befel him. He went in to the millpond to swim, and like to have drowned, but was brought out by Br. Bump’s boy: He will never be caught in that folly again, I trust. Br Joseph told me of it and talked to him like an angel—
I know you will like to hear some news from as well as advice, so I shall give you some. The are constantly coming in and going. Last week Elders and , started for the east last week. , and counsellor will start soon: Elder came in last week; Elders and arrived la[s]t week, and Elder this week. says he preached to Jerusha, and she believed and will eventually come into the . I beseech of you to pray God that she may come in, so that you can have one natural heir in the Kingdom with you, for consolation I shall try to send some of the elders to preach to Flavius and Mary, so thus they may come in too, if they will I have sent and to my fathers, and to Lydia— Now is the Harvest and you must pray, and the children must pray thus they may be brought into the kingdom. President Smith preached last Sabbath, and I gave him the text: “This is my beloved Son; hear ye him!” He preached one of the greatest sermons I ever heard— it was about 3½ hours long— and unfolded more mysteries than I can write at this time. The Congregations of saints at is larger than any one we used to have at , and when any of the world come in, we have what may well be called <​a​> Large Congregation.
wanted I should say to Mary, that he is well— He left here for and may be expect[ed] in the west in the course of the summer. President Smith, as I before said, told me he had written to Sister [Elizabeth Van Benthusen] Gilbert, who I sincerly hope lives humble enough to have the spirit of God continally to console her in her widowhood, and cheer <​herself​> up to look with Joy for the hour of redemption. When I left you, , I said:— The blessings of God, and my peace with you, till I return”, Live so that you may inherit these things: for the Lord will surely grant them, if you are worthy. Be careful of my Letters for I have not time to copy them. Give respects to the saints I remain yours forever
and children
NB If I was able to bear the expense I would write weekly but as it would cost $12,50, both ways, I can not afford it. If the inhabitant[s] of of will raise you six dollars, I will write for their good
[Drawing of plan of city of Zion]
Be careful and let no one Copy this plan least you bring persecutions on your selves.
Plan of the city— you will have keep such things to yourself for wisdom
Brother has left a little space for me to occupy and I gladly improve it, I would be glad to see the children of and del[i]ver the <​word​> of Eternal <​life​> to them from my own mouth but cannot this year nevertheless the day will come that I shall enjoy this privileege I trust. and we all shall receive an in the land of refuge which is so much to be desired seeing it is under the direction of the Allmighty therefore let us live faithful before the Lord and it shall be well with us I feel for all the Chilldren of Zion and pray for them in all my prayrs peace be multiplyed unto their redeemtion and favor from God Amen
Joseph Smith Jr [p. [4]]


  1. new scribe logo

    William W. Phelps handwriting begins  

  2. 1

    That is, not be concerned about the postage that Burk, as the recipient of the letter, needed to pay. Postage on a letter consisting of one piece of paper and traveling more than four hundred miles was twenty-five cents. If the letter consisted of two pieces of paper, the cost was fifty cents; three pieces, seventy-five cents; and four pieces, one dollar. Letters weighing more than an ounce were “charged at the rate of single postage for each quarter of an ounce, or quadruple postage for each ounce according to their weight.” As noted in the source note, however, this letter was probably hand delivered rather than mailed. (Force, National Calendar, 140.)  

    Force, Peter. The National Calendar for MDCCCXXIX. Vol. VII. Washington DC: By the author, 1829.Force, Peter. The National Calendar for MDCCCXXX. Vol. VIII. Washington DC: By the author, 1830.

  3. 2

    The published version of this letter changed this part of the sentence to “the elders in Zion, or in her immediate region, have no authority or right, to meddle with her spiritual affairs, to regulate her concerns, or hold councils for the expulsion of members, in her unorganized condition.” (Letter to the Saints Scattered Abroad, June 1835.)  

  4. 3

    See Minutes, 3 July 1834; and Minutes and Discourse, ca. 7 July 1834.  

  5. 4

    See Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:68–72].  

  6. 5

    The Instruction on Priesthood states that high priests and elders were “to administer in spiritual things” and had “a right to officiate in all these offices of the church when there are no higher authorities present.” This apparently was not the case in Zion, however, because a high Council had been organized and a bishop and counselors had been called. Phelps noted to his wife, Sally, in another letter, “The high Council and the Bishop’s Council, are the proper authority to give advice to the Saints, and in time of need they will do what the Lord requires.” (Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:9–12]; William W. Phelps to Sally Waterman Phelps, no date, William W. Phelps, Papers, BYU.)  

    Phelps, William W. Papers, 1835–1865. BYU.

  7. 6

    See Matthew 13:30; and Revelation, 6 Dec. 1832 [D&C 86:7].  

  8. 7

    Stake,” instead of “states,” may have been the intention here.  

  9. 8

    See Isaiah 1:27.  

  10. 9

    See Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:74–75, 85].  

  11. 10

    See Isaiah 61:1.  

  12. 11

    See Isaiah 1:19; and Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831 [D&C 64:34].  

  13. 12

    See Isaiah 61:1–2; Luke 4:18–19; and Revelation, 6 May 1833 [D&C 93:51]. “The acceptable year of the Lord” was equated with the Jewish jubilee, a “solemn sabbatical year, held every seventh sabbatical year, that is, at the end of every forty-nine years.” More generally, the phrase could be interpreted as “the Gospel state and dispensation, which proclaims spiritual liberty from the bondage of sin and satan, and the liberty of returning to our own possession, even the heavenly inheritance.” (Horne, Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, 3:345–347.)  

    Horne, Thomas Hartwell. An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. 2nd ed. 4 vols. London: T. Cadell, 1821.

  14. 13

    Duties of priests were outlined in the church’s governing “Articles and Covenants.” (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:46–52].)  

  15. 14

    Probably a reference to the pending publication of the Doctrine and Covenants, which Phelps was working on. The volume includes the “Articles and Covenants” and a section “On Priesthood,” both of which contain information about the duties of priests. (Historical Introduction to Doctrine and Covenants, 1835; Doctrine and Covenants 2 and 3, 1835 ed.)  

  16. 15

    For a list of the duties of teachers and deacons, see Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:53–59].  

  17. 16

    See Colossians 3:13.  

  18. 17

    See Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:124]; and Isaiah 1:17.  

  19. 18

    See Romans 12:19; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 524, 533 [Mormon 3:15; 8:20].  

  20. 19

    See Luke 15:7.  

  21. 20

    See 1 Corinthians 12:8; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 586 [Moroni 10:9]; and Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–A [D&C 46:17].  

  22. 21

    See Matthew 5:7; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 479 [3 Nephi 12:7].  

  23. 22

    See Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:18].  

  24. 23

    See Revelation, 24 Feb. 1834 [D&C 103:11–13].  

  25. 24

    Although the 23 June council instructed Wight to travel to Kirtland, an August 1834 letter from JS to Wight implied that he had additional responsibilities in Missouri: “And I would reccomend to brother Wight to enter complaints to the Govonor as of ten as he receves any insults or injury . . . and if the citizens of Clay co, do not befriend us to gather up the little army and be set over Immediately into Jackson County and trust in God and do the best he can in maintaining the ground.” (Minutes, 23 June 1834; Letter to Lyman Wight et al., 16 Aug. 1834.)  

  26. 25

    See Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52:12]; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 327 [Alma 37:15].  

  27. 26

    Wight was appointed a member of the Missouri high council in July 1834 but could not function without the presidency and the other councilors. (Minutes, 3 July 1834; Minutes and Discourse, ca. 7 July 1834.)  

  28. 27

    See 2 Samuel 6:3–8; 1 Chronicles 13:7–11; and Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832 [D&C 85:8]. It is unclear what Wight may have done to “steady the ark.” One possibility is that, as one of only two resident members of the Missouri high council, he tried to fill the leadership gap himself without consulting the presidency of the Missouri high council in Kirtland. A later note from Oliver Cowdery mentioned that Wight had not been corresponding with church leaders in Kirtland, making them think that there was “evidently a wrong somewhere.” (“Some Early Letters of William W. Phelps,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Jan. 1940, 29.)  

    Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine. Salt Lake City. 1910–1940.

  29. 28

    This could refer to the presidency of the Missouri high council, the presidency of the Kirtland high council, the presidency of the high priesthood, or some combination of these bodies.  

  30. 29

    Burket had previously been disciplined in 1832 and 1833, when he had his elder’s license rescinded, but his license was reinstated in November 1834. By January 1836, he was “laboring for a season in the branch of the church” in Madison County, Illinois. (Minute Book 2, 29 Nov.–1 Dec. 1831; 5 Nov. 1834; “Extract of G. Burket’s Letter,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Jan. 1836, 2:256.)  

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.

  31. 30

    This might be Jabez G. Fosdick, who apparently carried on correspondence with Oliver Cowdery in 1834 about the church in Michigan. The December 1835 issue of the Messenger and Advocate contained a notation that “the high council of the church of Latter Day Saints, in Missouri, have withdrawn their fellowship from elder J. D. Fosdick, for unchristianlike conduct, till he makes satisfaction.” This might be the same “Elder Fosdick.” (Letter to J. G. Fosdick, 3 Feb. 1834; Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to J. G. Fosdick, Pontiac, Michigan Territory, 4 Feb. 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 25–26; Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to J. G. Fosdick et al., Pontiac, Michigan Territory, 7 Mar. 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 28–29; “Notice,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Dec. 1835, 2:240.)  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.

  32. 31

    See Matthew 25:15–28.  

  33. new scribe logo

    Signatures of JS, Oliver Cowdery, William W. Phelps, and John Whitmer.  

  34. 32

    This apparently meant that Burk or other elders were to copy the portion of the letter with the specific instructions to Burk and then give the original to Sally Waterman Phelps. William W. Phelps told Sally in another letter that he would write to her “all the news and new things that is expedient for you, or the Saints” and that she was to keep such letters “at home,” as he considered them his “private Journal.” (William W. Phelps to Sally Waterman Phelps, no date, William W. Phelps, Papers, BYU.)  

    Phelps, William W. Papers, 1835–1865. BYU.

  35. 33

    At this time, Phelps had seven children, six of whom were in Missouri. His son Waterman had accompanied him to Kirtland. His children in Missouri were Sabrina (eighteen years old), Mehitable (sixteen years old), Sarah (ten years old), Henry (six years old), James (two years old), and Lydia (three months old). (Van Orden, “Writing to Zion,” 584n59.)  

    Van Orden, Bruce A. “Writing to Zion: The William W. Phelps Kirtland Letters (1835–1836).” BYU Studies 33, no. 3 (1993): 542–593.

  36. 34

    Phelps wrote letters to Sally on 18 and 26 May 1835. “Elder Beebe” is likely Calvin Beebe, a member of the Missouri high council. On 10 September 1834, Beebe was appointed by the council “to go forth to the land of Kirtland and preach by the way.” Beebe left Missouri with Isaac Morley on 17 February 1835, arriving in Kirtland on 29 April 1835. He apparently returned to Missouri not long after Phelps arrived in Kirtland. (William W. Phelps, Kirtland, OH, to Sally Waterman Phelps, Liberty, MO, 26 May 1835, William W. Phelps, Papers, BYU; Minute Book 2, 10 Sept. 1834; Isaac Morley and Calvin Beebe, Report, ca. Apr. 1835, Missionary Reports, 1831–1900, CHL.)  

    Phelps, William W. Papers, 1835–1865. BYU.

    Missionary Reports, 1831–1900. CHL. MS 6104.

  37. 35

    There are several places in the Bible where the phrase “do likewise” is used. (See, for example, Judges 7:17; and Luke 3:11; 10:37.)  

  38. 36

    See Revelation, Sept. 1830–A [D&C 29:6].  

  39. 37

    See Revelation, 6 Aug. 1833 [D&C 98:25].  

  40. 38

    See Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:18].  

  41. 39

    See Proverbs 22:6.  

  42. 40

    William Waterman Phelps, Phelps’s son, was twelve years old at this time. (Van Orden, “Writing to Zion,” 584n59.)  

    Van Orden, Bruce A. “Writing to Zion: The William W. Phelps Kirtland Letters (1835–1836).” BYU Studies 33, no. 3 (1993): 542–593.

  43. 41

    This is likely Asa Bump, the son of Jacob Bump, who would have been ten or eleven at this time. (1850 U.S. Census, Kirtland, Lake Co., OH, 223[A].)  

    Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.

  44. 42

    John Corrill noted in a later history that “in the winter of 1834 and 5, all the principal elders in Upper Missouri went to Kirtland. Some of them spent the Summer there, while others traveled and preached in the eastern States, and some went to the south.” (Corrill, Brief History, 22.)  

    Corrill, John. A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, (Commonly Called Mormons;) Including an Account of Their Doctrine and Discipline; with the Reasons of the Author for Leaving the Church. St. Louis: By the author, 1839.

  45. 43

    Simeon Carter arrived in Kirtland on 4 May 1835 after traveling from Missouri and preaching in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Solomon Hancock left Missouri in January 1835, preaching in Missouri and Illinois on his way to Ohio. (Simeon Carter, Report, 4 May 1835, Missionary Reports, 1831–1900, CHL; Solomon Hancock, Report, ca. Apr. 1835, Missionary Reports, 1831–1900, CHL.)  

    Missionary Reports, 1831–1900. CHL. MS 6104.

  46. 44

    Partridge and Morley departed on 2 June 1835 to preach in the eastern states. They returned to Kirtland at the end of October 1835. (Edward Partridge, Report, 31 Oct. 1835, Missionary Reports, 1831–1900, CHL; see also Recommendation for Edward Partridge and Isaac Morley, 1 June 1835.)  

    Missionary Reports, 1831–1900. CHL. MS 6104.

  47. 45

    Amasa Lyman had been preaching in Illinois and other locations. A letter published in the June 1835 issue of the Messenger and Advocate noted that Lyman was present at a conference held in Clinton County, Illinois, on 25 April 1835 and that he departed there on 28 April. (“Extract of a Letter,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, June 1835, 1:142.)  

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.

  48. 46

    In November 1834, Dustin and Emmett both applied to the Missouri high council “for a reccommend to go and preach the gospel.” The high council gave them recommends and assigned them to preach together. In July 1835, Emmett reported that he and Dustin had baptized twenty-two individuals since December 1834. (Minute Book 2, 5 Nov. 1834; Letters from Elders Abroad, LDS Messenger and Advocate, July 1835, 1:160.)  

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.

  49. 47

    In August 1834, the Missouri high council voted that Uzziel Stevens “should go into the world to preach the Gospel in the due time of the Lord.” (Minute Book 2, 21 Aug. 1834.)  

  50. 48

    Jerusha Waterman was Sally’s sister. It is unclear whether she ever became a member of the church or where she was living at this time. (Van Orden, “Writing to Zion,” 584n74.)  

    Van Orden, Bruce A. “Writing to Zion: The William W. Phelps Kirtland Letters (1835–1836).” BYU Studies 33, no. 3 (1993): 542–593.

  51. 49

    Flavius Waterman, Sally’s brother, and Mary Waterman, Flavius’s wife. The 1830 census lists Flavius as living in Homer, Athens County, Ohio. (1850 U.S. Census, Windsor, Morgan Co., OH, 174[A]; 1830 U.S. Census, Homer, Athens Co., OH, 218.)  

    Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.

  52. 50

    Lydia, who was born in 1793, was Sally’s sister. She was apparently living in Smyrna, New York. Sometime after this letter was written, she told Libbeus Coons, who was preaching there, that she “accounted herself a Mormon.” (Van Orden, “Writing to Zion,” 591n149; 1850 U.S. Census, Troy, Athens Co., OH, 80[A]; William W. Phelps to Sally Waterman Phelps, no date, William W. Phelps, Papers, BYU; L. T. Coons, Kirtland, OH, 6 Nov. 1833, Letter to the Editor, LDS Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1835, 2:207.)  

    Van Orden, Bruce A. “Writing to Zion: The William W. Phelps Kirtland Letters (1835–1836).” BYU Studies 33, no. 3 (1993): 542–593.

    Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.

    Phelps, William W. Papers, 1835–1865. BYU.

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.

  53. 51

    The previous Sunday was 31 May.  

  54. 52

    See Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 476 [3 Nephi 11:7]. A later JS history stated that in the spring of 1820, God and Jesus Christ appeared to JS and God said, “This is my beloved Son, Hear him” as he pointed to Christ. (JS History, vol. A-1, 3.)  

    JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). Historian’s Office, History of the Church, 1839–ca. 1882. CHL. CR 100 102, boxes 1–7. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

  55. 53

    Preaching for that length of time was perhaps not unusual. William E. McLellin noted that JS preached a sermon in March 1835 in Huntsburgh, Ohio, that lasted three hours. (McLellin, Journal, 29 Mar. 1835.)  

    McLellin, William E. Journal, July 1834–Apr. 1835. William E. McLellin, Papers, 1831–1836, 1877–1878. CHL. MS 13538, box 1, fd. 4. Also available as Jan Shipps and John W. Welch, eds., The Journals of William E. McLellin, 1831–1836 (Provo, UT: BYU Studies; Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994).

  56. 54

    Prior to moving to Kirtland in June 1831, Phelps and his family resided in Canandaigua, New York. (William W. Phelps, “Letter No. 6,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Apr. 1835, 1:97.)  

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.

  57. 55

    Samuel Bent, who married Mary Kilbourne in 1805, was baptized in Pontiac, Michigan Territory, in January 1833. He went to Missouri with the Camp of Israel expedition in 1834 and then traveled to Kirtland. Apparently Mary had also relocated to Missouri, although it does not appear she went with the Camp of Israel. (“Historical Sketch and Obituary Notice of Samuel Bent,” [1], Obituary Notices and Biographies, CHL; “Journal of the Branch of the Church of Christ in Pontiac,” 1.)  

    Obituary Notices and Biographies, 1854–1877. CHL. MS 4760.

    “Journal of the Branch of the Church of Christ in Pontiac,” May–June 1834. CHL. MS 4610.

  58. 56

    Sidney Gilbert, the husband of Elizabeth Van Benthusen Gilbert, died on 29 June 1834 after contracting cholera in the same outbreak that hit the Camp of Israel. This letter from JS to Elizabeth Gilbert is not extant.  

  59. 57

    TEXT: This note is written down the left margin of page 3.  

  60. 58

    TEXT: This note is written at the top of the page in four lines, partially writing over the hand-drawn plan.  

  61. 59

    A June 1834 revelation counseled church members to “reveal not the things” that God had “revealed unto them” in terms of the redemption of Zion. Speaking about plans to return to Jackson County in 1836, JS similarly told the Saints to keep such things to themselves: “Let not this be noised abroad let every heart beat in silence and every mouth be shut.” (Revelation, 22 June 1834 [D&C 105:23]; Letter to Lyman Wight et al., 16 Aug. 1834.)  

  62. 60

    TEXT: This note is written up the right side of the page in two lines.  

  63. new scribe logo

    The body of the letter resumes here. William W. Phelps handwriting ends; JS begins.  

  64. 61

    In a 26 May 1835 letter, William W. Phelps told his wife, Sally, that “the order of receiving inheritances in Zion when it is redeemed was commenced to day in council—Elder Martin [Harris] for his great good in assaying to bring for[th] the Book of Mormon, he is No 1 President Smith No 2.” (William W. Phelps, Kirtland, OH, to Sally Waterman Phelps, Liberty, MO, 26 May 1835, William W. Phelps, Papers, BYU; see also Whitmer, History, 71–72.)  

    Phelps, William W. Papers, 1835–1865. BYU.