Discourse, 9 May 1841, as Reported by Julius Alexander Reed
JS, Discourse, , Lee Co., Iowa Territory, 9 May 1841. Featured version reported by Julius Alexander Reed; handwriting of Julius Alexander Reed; two pages, Julius Alexander Reed, Papers, Special Collections, State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines. Includes docket.
On 9 May 1841, JS delivered a discourse at , Iowa Territory, addressing the Latter-day Saints’ efforts to build a city in and complaints made by British members of the . Two years earlier, in mid-1839, church and had purchased from nearly 18,000 acres in what was known as the “” in , Iowa Territory. In early March 1841, JS dictated a revelation directing the Saints in Iowa Territory to in in Lee County or in other appointed gathering sites. Two months later, in his 9 May discourse, JS discussed some of the circumstances in Lee County as well as some of the challenges the Saints faced there.
JS also responded to complaints from certain British converts who had immigrated to the area. In July 1838 the had been directed to “go over the great waters” and proselytize in the British Isles. Those apostles who went arrived in early 1840 and continued their work into April 1841. Through their efforts, thousands in converted to the Latter-day Saint faith, and by 1841 those converts were steadily streaming into . In May 1841, the Warsaw Signal reported that “great dissatisfaction exists at Nauvoo, amongst those who have lately arrived from England,” and that “some have left both the City and the Church— not believing, on the one hand, in the mission of the Prophet, and on the other, dissatisfied with the temporal government which is exercised over them.” In June 1841, the Times and Seasons responded to this report stating that “there may be individuals who feel dissatisfied, but it is far from being general.” The newspaper further cautioned that “those who have come expecting to find gold in our streets, and all the luxuries of an old country, will find themselves disappointed, but those who have maturely considered the advantages and disadvantages, are perfectly satisfied and contented.” In his discourse, JS reportedly encouraged dissatisfied immigrants to leave, saying that he no longer wanted to hear their complaints.
Julius Alexander Reed, a Congregationalist minister living in , apparently heard JS speak on 9 May and made notes on what he said. Reed seems to have interspersed some related personal notes among his notes of JS’s discourse, and his account of the sermon seems to move between the first and third person in reference to JS.
They havnt begun to suffer yet— If they cant do nothing but complain we wish they wd go back we dont want them here— If they love their ease more than the cause let them go to hell— We can get along without such persons & the devil will be glad to see them when they get home— We dont wish to hear any more complaints & we tell you boldly we will not hear it any longer— He wd not turn aside to save them from hell—
He said to some lads standing before the stand not to fear hell the Pres cd not damn them—
In March resident at entered Mr Bissells enclosure in surveying & drove a stake when forbidden Mr B. knocked it up & threw it away rained a club over his head & threatened to beat his brains out & drove by his order the stake was driven—
Wd shew his gold watch but it was not his. belonged to a friend for whom he was keeping it that the sheriff might not get it— [p. ]
The section following this paragraph appears unrelated to JS’s 9 May 1841 sermon and is not reproduced here. The quotations are taken from testimony given by John Corrill at a Nov. 1838 hearing where JS and sixty-three other Latter-day Saints were tried for various charges, including treason against the state of Missouri. (John Corrill, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, State of Missouri v. JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes (Mo. 5th Jud. Cir. 1838), in State of Missouri, “Evidence,” –.