In late May 1838, and wrote to JS to inform him of their recent return to , Ohio, from their mission in . Kimball and Hyde were members of the and had been appointed as traveling ministers and “special witnesses of the name of Christ, in all the world.” The two apostles started on their mission in June 1837, departing Kirtland with fellow missionaries and and traveling to , where the four men were joined by a few other missionaries. In July the group of missionaries sailed from New York City to , England, to begin what would be the first Mormon mission outside of North America. Over the next nine months, Kimball, Hyde, and others proselytized and organized of the church in and in a number of towns and villages in the Ribble Valley of Lancashire, where they enjoyed great success. By the end of their mission, over fifteen hundred people had joined the church. Kimball and Hyde departed England in April 1838 and arrived in Kirtland on 21 May, only to find Kirtland rife with rumors about and antagonism toward JS. In their letter to JS, they wrote that they had arrived on “monday last,” which indicates they wrote their letter sometime between 22 and 28 May.
In the letter, and briefly rehearsed their proselytizing activities in , reported on the caustic atmosphere they encountered upon returning to , and confirmed their steadfast loyalty to JS and the church. They also expressed their desire to move with their families to as soon as they could afford to do so, and they inquired regarding the spiritual well-being and harmony of the Saints in , Missouri. Kimball, the more senior apostle and first signatory, may have inscribed the letter.
When copied the letter from and into JS’s journal, Robinson wrote that JS received the letter on 6 July 1838. Robinson likely made the copy by late July; transcripts of this letter and a few other documents appear within a gap in regular journal keeping, with regular entries resuming late that month. The original letter is apparently not extant.
the field, Concerning the Nicholatine Band of which you warned us against we would say God is not there, and we are not there, they deal in sand stone & bogus, but we in faith hope & Charity We have not means to situate our families in at present and as we have not been chargable to the hitherto, we do not like to become a burthen to them in the extreme state of poverty to which they are reduced, We can preach the gospel when the Lord is with us, and by it we can live, and the time will come when we shall have means to settle with the saints. is not our home, it looks dolefull here, We shall go westward as soon as we can, the folks here tell many dark and pittifull tales about yourself & others. but the faults of our bretheren is poor entertainment for us, We have no accusation to bring for the Lord has shown us that he has taken the matter into his own hands, and every secret shall be braught to light and every man chastened for his sins, untill he confess and forsake them and then he shall fined mercy Therefore we can say we are at peace with God and with all mankind, and if any creature has aught against us, we have naught against him, and we say forgive us for Christ sake, We should be glad to see all our bretheren of the , and we s[h]all as we can consistantly, our good wishes and best respects to them To yourself and families, and to all the faithfull bretheren and sisters in Christ Jesus our Lord, Will you or some other of the bretheren write us soon and let us know the true state of things in , We have been gone allmost a year and have heard but very little, but we now hear much, We would like to know if a spirit of union prevails &c. &c. We are as ever your bretheren in the bonds of the ,
Many of those estranged from the church were residing in Kirtland when Hyde and Kimball returned in May 1838. “Sand stone & bogus” may be an allusion to a story about dissenter Warren Parrish, who allegedly traveled to Tinker’s Creek, Ohio, to buy a box of bogus, or counterfeit coin, and discovered upon his return that the box contained only “sand and stones.” Parrish and others organized themselves into a new “Church of Christ,” and JS apparently equated this group or at least some of the estranged church members at Kirtland with the heretical Nicolaitan sect mentioned in the New Testament. (Editorial, Elders’ Journal, Aug. 1838, 58; Backman, Heavens Resound, 327–329; Revelation 2:6, 15; Revelation, 8 July 1838–E [D&C 117:11].)
Backman, Milton V., Jr. The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830–1838. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983.