, Letter, , Middlesex and Surrey counties, England, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 15 June 1841. Featured version published in “Letter from Elder O. Hyde,” in Times and Seasons, 1 Oct. 1841, vol. 2, no. 23, 551–555. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
On 15 June 1841, wrote a letter from reporting on his mission to serve as an ambassador to the Jews abroad. Hyde sent the letter to JS in , Illinois, and intended it to be published in the Times and Seasons.
After proselytizing and raising funds throughout the eastern for several months, arrived in , England, on 3 March 1841. The letter featured here was the second one Hyde sent to JS from Europe, and it detailed his efforts to meet with the leadership of the Jewish community in and his authorship of materials describing the origins and tenets of the . Also included in the letter were excerpts from a booklet Hyde wrote while in . The booklet, patterned after ’s 1840 pamphlet A[n] Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions, explained the founding of the church. Hyde copied the excerpts into this letter for JS to review; he planned to have the booklet translated and published once he arrived in .
also reported on his attempts to fulfill his original mission assignment to seek information regarding the “views and movements of the Jewish people.” After calling on the chief rabbi of Great Britain, , at the Great Synagogue of , Hyde was informed that the rabbi had suffered injuries from a recent accident and was unable to grant him an audience. In response, Hyde penned a letter—which he copied into his letter to JS—informing Hirschell of his “divine appointment” to meet with the Jewish communities in several major world cities. There is no evidence that Hirschell responded to Hyde’s letter.
’s original letter to JS is apparently not extant. The letter was published in the 1 October 1841 issue of the Times and Seasons; that version is featured here. Although there is no known response from JS, Hyde continued his communications to JS with another letter a month later.
Sir, With pleasure I take my pen to write you at this time, and through you to the Times and Seasons; and through it, to the at large; and to all whom it may concern.
May grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, rest upon you abundantly, and enable you to serve him acceptably—secure to yourself that honor which cometh from above—guide the counsels of the saints in wisdom, that peace and good will may reign predominant in , and joy and gladness swell every grateful heart.
Most gladly would I embrace an opportunity of a personal interview with you, did one offer, but such a favor is beyond my reach at this time. I have just seen the 12th No. of the Times and Seasons, containing the minutes of your conference—the report of the presidency—the celebration of the anniversary of the church; and the laying of the foundation of the . This, to me, was a precious gem. It brought tidings from my own ; and from the place rendered doubly endearing from the fact that there is the home of my and children.
I was sorry that had been so tardy in his movements, that objections were made to him. Most gladly would I have hailed him as a companion to the Oriental Continent; but my hopes of that are fled. I shall go alone, or find some other person in all probability to go with me.
I have writ[t]en a book to publish in the German language, setting forth our doctrine and principles in as clear and concise a manner as I possibly could. After giving the history of the rise of the church, in something the manner that Br. did, I have written a snug little article upon every point of doctrine believed by the saints. I began with the , and showed that the saints were not under the necessity of tracing back the dark and bloody stream of papal superstition to find their authority, neither were they compelled to seek for it among the floating and trancient notions of Protestant reformers; but God has sent his holy angel directly from heaven with this seal and authority, and conferred it upon men with his own hands: quoting the letter and testimony of . Next was on the use and validity of the holy scriptures in the church. Next on faith, set forth from the scriptures and the book of covenants—then on repentance—then —then —then the different offices of the church. Next the power and authority of each one; and in fine the whole order, doctrine and government of the saints. I have not written it as a law binding on the German saints; but have taken this course to illustrate and set forth the true principles of our doctrine to them, fully believing that it would meet with the cordial approbation of those whom I have the distinguished honor to represent, could they but see it. I have written a lengthy preface and introduction to it. I here copy an extract from the introduction.
“When in the course of Divine Providence, it becomes our duty to record one of those remarkable events which gives birth to a new era. and lays the foundation for the renovation of the moral world; it fills the mind with wonder, astonishment, and admiration: How welcome are the rays of the morning light, after the shades of darkness have clothed the earth in gloom! So after a long and tedious night of moral darkness under which the earth has rolled, and her inhabitants groaned for the last fourteen hundred years; an angel! an angel!! commissioned from the Almighty, discended, and rolled back the curtains of night from the minds of some, and caused the sun-beams of truth to enlighten, cheer, and warm the hearts of many. Welcome! welcome to our earth, thou messenger of the Most High! and thrice welcome, the tidings which thou hast borne!!” [p. ]
This book was eventually published in Frankfurt, Germany, as Ein Ruf aus der Wüste in 1842. In an 1840 letter to JS, Hyde mentioned that the Spirit had manifested to him that “there is a great work to be done in Germany.” When he wrote the book and informed JS of his plans, no one had published any material from the church in a language other than English. While Hyde was writing his book in German, he published the first church work in a foreign language—a tract written in Dutch, which was addressed to the “Hebrews” in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Additionally, Hyde reportedly published information about the church in French in “the various countries of the East,” in a publication which is no longer extant. (Letter from Orson Hyde and John E. Page, 1 May 1840; JS History, vol. C-1 Addenda Book, 49; “Highly Interesting from Jerusalem,” Millennial Star, Mar. 1842, 2:167.)
Hyde translated an excerpt from Oliver Cowdery’s 7 September 1834 letter to William W. Phelps, as published in the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. In that letter Cowdery recounted an angelic visitation from John the Baptist, who delivered “the keys of the gospel of repentance” to himself and JS. (Oliver Cowdery, Norton, OH, to William W. Phelps, 7 Sept. 1834, in Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1834, 1:15; see also JS History, vol. A-1, 17.)
Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.