, Letter, , Lancashire, England, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 4 Dec. 1841; handwriting of ; four pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, dockets, and notation.
Bifolium measuring 8⅞ × 7¼ inches (23 × 18 cm). All four pages are inscribed, although space was left in the middle of the fourth page for addressing. The bifolium was trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, and sealed with two small red adhesive wafers. The second leaf was torn when the letter was opened, and the recto of the first leaf and verso of the second leaf contain wafer residue. The document was later refolded for filing.
The document was docketed by , who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844 and as recorder from 1842 to 1846. Another docket was inscribed by , who served as a clerk in the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department) from 1853 to 1859. The notation “copied by A.J.” was apparently added by a clerk or secretary for Andrew Jenson, who served as assistant church historian from 1897 to 1941. The document was listed in an inventory that was produced by the Church Historian’s Office circa 1904. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early dockets and notation as well as its inclusion in the circa 1904 inventory and in the JS Collection by 1973 indicate continuous institutional custody.
JS, Journal, 29 June 1842; “Clayton, William,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:718; Clayton, History of the Nauvoo Temple, 18, 30–31.
Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 4 vols. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Co., 1901–1936.
Clayton, William. History of the Nauvoo Temple, ca. 1845. CHL. MS 3365.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 4 December 1841 wrote JS from , England, seeking counsel and updating JS on the progress and struggles of the in . Pratt had been in England fulfilling a mission with other members of the intermittently since 6 April 1840. By summer 1841 his fellow apostles had departed England, with heading for the Netherlands and , , , , , , and sailing to the . Parley Pratt remained in England to supervise the mission work and other aspects of the church there, including its publishing efforts.
also assisted with the emigration of British Saints to the . In a letter to the apostles dated 15 December 1840, JS encouraged wealthy converts to come to , Illinois, ahead of the poor Saints so that the wealthy could establish businesses and factories to employ the poor who would follow. The apostles promoted this plan in a proclamation they issued in April 1841, warning that wealthy converts should not “expend all their means in helping others to emigrate, and thus all arrive in a new country empty handed.” By December 1841 Pratt had decided that JS’s plan was not feasible because of ’s widespread poverty and the generally destitute condition of the church’s members there. In his 4 December 1841 letter, featured here, Pratt informed JS that the Saints in England could not follow his plan but that, in alignment with the apostles’ proclamation, he could increase the flow of emigration “by humbling the rich and exalting the poor”—that is, by pooling the limited funds of the Saints in England.
Funding the British Saints’ emigration was not the only financial issue facing the church. A 15 January 1841 proclamation and a 19 January 1841 revelation urged the faithful to contribute financially and through other means to the construction of a in . The July 1841 issue of the church periodical Times and Seasons suggested that “if the saints abroad, with their wealth,” would contribute as much as the impoverished Saints in Nauvoo did, a year would not pass before the temple was completed. In response, on 24 October 1841 wrote a letter assuring JS of the British Saints’ desire to support the temple. Pratt explained that he had arranged for approximately $60 donated by church members to be sent to the , and he pledged with , a church member in , to send $1,000 over the course of the year. In the 4 December letter, Pratt referred to the British Saints’ continued poverty but assured JS that he and Fielding would continue to send money when able. Pratt also asked six questions—on topics such as emigration, missionary work outside of England, and the redemption of —and requested that JS answer them swiftly.
The lack of postal markings suggests that this letter was hand delivered rather than mailed. JS apparently received the letter in . JS responded to on 12 June 1842 but did not answer Pratt’s questions.
Letter from Heber C. Kimball, 9 July 1840. With his mission in England extended and having learned that his family was ill, in mid-1840 Pratt sailed to New York and escorted his wife, children, and sister-in-law across the Atlantic to be with him during the remainder of his mission. (Pratt, Autobiography, 342–343; Woodruff, Journal, 7 July 1840.)
Pratt, Parley P. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Embracing His Life, Ministry and Travels, with Extracts, in Prose and Verse, from His Miscellaneous Writings. Edited by Parley P. Pratt Jr. New York: Russell Brothers, 1874.
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
advise, for I get no letters from either from you or any one else, except one of late from . do not fail to write this once as I have never Recd. a letter from you since I have been in this Land.
And now I would ask advise on several points.
first, I would wish to come home in the spring and stay till, the is done, if it is wisdom.
Secondly, have you any advise to give us to any ferther provision for the care and government of the in this in my Absence, and in the abscence of the Residue of the ?
thirdly, any Advise or instructions in Regard to gathering of the Saints from this ?
fourthly, any instructions as to the spread of the message to other Nations?
fifthly, When Will The “purchased possesion” be Redeemed and the and city commence in , Mo.
sixthly. When Will the ungodly, lying, begin to loose their Power and cease to Rule; and We who have now spent half of our lives for them be privaledged to turn from the Gentiles and go in full power to the Remnants of joseph and Israel?
Now Dear Br, If you will answer this Letter the same night you get it and answer these six questions, and impart such other Advise or instruction as God may give you it will be a great Blessing to me.—
as to news, the Lord is Still working in power and signs in this . Many of the sick are healed, many have visions, some in Dreams, and some in Open day. the ministering of Angels is frequently enjoyed, and in short all the gifts of God are frequently manifested, as far as they have been generally attended to attained to, in this age. [p. ]
An 8 July 1838 revelation commanded the apostles “to go over the great waters and there promulge my gospel.” By the time Pratt wrote this letter, the church had already arranged for missionaries to be sent to Scotland, Ireland, the East Indies, Australia, and Germany. (Revelation, 8 July 1838–A [D&C 118:4]; Letter from Heber C. Kimball, 9 July 1840; James Howard, Hamburg, Germany, to Mary Howard, Bolton, England, 13 Sept. 1840, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.)
Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.
A 20 July 1831 revelation designated Independence in Jackson County, Missouri, as the center place of Zion and identified the location for a future temple. The Saints were expelled from Jackson County before construction of the temple began. (Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:3]; “From Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 124–126.)
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.
The terms “Remnants of joseph” and “Israel,” referring to American Indians, originated with the Book of Mormon. The book also prophesies of a time of the “fullness of the Gentiles,” after which there would be a restoration of the house of Israel. (See Book of Mormon, 1840 ed., 32, 37, 343, 473 [1 Nephi 13:34; 15:13; Alma 46:23–24; 3 Nephi 16:4].)