Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, 6 August 1833
, , and JS, Letter, , Geauga Co., OH, to and others, , Jackson Co., MO, 6 Aug. 1833; sent copy; handwriting of ; signatures of , , and JS; four pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal markings, and docket.
Bifolium measuring 11⅛ × 9 inches (28 × 23 cm). The document was trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, and sealed with a red adhesive wafer. The letter was later refolded for filing. A docket in the handwriting of reads: “Letter from S. R. | F. G. W. & J. S— | Aug. 1833”. At some point, probably in the twentieth century, “sec 97”, “sec 94”, and “sec 98” were written with a felt-tip pen in purple ink; the first number precedes the first revelation in the letter, the second precedes the second revelation, and the third precedes the third revelation. The numbers correspond to the section numbers of these revelations in Latter-day Saint editions of the Doctrine and Covenants published in 1876 and thereafter. The document has mold staining and has undergone conservation.
This letter, along with other papers belonging to , was in the Partridge family’s possession until at least the mid-1880s, sometime after which it came into the possession of the Church Historian’s Office.
See Whitney, “Aaronic Priesthood,” 5–6; Partridge, Genealogical Record, 1; and the full bibliographic entry for the Edward Partridge Papers in the CHL catalog.
Whitney, Orson F. “The Aaronic Priesthood.” Contributor, Apr. 1885, 241–250.
Partridge, Edward, Jr. Genealogical Record. 1878. CHL. MS 1271.
Just before the outbreak of violent confrontations between members of the and other residents in late July 1833, church leaders sent two letters to , Ohio—one from the in Jackson County and one from . The content of those letters, including what they asked of JS and Kirtland leaders, is largely unknown, but they prompted the to write this lengthy epistle, which contains the texts of three revelations along with other brief comments and instructions. JS dictated two of the revelations on 2 August and the third on 6 August 1833. The three revelations were copied into and constitute most of this original letter. Because other contemporaneous versions of each of these three revelations are transcribed earlier in this volume as individual documents with accompanying historical annotation, only the lines in this letter that are not part of a revelation are annotated.
In their letter, members of the school of the prophets in apparently requested that the presidency seek divine revelation regarding their school. The presidency complied and then included in this letter a copy of the resulting revelation, which states, “I the Lord am well pleased that there should be a school in .” Likely one or both of the other two revelations inscribed herein responded to issues raised in ’s letter. Cowdery was involved with the church’s printing operation in Missouri as an assistant to editor at this time, and in his letter he may have asked the presidency about their plans for the . One of the revelations copied in this letter called for the construction of two additional church buildings in : an administrative “house” for the presidency and a “house” for printing. Cowdery may also have reported on the growing opposition that church members in faced and asked for advice on how to respond to the conflict. The final revelation copied herein provided guidance on how to respond to aggression from enemies and reminded church members to “proclaim peace” and obey the “law of the Land,” though it also described conditions in which violence was justifiable.
The presidency of the high priesthood offered little commentary on these revelations. They did, however, emphasize the obligation of church members in to carry out the same construction program in that the members were required to undertake, including erecting an administrative building for church leadership and a print shop. The presidency also announced their intention to simultaneously issue an edition of the , which would have included JS’s recently completed revision of the Bible, in both Ohio and Missouri. The presidency of the high priesthood sent this letter to on 7 August. At this time, the presidency was not aware that violence had already broken out in Jackson County or that church leaders in Missouri, including , had already acceded to demands to vacate the county by the beginning of 1834. The implementation of construction and printing plans was postponed indefinitely because of the difficulties leaders and members of the Church of Christ encountered in summer 1833. By the time Partridge received this letter, around the beginning of September, only the third revelation therein was immediately applicable to the Saints in Missouri.
See also Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–A [D&C 97:3]. The revelation also indicated that Parley P. Pratt should continue to preside over the school and that the Missouri congregation should construct an edifice for ministerial instruction and “for the salvation of Zion.”
Having received letter of July 9th as well as one from the breatheren composing the we now answer them both in one letter as relates to the school in according to your request we inquired of the Lord and send in this letter the communication which we received from the Lord concerning the school in Zion It was obtained August 2nd and reads thus
The word of the Lord unto Joseph and Verily I say unto my friends I speak unto you with my voice, even the voice of my spirit, that I may shew unto you my will concerning your breatheren in the land of , many of <whom> are truely humble, and are seeking dillegently to learn wisdom, and to find truth. Verily Verily I say unto you blessed are all such for they shall obtain; for I the Lord sheweth mercy unto all the meek, and upon all whomsoever I will, that I may be justified when I shall bring them into judgement.
Behold I say unto you concerning the in , I the Lord am well pleased that there should be a school in , and also with my servent , for he abideth in me. and inasmuch as he continue to abide <in> me, he shall continue to preside over the school in the land of , and I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings in expounding all Schriptures, and myterios and mysteries, to the edifecation of school and of the in . And to the residue of the school I the Lord am willing to shew mercy nevertheless there are those that must needs repent be chastened, and their works shall be made known, the axe is laid at the roots of the trees, and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire, I the Lord have spoken it ◊◊
I the Lord have spoken it: Verily Verily I say unto you; all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenent by sacrafice, yea, every sacrafice which I the Lord shall them, are all accepted of me; for I the Lord will cause them to bring forth as a very fruitfull tree, which is planted in a goodly land by a pure stream that yealdeth much precious fruit.
Verily I say unto you that it is my will that an should be built unto me in the land of like unto the pattern which I have given you. (which pattern we have sent to Zion in a former former package) yea, let it be built speedily by the of my people, behold this is the tithing, and the sacrafice which I the Lord require at their hand, that there may be a house built unto me for the salvation of Zion, and for a place of thanksgiving for all saints, and for a place of instruction for all those who are called to the ministry work of the ministry, in all their several offices callings and offices, that they may be perfected in the understanding of their ministry, in theory, and in principle, and in doctrine, in all things pertaining to [the] kingdom of God on the earth. (the keys of which kingdom have been given to you) confered upon you) And inasmuch as my people build an unto me in the name of the Lord and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it [p. ]
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.