JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to , Macoupin Co., IL, 24 Feb. 1842. Featured version copied [ca. 24 Feb. 1842] in JS Letterbook 2, p. 227; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
On 24 February 1842 JS responded to a 24 January letter from , a member living in Macoupin County, Illinois, about his . Tithing donations to the church during the early 1840s were attached to the construction of the in . In a 13 December 1841 open letter, the defined tithing as “one tenth of all any one possessed at the commencement of the building [of the temple], and one tenth part of all his increase from that time till the completion of the same.” Under law JS, as the duly elected trustee-in-trust for the church, was responsible for any property the church owned or received. Beginning in December 1841 JS had his scribe , in his capacity as recorder for the temple, keep a record of all donations made to the church or the temple in a large volume titled “The Book of the Law of the Lord.”
In their open letter, the Twelve described the process by which donations were to be made thereafter—that all tithing must be sent directly to JS as trustee and recorded in the Book of the Law of the Lord. The Twelve also instructed those who had received receipts from the temple building committee for earlier donations to send those receipts to the recorder’s office. It may have been in response to this instruction that wrote to JS on 24 January 1842. Boosinger had loaned at least $935 to JS, , , and in May 1836. JS and other church leaders still owed Boosinger at least a portion of this debt in 1842. In his January 1842 letter, Boosinger apparently requested that $150 of this debt be credited to his tithing. He apparently also suggested that another $155 be paid to Boosinger by five people—Joel Ricks, James Olive, William Steele, Moses Bailey, and Matilda Bailey—whose tithing would, in turn, be credited with the amount they had individually paid to Boosinger. In short, $305 of the debt to Boosinger would be considered paid, in exchange for an equal amount of money being credited on tithing to Boosinger and the others. JS explained to Boosinger in his 24 February response that receipts were not issued for donations received but that tithing credit for Boosinger and the others would be recorded in the Book of the Law of the Lord, provided that Boosinger send a schedule listing the payers and amounts paid. Boosinger replied to JS on 9 April, providing the requested information. On 16 May, inscribed an entry in the Book of the Law of the Lord noting the receipt of Boosinger’s letter with the names of six church members—including Boosinger—and donation amounts totaling $305.
JS’s original letter to is not extant. inscribed the original and copied it into JS Letterbook 2 around the time it was sent. The copy is featured here.
Richards’s entry, recorded on page 121 of the Book of the Law of the Lord, credited $75 to Joel Ricks, $50 to James Olive, $20 to William Steele, $7 to Moses Bailey, $3 to Matilda Bailey, and $150 to George Boosinger.
Copy of a Letter to , Magoupin [Macoupin] Co Illinois
Feby 24th. 1842
Yours of the 24th. ult is received in relation to certain of your neighbourhood being transferred to your account which you hold against the to the amount of $305.00 including $150, of your own.—
There are no receipts issued, for property received on tithing; but an entry is made in the Book of the Law of the Lord.— & parties living at a distance notified of the same.—
If the parties named will pay you the sums specified in your Letter and you will endorse the same, IE $305.00 on the obligation you hold against the church and give me notice accordingly, with a Schedule of individuals names & payments, the same shall be entered to their credit.— on tithing