Letter to Orson Hyde and John E. Page, 14 May 1840
JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to [ and , , Hamilton Co., OH], 14 May 1840. Featured version copied [ca. 14 May 1840] in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 146–147; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
On 14 May 1840, JS wrote from , Illinois, to and , who were preaching in . The letter responded to one Hyde and Page wrote from , Ohio, two weeks earlier. Hyde and Page had been appointed at a the previous month to serve a mission to the Jews in , Europe, western Asia, and the Holy Land and were proselytizing as they circuitously made their way east.
In their 1 May letter to JS, and asked whether they were authorized to publish new editions and foreign language translations of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and a hymnal. They also proposed to write and publish a new volume in that would provide a “history of the coming forth” of the Book of Mormon, summarize its contents, and discuss Mormon theology and the church’s organization. In his response, featured here, JS addressed each of their questions and approved their proposed publication and any other publications they saw fit to write. He also granted them permission to publish translations and new editions of any existing church books except the hymnal, stating that a new hymnal would soon be printed in . JS additionally outlined the leadership responsibilities of and —specifically addressing the question of who was authorized to regulate of the church—and expressed his pleasure in how Hyde and Page were pursuing their mission assignment.
The original letter has not been located. copied the letter into JS Letterbook 2 sometime in 1840, likely around the time of composition.
I am happy in being informed by your letter that your mission swells “larger and larger”; it is a great and important mission, and one that is worthy of those inteligences who surround the throne of Jehovah to be ingaged in; Altho it appears great at present, yet you have but just begun to realize the greatness, the extent and glory of the same. If there is any thing calculated to interest the mind of the , to awaken in them the finest sensibilities; and arouse them to enterprise, and exertion, surely it is the great and precious promises, made by our heavenly Father to the children of Abraham; and those engaged in seeking the outcasts of Israel, and the dispersed of Judah, cannot fail to enjoy the Spirit of the Lord, and have the choisests blessings of Heaven rest upon them in copious effusions, Bretheren you are in the path way to Eternal Fame! and immortal Glory; and inasmuch as you feel interested for the covenant people of the Lord, the God of their Father shall bless you. Do not be discouraged on accou[n]t of the greatness of the work; only be humble, and faithful, and then you can say, “what art thou, O, great mountain, “before Zerubbable shalt thou be brought down” He who scattered Israel has promised to them; therefore, inasmuch as you are to be instrumental in this great work, he will you with power, wisdom, might, and inteligence; and every qualification necessary; while your minds will expand wider and wider, untill you can circumscribe the Earth, & the Heavens, and reach forth into eternity; contemplate the mighty acts of Jehovah, in all their variety & glory
In answer to your inquiries, respecting the translation and publication, of the Book of Mormon, Hymn Book, History of the church, &c, &c; I would say, that I entirely approve of the same; and give my consent, with the exception of the Hymn Book, as a new edition, containing a greater variety of Hymns, will be shortly published or printed in this place; which, I think will be a standard work
As soon as it is printed, you shall have some [p. 146]
An 1833 revelation described the eternal nature of “inteligences,” teaching that “man was also in the begining with God, inteligence or the Light of truth was not created or made neith[er] indeed can be.” (Revelation, 6 May 1833 [D&C 93:29].)
In September 1839, Brigham Young, JS, and others selected hymns for a new hymnal before members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles departed for England, where Young presumably planned to publish a collection of hymns. At a 27 October 1839 meeting, however, the Nauvoohigh council decided that Emma Smith should select and compile the new hymnal and that Young should be informed he was not to compile a hymnal using the hymns he had taken with him. Possibly unaware of this instruction, a 15 April 1840 general conference of the church in Preston, England, appointed the Twelve to publish a hymnal, which was printed in Manchester, England, later in the same year. The hymnal that was printed in Nauvoo in 1841 contained seventy-eight hymns from the British edition. (Kimball, “History,” 111; Minutes, 27 Oct. 1839; “From England,” Times and Seasons, June 1840, 1:119–121; Letter from Brigham Young, 29 Apr. 1840; Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:154–155; A Collection of Sacred Hymns, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Europe [Manchester, England: W. R. Thomas, 1840]; A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [Nauvoo, IL: E. Robinson, 1841].)
Kimball, Heber C. “History of Heber Chase Kimball by His Own Dictation,” ca. 1842–1856. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box 2.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 3 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997–2012.
A Collection of Sacred Hymns, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Europe. Manchester, England: W. R. Thomas, 1840.
A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Edited by Emma Smith. Nauvoo, IL: E. Robinson, 1841.