Letter to Parley P. Pratt and Others, 12 June 1842
and JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to and others, , Lancashire, England, 12 June 1842; handwriting of ; four pages; CHL. Includes address.Bifolium measuring 12¼ × 7½ inches (31 × 19 cm). The document was trifolded twice in letter style and sealed with red wax. Remnants of the wafer are visible on the last page of the letter. There is extensive tearing along the folds, and the document has undergone conservation.The provenance of this document is unknown. The letter bears no dockets or notations and does not appear to have been part of the early Historian’s Office holdings. Around 1912, Joseph F. Smith presented a photomechanical copy of part of the letter’s first postscript on page four to his son Hyrum M. Smith, and other copies were in the possession of the extended Smith family. During the late twentieth century, the letter was evidently among some uncataloged JS documents in the Church Historical Department. The document was cataloged in 2003.
On 12 June 1842, , acting on behalf of JS, wrote a letter in , Illinois, to and the other Latter-day Saints in . While most of the had completed their missions and returned to the by the summer of 1841, Pratt had remained in England. As the senior leader there, he oversaw the church’s proselytizing, publication, and emigration efforts. However, by December 1841 Pratt had wanted to return to Nauvoo and wrote to JS for advice regarding his “wish to come home in the spring and stay till, the is done.”This June 1842 letter appears to be a belated reply to ’s letter, and it primarily addressed a question Pratt had asked about the of the British Saints to . In the letter, advised the Saints in against separating from their spouses over differences in religious belief. He further counseled Latter-day Saint fathers to remain in England with their families until they could afford passage for their entire family, rather than traveling to the alone with the intent to send for their families after they earned enough money. Hyrum repeatedly referenced the immoral and unchristian behavior that sometimes resulted when British Saints left their spouses behind to emigrate, and he maintained that some Saints who had left their spouses in England had committed adultery by taking a new spouse in Nauvoo. These moral admonitions may also have stemmed from the recent seductions perpetrated by and other men in Nauvoo.further cautioned the British Saints that was not as prosperous as they may have been led to believe. Many English Saints had apparently immigrated to Nauvoo with hopes of prosperity and financial assistance from the church, only to have those hopes dashed. It was likely this disappointment that led Hyrum to warn the Saints still in about Nauvoo’s struggling economy and the church’s inability to financially support everyone who wished to immigrate. He specifically emphasized that fathers immigrating to Nauvoo would not be able to earn the money necessary for their family’s passage to .The version of the letter featured here is the copy that was sent to . It appears to be a copy made of ’s original draft. The letter includes three postscripts, which may have been added after Clayton copied the letter. The first postscript identified the families of three British immigrants who were working on the ; in exchange for their labor, the church had agreed to help the families immigrate to Nauvoo. Clayton signed both JS’s and Hyrum Smith’s names to this postscript, suggesting that JS was involved in the request. The second postscript was appended to the first and specified that the aforementioned families should be sent to Nauvoo by fall 1842. The final postscript addressed concerns Pratt had raised in his December 1841 letter to JS and offered Pratt reassurance. The last two postscripts include Hyrum’s and JS’s initials., who was expected to depart soon from , was appointed to carry the letter to ; as a result, the letter bears no postal markings. Fielding arrived in by September 1842. An extract of this letter was published in the November 1842 issue of the British periodical Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star.