on behalf of the First Presidency (including JS), Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to “the Saints Scattered Abroad,” Sept. 1840. Featured version published in “To the Saints Scattered Abroad,” Times and Seasons, Oct. 1840, 177–179. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
The October 1840 issue of the Times and Seasons—the newspaper published in , Illinois—printed a letter dated September 1840 from the addressed to the “Saints Scattered Abroad.” Church leaders periodically communicated with the Latter-day Saints in outlying through published open letters such as this one, encouraging members to move forward in “the work of the Lord” and providing news and general instruction. In this letter, the First Presidency discussed the building of a at Nauvoo, announced efforts to publish new editions of Latter-day Saint scripture and a hymnal, and recommended that church members gather to , Illinois, if they were able to do so.
The published letter identified as the scribe and stated that the letter was written “by order of the first Presidency.” The primary author, however, is unclear. No manuscript version of the letter appears to be extant.
the worship of our God; where the can be attended to agreably to his divine will, in this region of country; to accomplish which, considerable exertion must be made, means will be required; and as the work must be hastened in righteousness, it behooves the , to weigh the importance of these things, in their minds, in all their bearings, and then take such steps as are necessary to carry them into operation; and arm themselves with courage, resolve to do all they can, and feel themselves as much interested, as though the whole labor depended on themselves alone; by so doing they will emulate the glorious deeds of the Fathers, and secure the blessing of heaven upon themselves and their posteri[t]y to the latest generation.
To those who feel thus interested, and can assist in this great work, we say let them come to this place, by so doing they will not only assist in the rolling of the kingdom, but be in a situation where they can have the advantages of instruction from the and other authorities of the church, and rise higher and higher in the scale of intel[li]gence, until they “can comprehend with all Saints the length and breadth and debth and height, and know the love of God which passeth knowledge.”
Connected with the building up of the kingdom, is the printing and circulation of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Hymn book and the new translation of Scriptures, It is unnecessary to say any thing respecting these works; those who have read them, and who have drank of the stream of knowledge, which they convey, know how to appreciate them, and although fools may have them in derision, yet they are calculated to make men wise unto salvation, and sweep away the cobwebs of superstition of ages, throw a light on the proceedings of Jehovah which have already been accomplished and mark out the future in all its dreadful and glorious realities; those who have tasted the benefit derived from a study of those works, will undoubtedly vie with each other in their zeal for sending them abroad throughout the world, that every son of Adam may enjoy the same privileges and rejoice in the same truths.
Here then, beloved brethren is a work to engage in worthy of arch-angels; a work which will cast into the shade the things which have heretofore been accomplished; a work which kings and prophets and righteous men, in former ages have sought, expected, and earnestly desired to see, but died without the sight: and well, will it be for those who shall aid in carrying into effect the mighty operations of Jehovah.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
The Return. Davis City, IA, 1889–1891; Richmond, MO, 1892–1893; Davis City, 1895–1896; Denver, 1898; Independence, MO, 1899–1900.
Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.
Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 3 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997–2012.