JS, , , , , , , , and , Prayer, [, Geauga Co., OH], 23 Oct. 1835. Featured version copied [between 27 and 28 Nov. 1835] in JS, Journal, 1835–1836, pp. 50–51; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS, Journal, 1835–1836.
On 23 October 1835, the general church presidency and the presidency gathered in , Ohio, and offered this prayer for deliverance from the difficulties associated with financial debt, as well as for the redemption of , protection from mobs, and the means to purchase land in Missouri on which church members could settle. Also in attendance was JS’s brother , likely substituting for , an assistant church president, who was recovering from illness.
Church leaders were saddled with debts they had incurred on behalf of the church since at least early 1833. At the date of this prayer, still owed money for the purchase of land, including the (the land purchased in Kirtland for the ), and for goods purchased on credit to stock his . Efforts to raise funds to pay these debts, to publish the Doctrine and Covenants, and to construct the temple did not relieve the financial difficulties. In a June 1835 letter to his wife, , commented that church leaders in Kirtland “are considerably in debt, and are poor.”
Aside from finances, another concern weighed on church leaders at this time: the fate of Zion in , Missouri. In fall 1835, JS and other church leaders renewed discussions regarding the gathering to and redemption of Zion, likely in preparation for restoring the Saints to their lands in 1836. Accordingly, concern for the fate of the church in takes a prominent place in the 23 October prayer.
The prayer was copied onto pages 50–51 of JS’s 1835–1836 journal. The page has the residue of two red wafers that apparently held a loose sheet with the original draft of the prayer. Warren Parrish presumably attached the sheet to the page as he recorded the prayer into the journal on 27 November 1835.
Copy of a prayer offered up. on the 23d day of Oct 1835, by the following individuals, at 4 oclock P.M. viz. Joseph Smith jn, ; , , , , , and , assembled and united in prayer, with one voice before the Lord, for the following blessings:
That the Lord will give us means sufficient to deliver us from all our afflictions and difficulties, wherein we are placed by means of our debts; that he will open the way and deliver in the app [p. 50]