Proclamation, between 19 January and 27 August 1841
JS, Proclamation, , Hancock Co., IL, between 19 Jan. and 27 Aug. 1841; handwriting of ; two pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes docket and notation.
Bifolium measuring 11⅜ × 7½ inches (29 × 19 cm). Each page is ruled with thirty-five lines, which are now faded. The document was later folded for filing and docketed. On the top, right side of the first page, “1842” appears in type.
The document was docketed by , who served as JS’s scribe from 1843 to 1844 and as clerk to the church historian and recorder from 1845 to 1865. By 1973 this document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The proclamation’s dockets and inclusion in the JS Collection indicate continuous institutional custody.
A Historian’s Office inventory includes the following under the entry for 1842: “A religious proclamation by the Prophet.” That entry likely refers to this document. (“Letters to and from the Prophet,” ca. 1904, , Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.)
Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL. CR 100 130.
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
Sometime between 19 January and 27 August 1841, JS dictated a religious proclamation inviting government leaders throughout the earth to gather with the and “become the elite of the kingdom” of God. JS produced the proclamation with his scribe in accordance with a 19 January 1841 revelation, which commanded JS to “make a solemn proclamation of my gospel . . . written in the spirit of meekness and by the power of the holy ghost” so that the authorities in all the world would know God’s will, “even what shall befall them in a time to come.” The revelation also directed JS to warn the world’s people and authorities of the second coming and judgment of Jesus Christ so “that they may be left also without excuse . . . when I shall unveil the face of my covering, to appoint the portion of the oppressor, among hypocrites, where there is gnashing of teeth; if they reject my servants, and my testimony, which I have revealed unto them.”
The revelation instructed JS to have help him write the proclamation, and the proclamation featured here is indeed in Thompson’s handwriting. Though the proclamation was not dated, it would have been created after 19 January, when JS dictated the revelation that called for the proclamation to be written, and before 27 August 1841, when Thompson died. No other textual clues in the document suggest a more specific date.
The proclamation was apparently not published or distributed, despite the 19 January revelation’s injunction that JS do so immediately. There is no extant evidence that the proclamation was ever completed. At the end of 1841, JS evidently spoke to about the proclamation, though no evidence suggests any effort was made to publish it in JS’s lifetime.
In April 1845, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles published a sixteen-page proclamation that was far more expansive and wide-ranging than JS’s 1841 proclamation. (Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints [New York: Prophet Office, 1845].)
[Pratt, Parley P.] Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-Day Saints. New York: Samuel Brannan and Parley P. Pratt, 1845.
A Religious Proclamation
From Joseph Smith, of the , and Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the Most High God, to the President of the of North America— the Governors of the several States— the Emperors, Kings, and Princes of the earth— the Executives of all nations— the Chiefs of all tribes— and all occupying high places in the administration of governments.
“Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing-fathers, and their queens thy nursing-mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet: and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.”
(Isaiah— LX, LXI, LXII.)
Now in obedience to a revelation given January 19th, [A]D. 1841, I proceed to call upon you to yield yourselves as obedient subjects to the requisitions of heaven, in fulfilling the contributing to the fulfilment of the predictions of the prophets—to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of and abandon your sins, be for the remission of your sins, receive to for the , and, in fine, to embrace the gospel in its beauty & fulness. “And now, why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptised, and wash away thy sins, calling on th[e] name of the Lord.” This is more honorable than the diadems of kings. [p. 1]
At the church’s organization, JS dictated a revelation stating that he would be recognized in the church record as “a seer & Translater & Prop[h]et an Apostle of Jesus Christ an Elder of the Church through the will of God the Father.” This authority was reiterated in the 19 January 1841 revelation that mandated the creation of a proclamation: “I give unto you my servant Joseph to be a presiding Elder over all my Church, to be a Translater, a Revelator, a Seer, and Prophet.” (Revelation, 6 Apr. 1830 [D&C 21:1]; Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:125].)
Martin Van Buren served as president of the United States from 4 March 1837 to 4 March 1841. William Henry Harrison served from 4 March 1841 to 4 April 1841, and John Tyler served from 4 April 1841 to 4 March 1845. Given the uncertain date of creation for this document, it could have been addressed to any one of these three presidents.