Travel Account and Questions, November 1837
- Source Note
In late September 1837, JS and several other leaders traveled to , Missouri, to reorganize church leadership and to establish “places of for the Saints.” After returning to on 10 December, JS published an account of his travels from , through , and to , as well as a summary of various meetings held in Far West, in the church’s recently inaugurated periodical, Elders’ Journal. In addition, JS included a list of twenty questions concerning his history and the church’s beliefs and practices. The questions and travel account were published in the November issue of the Elders’ Journal, which was likely printed shortly after JS’s return to Kirtland.JS, , , and set out for on 27 September 1837. Traveling southwest from to , Ohio, the men proceeded west along the National Road through central and before arriving at , Indiana, on 12 October; the party later proceeded west through and Carrollton, Missouri, reaching sometime before 6 November. Shortly after his arrival in Far West, JS participated in a series of meetings at which those assembled sustained—or in the case of , did not sustain—church leaders and discussed the gathering of church members to that place. At the meetings, it was determined that there were sufficient resources in the area to support additional members of the church, and they appointed , , , and to find locations for other of in the surrounding region. In the article featured here, JS encouraged church members to “make all possible exertions to gather themselves together” in Missouri; he also informed readers that he and other church leaders would be relocating their families there “as soon as our circumstances will admit.”In addition to summarizing his journey to and the administrative decisions made there, JS enumerated a series of questions that he said were “daily and hourly asked by all classes of people whilst we are traveling.” Though the specific circumstances that prompted such questions are unclear, many of the queries were related to longstanding misconceptions about church doctrine and JS’s past. Avowedly anti-Mormon publications had long influenced how the public viewed JS and the church. ’s Mormonism Unvailed, which had been published three years prior in , Ohio, had shaped some of the public discourse surrounding JS and the church. Although JS stated his intention to answer the questions in the next issue of the Elders’ Journal, JS’s departure from and the seizure and burning of the in January 1838 delayed the publication of these answers until the paper resumed printing in Far West, Missouri, in July 1838.
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