Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

July 29th 1833
Dear Brethren
With respect I address a few lines to you in this time of confusion among us, although the enemy has accomplished his design of in demolishing the they cannot demolist [demolish] the design of our God, for his decrees will stand & his purposes must be accomplished notwithstanding the great rage of Satan, which we can behold in his followers, for it is visible to the natural eye, but enough on this subject, for you will be able to tell more than I can write.
Marvellous to tell in the midst of all the rage of all the rage of persecution God is pouring out his Spirit upon his people so that most all on last thursday at the school received the gift of tongues & spake & prophesied; The next day called his together and most of them received the gift of tongues many old things are coming to light that had it not been for this gift would have remained in the dark & brought the wrath of God, upon the inhabitants of . There are but very few that have denied the faith in consequence of this transaction, but my daily prayer is that the Lord will cleanse Zion of all the remaining wickedness that is on this Holy Land, for is their cup not already full. I greatly fear for some of they who call themselves disciples; but they are in the hands of a merciful God & he will do them no injustice. The Mail brings intelligence from Lexington which says that there have been two deaths of the Asiatic Cholera & are ten or fifteen cases
We suppose that there was one or two cases last week in this Neighborhood but none in town. Our daily cry to God is deliver thy people from the hand of our enemies send thy destroying angels, O God in the behalf of thy people that Zion may be built up according to the plan of our Lord through his servants to us, received this mail.
According to your request we give you the copy of the article of our enemies and also the bond or Covenant which we have signed.
“We the undersigned citizens of believing that an important crisis is at hand as regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious sect of people that have settled, and are still settling in our County, styling themselves Mormons and intending as we do to rid our society “peacably if we can, forcibly if we must,” and believing as we do that the arm of the civil law does not afford us a guarantee or at least a sufficient one against the evils which are now inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing by the said religious sect, deem it expedient & of the highest importance to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose, a purpose which we [p. 52]
deem it almost superfluous to say is justified as well by the laws of nature as by the law of self preservation. It is more than two years since the first of these fanatics or knaves; for one or the other they u[n]doubtedly are, made their first appearance amongst us and pretending as they did and now do— to hold personal communion and converse, face to face with the most high God, to receive communications and revelations direct from heaven, to heal the sick by the , & in short to perform all the wonderworking miracles wrought by the inspired apostles & prophets of old. We believed them to be deluded fanatics or weak and designing knaves and that they & their pretensions would soon pass away, but in this we were decieved.
The acts of a few designing leaders amongst them have thus far succeeded in holding them together as a society and since the arrival of the first of them they have been daily increasing in numbers & if they had been respectable citizens in society & thus deluded, they would have been entitled to our pity rather than to our contempt & hatred, but from their appearance, from their manners and their conduct since their coming among us, we have every reason to believe fear that with very few exceptions, they were of the very dregs of <​that​> society from which they came, lazy, Idle & vicious, This we concieve is not idle assertion, but a fact susceptible of proof, for with these few exceptions above named, they brought into our country county, little or no property with them, & left less behind them, and we infer that those only yoked themselves to the Mormon Car who had nothing earthly or heavenly to loose by the change, and we fear that if some of the leaders amongst them had paid the forfeit due to crime, instead of being chosen embassadors of the most high, they would have been inmates of solitary cells. But their conduct here stamps their characters in their true colours. More than a year since, it was ascertained that they had been tampering with our slaves and endeavoring to sow dissensions & raise seditions among them. Of this the Mormon Leaders were informed & they said they would deal with any of their members who should again in like case offend, but how specious are appearances? In a late Star published at , by the leaders of the sect, there is an article inviting free Negroes & Mulattoes from other States to become Mormons and remove and settle among us. This exhibits them in still more odious colors. It manifests a desire on the part of their society to inflict on our society an injury that they know not would be to us entirely unsupportable and one of the surest means of driving us from the for it would require none of the supernatural gifts that they pretend to, to see that the introduction of such a cast amongst us would corrupt our blacks & instigate them to bloodshed.—— They openly blaspheme the Most High God, and cast contempt on his holy religion by pretending to receive revelations direct from Heaven, by pretending to speak unknown tongues; by direct inspiration, and by divers pretences derogatory of God and religion, and to the utter subversion [p. 53]
of human reason: They declare openly that <​their​> God has given them this of land, and that sooner or later they must and will have the possession of our lands for an inheritance, and in fine they have conducted themselves on many other occasions in such a manner, that we believe it a duty we owe ourselves to our wives and Children, to the cause of public morals, to remove them from among us, as we are not prepared to give up pleasant places, and goodly possessions to them, or to receive into the bosoms of our families, as fit companions for our wives and daughters the degraded free negroes and Mulatoes that are now invited to settle among us.
Under such a state of things even our beautiful Country would cease to be a desirable residence, and our situation intolerable! We therefore agree that after timely warning, and after receiving an adequate compensation for what little property they cannot take with them, they refuse to leave us in peace as they found us; we agree to use such means as may be sufficient to remove them, and to that end we each pledge our to each other our bodily powers, our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.
We will meet at the of the Town of on Saturday next 20th Inst to consult of ulterior movements.”
There are about 300 signers to this instrument.
We leave the result <​event​> with God
Memorandum of the agreement between the undersigned of the Mormon Society in , Missouri, and Committee appointed by a public meeting of the Citizens of Said County; made the 23rd day of July 1833
It is understood that the undersigned <​members​> of the said society do give their solemn pledge, each for himself as follows, to wit that , , , , , & & shall remove with their families out of this on or before the 1st day of January next, and that they as well as the two herein after named use all their influence to induce all their brethren now here to move as soon as possible, one half say by the first day of January next and all by the first day of April next & to advise, and to try all means in their power to stop any more of their sect from moving to this , and to those now on the road & who have no notice of this agreement they will use their influence to prevent their settling <​permanently​> in this , but that they shall only make arrangement for temporary shelter, till a new location is fixed on by the Society. & are allowed to remain [p. 54]
as general agents to wind up the business of the society so long as necessity shall require, and said may sell out his goods now on hand, but is to make no new importations. The Star is not again to be published nor a press set up by any of the Society in this .
If the Said & move their families by the first of January as aforesaid that they themselves will be allowed to go and come in order to transact and wind up their business.
The Committee pledge themselves to use all their influence to prevent any violence being used so long as a compliance with the foregoing terms is observed by the parties concerned.
The resolutions adopted on Saturday the 20th I have not yet recieved but I think I can by applying to Mr Allen.
Nothing in particular has transpired has transpired since you left here save the gifts are breaking forth in a marvellous manner. I want you to remember me to Joseph in a special manner, and enquire of him respecting my clerkship you very well know what I mean & also my great desire of doing all things according to the mind of the Lord, We need the prayers of all the disciples of our Redeemer for it is a time of great anxiety to behold the cleansing of this & also the land from wickedness & abominations. We are waiting with inexpressible anxiety to hear the word of the Lord concerning , O that God may speed your journey & bring us intelligence which will be as balm to the wounded bosom, or as a smile of the Redeemer to a soul in distress, my heart is full and I say O my God will thou not deliver, yea wilt thou not come down that the mountains may flow down at thy presence &c— I am your unworthy brother in the Lord.
& Joseph Smith Junr &c
In our present situation I have nothing to write, I wait for the word of the Lord: For his will and not ours will be done, we have many beautiful Hymns sung in tongues: I transcribe a couple sung by Wilber.
High in the Heavins the throne of God is set
His Eye extends abroad oer all his works
He knows the inmost thoughts of all his hand hath made
Yea Earth, and the foundations which his power hath laid
All things are swallowed up in him
He comprehends all things, encircles all things round about [p. 55]
By his almighty power
Sustains all things from week to week
From day to day, from hour to hour
Praise ye the Lord ye saints in Zion
Praise his glorious name
Our God shall triumph over all his foes
Our enemies shall all be put to shame
And God be praised for all his mighty power
Exalt the wastes of Zion sing for joy ye saints
Let praise your earthly powers employ
Arise, awake, put thy strength and sing
The everlasting praises of your King
Till earth & heaven in Halelujahs ring.
The towers of Zion soon shall rise
If the Lord will yet speak to his children, it may be well to inquire every matter concerning the destruction of the , and what is to be done in future, and also concerning the , and what is to be done in future: I know from the experience I have had that it is a good thing to have our faith thoroughly tried.
must and will be pure. Health prevails among the disciples.
N.B. Early on Monday morning we received letters from containing all the patterns &c postages $1,50 by wt, which in single letters would have been but $1,00— We also recd a [letter] dated Walnut farm” from . Our anxiety will be so great that I say : write the first mail after you arrive at , whether the tidings be favorable or not. Every one that is a saint or nearly so, in the Timber speaks in tongues, says he can speak in all the tongues on earth, we shall probably begin to worship here in tongues tomorrow if the Lord wills, that is excepting we 6— It is a solemn day with us and I remain.
Joseph Smith Jr
Geauga Co, Ohio [p. 56]


  1. 1

    TEXT: “th” is double underlined.  

  2. 2

    See Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3:1].  

  3. 3

    Oliver Cowdery. (JS History, vol. A-1, 330.)  

  4. 4

    25 July 1833.  

  5. 5

    Probably the “school of Elders,” conducted by Parley P. Pratt, in which men ordained to the priesthood “prayed, preached and prophesied, and exercised [themselves] in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” (Pratt, Autobiography, 100; see also Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–A [D&C 97:3–6].)  

    Pratt, Parley P. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Embracing His Life, Ministry and Travels, with Extracts, in Prose and Verse, from His Miscellaneous Writings. Edited by Parley P. Pratt Jr. New York: Russell Brothers, 1874.

  6. 6

    The gift of tongues manifested itself among church members in Missouri the previous month as well. (Whitmer, History, 39.)  

  7. 7

    David Whitmer was called to watch over the third branch of the church—which included the Whitmer settlement—in Jackson County on 11 September 1833. (Minute Book 2, 11 Sept. 1833.)  

  8. 8

    TEXT: “Holy” and “Land” are double underlined. This sentence possibly refers to an earlier revelation that discussed “a scorge and a Judgment” that would be “poured out upon the children of Zion” if church members polluted the Lord’s “holy land.” (Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:58–59].)  

  9. 9

    See Revelation, Feb. 1831–A [D&C 43:26].  

  10. 10

    Lexington, Missouri.  

  11. 11

    According to a Jackson County resident writing in December 1833, “The cholera was brought into our neighborhood the past summer” on a steamboat named “Yellow Stone.” (Isaac McCoy, “The Disturbances in Jackson County,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 20 Dec. 1833, [2].)  

    Missouri Republican. St. Louis. 1822–1919.

  12. 12

    Church leaders in Missouri had received the plat of the city of Zion and the plan of the House of the Lord from leaders in Kirtland in the morning mail. The reception of the plat and plan was noted again in William W. Phelps’s postscript to the text featured here. (Plat of the City of Zion, ca. Early June–25 June 1833; Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  13. 13

    The original text of what Whitmer calls “the article of our enemies” is not extant; however, Edward Partridge made a copy of it, and it was also published in The Evening and the Morning Star as part of a letter to Missouri governor Daniel Dunklin. (“We the Undersigned Citizens of Jackson County,” [July 1833], Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL; “To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114–115.)  

    Partridge, Edward. Papers, 1818–1839. CHL. MS 892.

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  14. 14

    This quote likely refers to Henry Clay’s speech before the United States Congress in January 1813. (Henry Clay, Speech to House of Representatives, 8 Jan. 1813, Annals of Congress, 12th Cong., 2nd Sess., vol. 25, p. 665 [1813].)  

    Annals of the Congress of the United States. Twelfth Congress.—Second Session: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States . . . Comprising the Period from November 2, 1812, to March 3, 1813, Inclusive. Vol. 25. Washington DC: Gales and Seaton, 1853.

  15. 15

    John Corrill later recalled that “the old citizens” of Jackson County “saw their county filling up with emigrants, principally poor. They disliked their religion, and saw also, that if let alone. they would in a short time become a majority, and, of course, rule the county.” That many Mormons immigrated to Missouri without sufficient preparation was previously alluded to in the July 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star. (Corrill, Brief History, 19; “The Elders Stationed in Zion to the Churches Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 110–111.)  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  16. 16

    An editorial in The Evening and the Morning Star later denied the charge “that the slaves in that county were ever tampered with by” the Mormons “or at any time persuaded to be refractory, or taught in any respect whatever, that it was not right and just that they should remain peaceable servants.” (“The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 122.)  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  17. 17

    See “Free People of Color,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 109; “The Elders Stationed in Zion to the Churches Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 110–111; and The Evening and the Morning Star, Extra, 16 July 1833, [1].  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  18. 18

    After the 1831 Nat Turner uprising, fear of slave insurrection was widespread in the United States.a In response to the allegation that the Mormons would “corrupt” the slaves and instigate slave insurrection, an editorial in The Evening and the Morning Star stated, “All who are acquainted with the situation of slave States, know that amid a dense population of blacks, that the life of every white is in constant danger, and to insinuate any thing which could possibly be interpreted by a slave, that it was not just to hold human beings in bondage, would be jeopardizing the life of every white inhabitant in the country. For the moment an insurrection should break out, no respect would be paid to age, sex, or religion, by an enraged, jealous, and ignorant black banditti.”b  

    Howe, Daniel Walker. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848. The Oxford History of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

    Foner, Eric, ed. Nat Turner. Great Lives Observed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1971.

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

    (aSee Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 323–327, 427–428; and Foner, Nat Turner, 56–125.b“The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 122.)
  19. 19

    In the summer of 1831, several JS revelations indicated that western Missouri was the land of church members’ “inheritance.” David Whitmer later remembered that “there were among us a few ignorant and simple-minded persons who were continually making boasts to the Jackson county people that they intended to possess the entire county.” (Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52:2, 42]; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:1–5]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:44–56]; “Mormonism,” Kansas City Daily Journal, 5 June 1881, 1.)  

    Kansas City Daily Journal. Kansas City, MO. 1878–1891.

  20. 20

    At first, the Missourians were willing to give the Mormons approximately five to eight months to settle their affairs and move from Jackson County. However, persecution continued, and when church leaders openly vowed to pursue legal means to remain on their lands, violence again erupted. In early November 1833, an armed group of Jackson County residents drove the Mormons from the county. (See Historical Introduction to Letter, 30 Oct. 1833; see also “From Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 124–126.)  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  21. 21

    Members of the Church of Christ received almost no compensation for their lost property and the abuse they suffered, despite the considerable time and money spent attempting to seek redress through the legal system. In 1839, for example, Edward Partridge wrote, “I have never received any satisfaction” for being tarred and feathered by the mob on 20 July 1833, “although I commenced a suit against some of them for $50,000, damage, and paid my lawyers six hundred dollars to carry it on.” As bishop, in charge of administering inheritances to church members, Partridge also held title to 2,136 acres of land in the county, along with two lots in Independence, but he received no compensation for the loss of his property. (Edward Partridge, Petition for Redress, 15 May 1839, copy, Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL; see also Partridge v. Lucas et al. [Ray Co. Cir. Ct. 1836], Ray Co., MO, Circuit Court Records, 1821–1882, vol. A, p. 249, microfilm 959,749, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; and Phelps v. Simpson et al. [Ray Co. Cir. Ct. 1836], Ray Co., MO, Circuit Court Records, 1821–1882, vol. A, p. 250, microfilm 959,749, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

    Edward Partridge, Papers, 1818–1839. CHL. MS 892.

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  22. 22

    This sentence resembles the closing words of the Declaration of Independence, which states, “For the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”  

  23. 23

    TEXT: “th” is double underlined.  

  24. 24

    Neither here nor in his history does Whitmer include any names of the signatories of the manifesto. Edward Partridge’s copy of this document, however, does list seventy-eight names. The copy printed in The Evening and the Morning Star adds, “Among the hundreds of names attached to the above document were:— Lewis Franklin, Jailor. Samuel C. Owens, County Clerk. Russel Hicks, Deputy Clerk. R. W. Cummins, Indian Agent. Jones H. Flournoy, P. Master. S. D. Lucas, Col. and Judge of the Court. Henry Childs, Att’y at Law. N. K. Olmstead, M. D. John Smith, J. P. Sam’l. Weston, J. P. William Brown, Const[able] Abner F. Staples, Capt. Thomas Pitcher, Deputy Const. Moses G. Wilson, Thomas Willson, Merchants.” (“We the Undersigned Citizens of Jackson County,” [July 1833], Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL; Whitmer, History, 42; “To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114, italics in original.)  

    Partridge, Edward. Papers, 1818–1839. CHL. MS 892.

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  25. 25

    Edward Partridge, Isaac Morley, John Corrill, William W. Phelps, Sidney Gilbert, and John Whitmer signed the agreement on behalf of the Church of Christ. (“To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 115; Memorandum of Agreement, 23 July 1833, CHL.)  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

    Memorandum of Agreement, 23 July 1833. CHL.

  26. 26

    The members of the committee who signed the memorandum of agreement were Samuel C. Owens, Leonidas Oldham, G. W. Simpson, W. L. Irvin, John Harris, Henry Childs, Harvey H. Younger, Hugh L. Breazeale, Newel K. Olmstead, James C. Sadler, William Bowers, Benjamin Majors, Zacheriah Waller, Harmon Gregg, Aaron Overton, and Russell Hicks. A copy of the agreement published in The Evening and the Morning Star contains minor variations in spelling and lists Samuel Weston rather than Russell Hicks as the last signatory. (Memorandum of Agreement, 23 July 1833, CHL; “To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 115.)  

    Memorandum of Agreement, 23 July 1833. CHL.

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  27. 27

    TEXT: “rd” is double underlined.  

  28. 28

    Various newspapers in the state and nation published the memorandum of agreement over the next couple of months. According to JS’s history, the memorandum appeared in the Western Monitor in Fayette, Missouri, on 2 August 1833; however, no copy of that issue has been located in modern repositories. (JS History, vol. A-1, 330; see also “‘Regulating’ the Mormonites,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 9 Aug. 1833, [3]; “Mormonites in Missouri,” Daily National Intelligencer [Washington DC], 21 Aug. 1833, [2]; and “‘Regulating’ the Mormonites,” Niles’ Weekly Register [Baltimore], 14 Sept. 1833, 47–48.)  

    Daily Missouri Republican. St. Louis. 1822–1869.

    Daily National Intelligencer. Washington DC. 1800–1869.

    Niles’ Weekly Register. Baltimore. 1811–1836.

  29. 29

    Missourian Alexander Majors recalled much later that the Star “was very distasteful to the members and leaders of other religious denominations.” (Ingraham, Alexander Majors’ Memoirs, 44.)  

    Ingraham, Prentiss, ed. Seventy Years on the Frontier: Alexander Majors’ Memoirs of a Lifetime on the Border. Denver: Western Miner and Financier Publishers, 1893.

  30. 30

    TEXT: “th” is double underlined.  

  31. 31

    Possibly James Allen, who, in Edward Partridge’s copy of the manifesto, was listed as a witness to the creation of the document. According to a petition that church leaders sent to Missouri governor Daniel Dunklin, about four to five hundred people met at the courthouse in Independence on 20 July 1833 to draft the following resolutions: “1. That no Mormon shall in future move and settle in this county. 2. That those now here, who shall give a definite pledge of their intention within a reasonable time to remove out of the county, shall be allowed to remain unmolested until they have sufficient time to sell their property and close their business without any material sacrifice. 3. That the editor of the ‘Star’ be required forthwith to close his office, and discontinue the business of printing in this county; and as to all other stores and shops belonging to the sect, their owners must in every case strictly comply with the terms of the second article of this declaration, and upon failure, prompt and efficient measures will be taken to close the same. 4. That the Mormon leaders here, are required to use their influence in preventing any further emigration of their distant brethren to this county, and to counsel and advise their brethren here to comply with the above requisitions. 5. That those who fail to comply with these requisitions, be referred to those of their brethren who have the gifts of divination, and of unknown tongues, to inform them of the lot that awaits them.” This group then resolved to destroy the Mormons’ printing establishment, which they did; they also engaged in other forms of mob violence. (“We the Undersigned Citizens of Jackson County,” [July 1833], Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL; “To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114; “‘Regulating’ the Mormonites,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 9 Aug. 1833, [3].)  

    Partridge, Edward. Papers, 1818–1839. CHL. MS 892.

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

    Daily Missouri Republican. St. Louis. 1822–1869.

  32. 32

    “My clerkship” probably refers to John Whitmer’s appointment in 1831 “to Keep the Church Record & History continually.” In what may have been a response to Whitmer’s request here, Cowdery later instructed him on keeping the names of church members “upon the church Record,” especially emphasizing when to record the names of children. (Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–B [D&C 47:3]; Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to John Whitmer, Missouri, 1 Jan. 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 14; see also Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832.)  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

  33. 33

    Cowdery and JS responded via letters in mid-August 1833. (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 10 Aug. 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833.)  

  34. 34

    See Isaiah 64:1.  

  35. 35

    At this point in the letter, William W. Phelps began writing a lengthy postscript.  

  36. 36

    It is not certain whether “Wilber” is the singer’s first or last name. Singing, as well as speaking, in tongues was not uncommon in the early church. Zebedee Coltrin, for instance, noted in his diary that at a midweek prayer meeting in November 1832, he saw “Joseph Smith and heard him Speak with Tongues and Sing in Tongues also.” On another occasion, the full text of a hymn “sang by the gift of Tongues & Translated” was recorded in Revelation Book 2. The first of the two hymns is transcribed in the following lines. Following the text of the first hymn, only the title and page number, set off by dashed lines, of the second hymn are given. (Hicks, Mormonism and Music, 35–38; Coltrin, Diary and Notebook, 14 Nov. 1832; Song, 27 Feb. 1833, in Revelation Book 2, p. 48; for other instances of singing in tongues, see Walter Scott, “Mormon Bible—No. V,” Evangelist, 1 June 1841, 134; and “Elizabeth Ann Whitney,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Mar. 1882, 10:153–154.)  

    Hicks, Michael. Mormonism and Music: A History. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989.

    Coltrin, Zebedee. Diary and Notebook, 1832–1833. Zebedee Coltrin, Diaries, 1832–1834. CHL. MS 1443, fd. 2.

    Evangelist. Carthage, OH. 1832–1844.

    Woman’s Exponent. Salt Lake City. 1872–1914.

  37. 37

    TEXT: The first part of page 56 in JS Letterbook 2 is divided into two columns by a vertical line drawn in ink. The text beginning here and ending with “We also recd” appears in these two columns.  

  38. 38

    See Psalm 44:7.  

  39. 39

    See Isaiah 52:1; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 61 [2 Nephi 1:14, 23].  

  40. 40

    The following two lines appear to be a later insertion by the clerk who copied this letter into JS Letterbook 2. “The towers of Zion soon shall rise” was the opening line of a six-stanza hymn that appears on page 38 of the church’s first hymnal, published in 1835. (Hymn 29, Collection of Sacred Hymns, 38–39.)  

  41. 41

    29 July 1833.  

  42. 42

    Walnut Farm, Saline County, Missouri, is approximately one hundred miles east of Independence on the south side of the Missouri River, opposite Chariton. It is located where one of the principal east-west land routes crossed the Missouri River. (See Darby and Dwight, Gazetteer of the United States, 496, 579.)  

    Darby, William, and Theodore Dwight, Jr. A New Gazetteer of the United States of America; Containing a Copious Description of the States, Territories, Counties, Parishes, Districts, Cities and Towns. . . . Hartford, CT: Edward Hopkins, 1833.

  43. 43

    Cowdery wrote to Phelps and others on 10 August 1833—the day following his arrival in Kirtland—advising them to “look out another place to locate on.” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 10 Aug. 1833.)  

  44. 44

    “Timber branch” was another name for the Whitmer settlement in Kaw Township, Missouri. (See “Short Sketch of the Life of Levi Jackman,” [7]–[9]; and “From Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 124; see also Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:101–102.)  

    Jackman, Levi. “A Short Sketch of the Life of Levi Jackman,” ca. 1851. Typescript. CHL. M270.1 J123ja 18--?.

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

    Berrett, LaMar C., ed. Sacred Places: A Comprehensive Guide to Early LDS Historical Sites. 6 vols. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999–2007.

  45. 45

    A month later, Edward Partridge wrote, “Many speak with new tongues, or in other languages; some speak in a number of different languages shortly after they receive the gift; others are confined to one or two—These are not idle assertions; I know that these things are so.” (Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to “Friends and Neighbors,” Painesville, OH, 31 Aug. 1833, in LDS Messenger and Advocate, Jan. 1835, 1:60.)  

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.

  46. 46

    “We 6” probably refers to church leaders Edward Partridge, Sidney Gilbert, John Corrill, Isaac Morley, John Whitmer, and William W. Phelps.