Letter from Richard Savary, 2 February 1842

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

, Pa. Feb. 2d 1842.
Mr. Joseph Smith, Sir,—Though a stranger to you personally, yet the knowledge of your character (given me by others) makes it unnecessary for me to offer any apology for thus troubling you. And I entreat you to believe me, when I say, that it is with a sincere desire to arrive at the truth of things that to me and all others are of the most vital importance.
I am pleased to inform you that , has convinced me of my errors, relative to the divinity of the Bible; not in appealing to my passions or a mere flare up of the imagination, which constitutes the religion of three fourths of its votaries, but my judgment, and understanding, were alone consulted, and the result is, I am almost persuaded to be a Christian, on the principles contained in the Book.
I now concede, God to be a God, of mercy, justice, and truth, instead of a tyranical, lying and treacherous being, that I was forced to consider him, by the character he got by the various sects and theologians of the day, and their interpretations of his word.
I have wished to know the truth and considered myself bound to receive it, come from whence it may, and inasmuch as your explanation of the Bible appears reasonable to me, and showing me at the same time, the science thereof, makes it I might say obligatory in me to know all things (so far as I can appreciate them,) that has any connection therewith.
I feel to thank God (though I am yet a sinner,) that crossed my path. He is giving the sectarian world the heart-burn in this and the more they cry delusion, humbug and fanatacism the more the people wont believe it, but go and hear for themselves, and the result is that rational men consider him a rational man and the success of his mission in this is indeed flattering.
I now wish to know through you the laws and regulations of your what is required of its members—how much (if a man of property,) must he [p. 731] contribute annually for its support. In short what is required to constitute good membership?
If you will please answer those questions comprehensively you will confer a favor on one who with pleasure subscribes himself your friend, and humble servant;
P. S. Since the above was written has informed me that he must return to you. I am sorry it is so; but I do entreat you to send him back if possible. He is beloved by all good men who have listened to his eloquence, which consists in the pure doctrine which he preaches. I believe that should he return hundreds would be added to his fold, that would not be by any other man you could send, however eloquent he may be. The reason is we are familiar with him, and his candor is unquestioned, he gives no offence but alone appeals to the understandings of men, may he soon return is the prayer of your unworthy servant
. [p. 732]


  1. 1

    See Acts 26:28.  

  2. 2

    Reporting on the baptism of several individuals by Latter-day Saint elders, the Iron City, and Pittsburgh Weekly Chronicle stated, “Rev. Alick Stevenson being called upon, addressed the assembly in opposition to the Mormons, from a neighboring board-pile, his discourse being interrupted by numerous cheers, and an occasional yell (from those who had unfortunately taken their station upon rotten sheds, several of which were levelled to the ground) and finally put a stop to by his honor, the Mayor, shoving him from his romantic pulpit. After Alick’s expulsion, another gentleman took up the cudgels, and succeeded in out-speaking the Mormons, who left the ground in disgust.” (“The Mormons,” Iron City, and Pittsburgh Weekly Chronicle, 12 Feb. 1842, [4].)  

    Iron City, and Pittsburgh Weekly Chronicle. Pittsburgh. 1841–1845.

  3. 3

    In April 1840 Page was appointed to accompany fellow apostle Orson Hyde on a mission to Palestine. Hyde departed New York City in February 1841, while Page continued to preach in Ohio and Pennsylvania. In mid-October a council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles requested that Page return to Nauvoo, Illinois. Page was on his way back to Nauvoo when he stopped in Pittsburgh. He eventually returned to Nauvoo sometime before 1 March 1842. (Minutes and Discourse, 6–8 Apr. 1840; Notice, Times and Seasons, 15 Jan. 1841, 2:287; Letter from Orson Hyde, 17 Apr. 1841; “History of John E. Page,” Millennial Star, 18 Feb. 1865, 27:104; JS and Brigham Young, Notice, Times and Seasons, 15 Oct. 1841, 2:582; Letter from George Gee, 30 Dec. 1841; Woodruff, Journal, 1 Mar. 1842.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.