Letter from S. J. Wild, 30 April 1843

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April [blank] 1843
Dear Sir/
Knowing you to be a great Reformer & having observed that you have established in your society many excellent moral precepts— I have for a long time wished to see you to converese with you on a subject which has for several years exercised my mind & seems to be increasing in interest to me— to ask your opinion & advice thereon, as I do not see any chance of seeing you soon & talking personally with you in <​I​> have taken the liberty of Writing to you, & I hope you will not be offended thereat but will deign to write me a candid answer to my inquiries as the subject seems to me to be of vast importance & on which I believe the durability of republicanism depends. Jesus christ says Unless a man is born of Water & the Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven This is called regeneration— or a birth unto Righteousness— the means by Which men are to be fitted for Virtue & Glory— Which fitting is commenced as soon as the person is operated upon by the joint influences of the Water & the Spirit— or vice versa— & as Christ the great pattern for us— receved the Holy spirit through the medium of his Baptismal washing & prayer as a means the question is weather we do not need Continually to receive fresh supplies of the Holy spirit <​by Physical energies of body​> by repeatedly washing & praying by which means holy Inclinations & energy of Body is procured— a much better stimulant than spirits Coffee tobacco &c &c & by which means Temperance & the other virtues are all promoted It appears to me that the repetition of Baptismal washings in your society is leading to this practice of often purifying the Body by Water, & another question is is either men ought not to be taught to pray & [p. [1]] & to purify the Body continually thus Invigorating & Healthyfying it & that God commanded this to his church by Moses & that Jesus & the Apostles having belonged to this Church must have practiced it <​as a means or way to the peculiar excellense they attained to​> it [is?] likely that washing was abolished when the very first act of Obedienice in the new Church was to Baptize or Wash for I understand it so to mean— & is not this the only means by which the present selfish rough Unchristian unpolished ungentlemanly manners of the people can be altered— & is it not the way by making a mans person thorougly clean & with prayer to give him a taste for clean<​liness​> <​&​> desire for the highest improvement of his faculties & is it not the Means by which Glory & honour are to be attained in this World if universally practiced
In Leviticus Chap. 15— V. 16–17, 18 is are commands. are they not as needful now <​to​> be in force to prevent diseases as then— Gods people at that time had prayer houses near the Water that They Might wash preparatory to that exercise the Priests washed their feet before the altar & has our Climates now become so cool & Invigorating as to make all this unnecesary now— Josephus in his Antiquities Book XVIII. C. V Sec 2 says that Jno the Baptist exhorted the Virtuous & the pious to come to his Baptism for the purification of the flesh all of Which our present religionists deem unessential now by that means excluding all commands of Cleanliness from their code of Morals— H◊◊◊ thus leaving the people in a great degree filthy intemporate or lazy & a long train of other vices in the rear the leaders of the Blind being in a great degree blind themselves or I once spoke to Mr on this subject he acknowledged that the use of Water had saved his life but that at that time he could not bear it— here I think he must have been in an error for it appears to Me that at [p. [2]] any time warm Water & soap may be applied to the body with benefit— & he said Men were not ready at this time to receive the doctrine of Purification of the flesh— I have often seen you & your family to Whom I desire my respects if they remember me. I was born in 1791 & came to the in 1818 I have been in the Western Country upwards of 20 years & Imagine that I know something of the <​wants of—​> this country & have by the means above stated sought for wisdom & knowledge & think that by them I have been renewed in Mind & Body & feel a great desire for the Welfare of this My adopted country & that holiness may prevail & as much has been reveale[d] to the people through your means if you [will] be so kind as to Write to me on the subject your opinion I shall be exceedingly obliged to you and very soon as I am anxious about it have you had any revelation on the subject or can you consult the Oracles of God on it— dont lay this on one side & forget it—
I remain
Yours Respectfully
S. J. Wild
P. S.
I have understood that in Judea the people were very subject to very troublesome cutaneous disorders which made frequent ablutions necessary— It appears to me to be so on the from very sudden alterations in the weather from marsh Miasm or from fogs or damp air. The pores of the skin are closed causing in Eruptions on the skin— colds & Fevers &c now would not washing the Body open the Pores & restore the insensible Perspiration— if so is it not more peculiarly necessary on the that Gods ancient Law to his church should be impossed on the people, or Come as Word of Wisdom— [p. [3]]
<​ Ills. May 3 <​4​>​>
To Mr. Joseph Smith
First President
W. J. Stewart L 2 B 14 Hibards advertised for Taxes of 1840 pd
April 30. 1843
S. J. Wild to Prest. Joseph Smith [p. [4]]


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    Stamped in blue ink.  

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    Postage in unidentified handwriting.  

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    Circular postmark stamped in blue ink. The postmaster crossed out the stamped number “3” and inserted a handwritten number “4”.  

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    Notation in handwriting of William W. Phelps.  

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    Notation in handwriting of William Clayton.  

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    Docket in handwriting of Thomas Bullock.