Letter to Presendia Huntington Buell, 15 March 1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

March 15th. 1839
My heart rejoiced at the friendship you manifested in requesting to have conversation with us but the Jailer is a very Jealous man for fear some one will leave tools for us to get out with he is under the eye of the Mob continually and his life is at Stake if he grants us any privileges he will not let us converse with any one alone Oh what a joy it would be to us to see our friends it would have gladdened my heart to have the privilege of conversing with you but the hand of tyrany is upon us but thanks be to God it cannot last always and he that sitteth in the heavens will laugh at their calamity and mock when their fear cometh We feel Dear Sister that our bondage is not of long duration I trust that I shall have the chance to give such instructions as are communicated to us before long I suppose you wanted some instruction for yourself and also give us some information and administer consolation to us and to find out what is best for you to do I think that many of the brethren if they will be pretty still can stay in this country until the indignation is over and past but I think it would be better for brother Buel [Norman Buell] to leave and go with the rest of the Brethren if he keep the faith and at any rate for thus speaketh the Spirit concerning him I want him and you to know that I am your true friend I was glad to see you no tongue can tell what inexpressible Joy it gives a man to see the face of one who has been a friend after having been inclosed in the walls of a prison for five months it seems to me that my heart will always be more tender after this than ever it was before my heart bleeds continually when I contemplate the distress of the Oh that I could be with them I would not shrink at toil and hardship to render them comfort and consolation I want the blessing once more to lift my voice in the midst of the Saints I would pour out my soul to God for their instruction it has been the plan of the Devil to hamper me and distress me from the beginning to keep me from explaining myself to them and I never have had opportunity to give them the plan that God has revealed to me for many have run without being sent crying tidings my Lord and have done much injury to the Church giving the Devil more power over those that walk by sight and not by faith [blank] will only give us that knowledge to understand the minds of the Ancients for my part I think I never could have felt as I now do if I had not suffered the wrongs that I have suffered all things shall work together for good to them that love God [p. [1]] Beloved we see that perilous times have truly come and the things which we have so long expected have at last began to usher in but when you see the fig tree begin to put forth its leaves you may know that the Summer is nigh at hand there will be a short work on the Earth it has now commenced I suppose there will soon be perplexity all over the Earth do not let our hearts faint when these things come upon us for they must come or the word cannot be fulfilled I know that something will soon take place to stir up this generation to see what they have been doing and that their fathers have inherited lies and they have been led captive by the Devil to no profit but they know not what they do do not have any feelings of enmity towards any Son or Daughter of Adam I believe I shall be let out of their hands some way or another and shall see good days we can not do any thing only stand still and see the Salvation of God he must do his own work or it must fall to the ground we must not take it in our hands to avenge our wrongs Vengeance is mine saith the Lord and I will repay I have no fears I shall stand unto death God being my helper I wanted to communicate something and I wrote this &c Write to us if you can
J. Smith Jr.
Mo. [p. [2]]


  1. 1

    Likely Samuel Hadley, who was the Clay County sheriff and jailer, or Samuel Tillery, who was the deputy jailer. (See Introduction to Part 3: 4 Nov. 1838–16 Apr. 1839.)  

  2. 2

    Instead of “leave,” Tullidge’s version has “have.” (Tullidge, Women of Mormondom, 210.)  

    Tullidge, Edward W. The Women of Mormondom. New York: Tullidge and Crandall, 1877.

  3. 3

    For information on the prisoners’ attempts to escape, see Introduction to Part 3: 4 Nov. 1838–16 Apr. 1839; and Lyman Wight, Journal, in History of the Reorganized Church, 2:317.  

    The History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 8 vols. Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1896–1976.

  4. 4

    See Psalm 2:4; and Proverbs 1:26.  

  5. 5

    Instead of “I suppose you wanted some instruction for yourself,” Tullidge’s version has “and as you wanted some instruction from us.” (Tullidge, Women of Mormondom, 210.)  

    Tullidge, Edward W. The Women of Mormondom. New York: Tullidge and Crandall, 1877.

  6. 6

    Norman Buell became disaffected from the church in 1838 or early 1839. He and Presendia remained in Missouri instead of joining the general church exodus from the state in 1839. (Kimball, Reminiscences, [2]; “A Venerable Woman,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Mar. 1883, 155; “A Venerable Woman,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 Apr. 1883, 163.)  

    Kimball, Presendia Lathrop Huntington. Reminiscences, 1881. CHL. MS 742.

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

  7. 7

    JS was arrested on 31 October 1838. He spent November in Independence and Richmond, Missouri, and was then transferred to Liberty, where he had been imprisoned since 1 December. (Letter to Emma Smith, 4 Nov. 1838; Letter to Emma Smith, 12 Nov. 1838; Letter to Emma Smith, 1 Dec. 1838.)  

  8. 8

    The Book of Mormon and some of JS’s revelations in the 1830s use plan of salvation, plan of redemption, and similar phrases to encompass the concepts of the fall of Adam, the atonement of Jesus Christ, faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Although JS’s early teachings suggest that the plan of salvation also includes a premortal existence, additional saving ordinances, and a doctrine of deification known as “exaltation,” it was not until the 1840s in Illinois that he fully elaborated on this expanded plan. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 79, 257, 338 [2 Nephi 9:6; Alma 12:24; 42:8]; Letter to the Church, ca. Feb. 1834; Instruction on Priesthood, 5 Oct. 1840, JS Collection, CHL; Givens, Wrestling the Angel, 257–315.)  

    Givens, Terryl L. Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

  9. 9

    See Jeremiah 23:21.  

  10. 10

    See 2 Samuel 18:31.  

  11. 11

    Instead of “done much injury,” Tullidge’s version has “have caused injury.” (Tullidge, Women of Mormondom, 211.)  

    Tullidge, Edward W. The Women of Mormondom. New York: Tullidge and Crandall, 1877.

  12. 12

    Instead of “Devil,” Tullidge’s version has “adversary.” (Tullidge, Women of Mormondom, 211.)  

    Tullidge, Edward W. The Women of Mormondom. New York: Tullidge and Crandall, 1877.

  13. 13

    See 2 Corinthians 5:7.  

  14. 14

    Tullidge’s version has “Our trouble” here. (Tullidge, Women of Mormondom, 211.)  

    Tullidge, Edward W. The Women of Mormondom. New York: Tullidge and Crandall, 1877.

  15. 15

    See Romans 8:28.  

  16. 16

    See 2 Timothy 3:1.  

  17. 17

    See Matthew 24:32.  

  18. 18

    See Romans 9:28.  

  19. 19

    See Luke 21:25.  

  20. 20

    See Matthew 24:6; and Luke 21:9.  

  21. 21

    See Jeremiah 16:19; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 255, 334–335 [Alma 12:11; 40:13].  

  22. 22

    See Luke 23:34.  

  23. 23

    See Exodus 14:13.  

  24. 24

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 111 [2 Nephi 27:21].  

  25. 25

    See Romans 12:19; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 524, 533 [Mormon 3:15; 8:20].  

  26. 26

    See Psalm 30:10; and Hebrews 13:6.