Letter to the Church, circa April 1834

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

(Continued from our last.)
Dear brethren in Christ, and companions in tribulation.
IN our own country, surrounded with blessings innumerable, to which thousands of our fellow men are strangers, enjoying unspeakable benefits, and inexpressible comforts, when once our situation is compared with the ancient saints, as followers of the Lamb of God who has taken away our sins by his own blood, we are bound to rejoice and give thanks to him always. Since the organization of the , or the church of the LATTER DAY SAINTS, which was on the 6th of April, 1830, we have had the satisfaction of witnessing the spread of the truth into various parts of our land, notwithstanding its enemies have exerted their unceasing diligence to stop its course and prevent its progress. Though evil and designing men have been combined to destroy the innocent, because their own craft was in danger, and have been assisted in raising mobs and circulating falsehoods by a miserable set of apostates, who have, for wicked and unbecoming conduct, been expelled from the body of which they were once members, yet the glorious gospel in its fulness is spreading and daily gaining converts, and our prayer to God is, that it may continue, and numbers be added of such as shall be saved.
The Messiah’s kingdom on earth is of that kind of government, that there has always been numerous apostates, for this very fact, that it admits of no sins unrepented of without excluding the individual from its fellowship. Our Lord said, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. And again, many are called, but few chosen. Paul said to the elders of the church at Ephesus, after he had labored three years with them, that he knew, that some of their own number would turn away from the faith, and seek to lead away disciples after them. None, we presume, in this generation will pretend that they have the experience of Paul, in building up the church of Christ; and yet, after his departure from the church at Ephesus, many, even of the elders, turned away from the truth; and what is almost always the case, sought to lead away disciples after them. Strange as it may appear, at first thought, yet it is no less so than true, that with all the professed determination to live godly, after turning from the faith of Christ, apostates have, unless they have speedily repented, sooner or later, fallen into the snares of the wicked one and been left destitute of the , to manifest their wickedness in the eyes of multitudes. From apostates the faithful have received the severest persecutions: Judas was rebuked, and immediately betrayed his Lord into the hands of his enemies, because satan entered into him. There is a supreme intelligence bestowed upon such as obey the gospel with full purpose of heart, which, if sinned against, the apostate is left naked and destitute of the Spirit of God, and they are in truth, nigh unto cursing, and their end is to be burned. When once that light which was in them is taken from them, they become as much darkened as they were previously enlightened. And then, no marvel, if all their power should be enlisted against the truth, and they, Judas like, seek the destruction of those who were their greatest benefactors! What nearer friend on earth, or in heaven, had Judas, than the Savior? and his first object was to destroy him! Who, among all the saints in these last days, can consider himself as good as our Lord? Who is as perfect, who is as pure, and who as holy as he was? Are they to be found? He never transgressed or broke a commandment or law of heaven—no deceit was in his mouth, neither was guile found in his heart! and yet one that ate with him, who had often supped of the same cup, was the first to lift up his heel against him! Where is there one like him? He cannot be found on earth. Then why should his followers complain, if from those whom they once called brethren, and considered in the nearest relation in the everlasting covenant, they should receive persecution? From what source emanated the principle which has ever been manifested by apostates from the true church, to persecute with double diligence, and seek with double perseverance, to destroy those whom they once professed to love, with whom they once communed, and with whom they once to strive, with every power, in righteousness, to obtain the rest of God? Perhaps, our brethren will say, The same that caused satan to seek to overthrow the kindom of God, because he himself was evil, and God’s kingdom is holy.
Being limited to a short space in this number of the Star, we have advanced these few items, though in short, in stead of persuing our subject as in former numbers. The great plan of salvation is a theme which ought to occupy our strictest attention, and be regarded as one of heaven’s best gifts to mankind. No consideration whatever ought to deter us from approving ourselves in the sight of God, according to his divine requirement. Men not unfrequently forget, that they are dependent upon heaven for every blessing which they are permitted to enjoy, and that for every opportunity, granted them, they are to give an account. You know, brethren, that when the Master called his servants, he gave them their several benefits to improve only while he should tarry for a little season, and then he will call each to render his account; and where five tallents were bestowed, ten will be required, and he that has made no improvement will be cast out as an unprofitable servant, and the faithful are to enjoy everlasting honors.— Therefore, we earnestly emplore the grace of our Father to rest upon you, through Jesus Christ his Son, that you may not faint in the hour of temptation, nor be overcome in the time of persecution. To be continued. [p. 152]


  1. 1

    The church was organized on 6 April 1830 as the “Church of Christ,” but the new title given here—“The Church of the Latter Day Saints”—became the official name of the church on 3 May 1834. The change was likely made to distinguish the church from other denominations in Ohio that were also called the “Church of Christ.” The church used the name “Church of the Latter Day Saints” until 1838, when it was designated “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20]; Minutes, 3 May 1834; see also “The Saints.—Again,The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1834, 164; Revelation, 26 Apr. 1838 [D&C 115:4].)  

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

  2. 2

    In an editorial printed in the February 1834 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star, Oliver Cowdery wrote, “We are happy to learn from letters frequently received, that the word is preached with success in many parts of our country, and some among the thousands who hear are willing to be reproached for the sake of Christ, and the reward which is sure to the faithful when he comes to make up his jewels.” (“Letters,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Feb. 1834, 134.)  

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

  3. 3

    See Luke 13:24.  

  4. 4

    See Matthew 20:16; 22:14.  

  5. 5

    See Acts 20:17, 28–31.  

  6. 6

    See Matthew 26:14–25, 47–49; Mark 14:10–11, 17–21, 42–45; and Luke 22:14–23, 47–48.  

  7. 7

    See Isaiah 53:9; and 1 Peter 2:22.  

  8. 8

    See Psalm 41:9; and John 13:18.  

  9. 9

    A reference to Jesus Christ’s parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14–30.