Letter to the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, 19 October 1840

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Hancock County, Ills
Oct 19th 1840
To the in
Dearly beloved brethren in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.
We take this opportunity of informing you that we yet remember the saints scattered about in the regions of & feel interested in their welfare as well as in that of the Saints at large.
We have beheld with feelings peculiar to ourselves the situation of things in and the numerous difficulties to which the Saints have been subjected by false friends as well as open enemies. All these circumstances have more or less engaged our attention from time to time.
We likewise must complain of the stake of for not writing to us the brethren who are in office and authority in the of for not writing to us and making known their difficulties and their affairs from time to time so that they might be advised in matters of importance to the well being of said stake; but above all for not sending one word of consolation to us while we were in the hands of our enemies— and thrust into dungeons.
Some of our friends from various sections sent us letters which breathed a kind and sympathetick spirit, and which made our afflictions and sufferings [en]durable. All was silent as the grave no feelings of sorrow sympathy or affection to cheer the heart under the gloomy shades of affliction and trouble through which we had to pass.
Dear bretheren could you realize that your bretheren were thus circumstancial and were to bear up under the weight of affliction and woe which was heaped upon them by their enemies and you stand unmoved and unconcerned!!! Where were the bowels of compasion, Where was the love which ought to characterize the Saints of the most high, did those high born and noble feelings lie dormant, or were you insensible of the treatment we received.
However, we are disposed to leave [p. 188] these things to God and to futurity. and feel disposed to forget this coldness on the part of the in , and to look to the future with more pleasure than were while we contemplate the past; and shall by the assistance of our Heavenly Father, take such steps as we think best calculated to promote the interest of the saints and for the promotion of truth & righteousness, and the building up of the kingdom in these last days.
The situation of was brought before the general holden at this place on the 3d. instant, when it was resolved that should be appointed to over the of and that he be privileged to choose his own ; We therefore hope that the Saints will hold up the hands of our beloved brother, and unite with him in endeavoring to promote the interest of the kingdom.
It has been deemed prudent to advise the Eastern bretheren who desire to locate in , to do so, consequently you may expect an increase of members in your stake, who probably will be but young in the faith and who will require kind treatment. We therefore hope the bretheren will feel interested in the welfare of the saints, and will use all their endeavors to promote the welfare of the bretheren who may think proper to take up their residence in that place.
If you should put away from your midst all evil speaking, backbiting & unge[ne]rous thoughts and feelings; humble yourselves and cultivate every principle of virtue & Love then will the blessings of Jehovah rest upon you and you will yet see good and glorious days, peace will be within your gates, and prosperity in your borders which may our heavenly Father grant in the name of Jesus Christ is the prayer of your. in the bonds of the ,
Joseph Smith Jr.
[p. 189]
P.S. is instructed to hold the keys of the Lords . We therefore hope that they will be put into his hands as he will hold them for the benefit of the and subject to our instructions
J Smith Jr.
[p. 190]


  1. 1

    See Revelation 1:9.  

  2. 2

    Heber C. Kimball, who passed through Kirtland on his way to England in November 1839, reported that since JS had left Kirtland in January 1838 the Saints had become “all broken up and divided into seve[ra]l different parties.” Kimball stated that “the folks” in Kirtland told “many dark and pittifull tales” about JS and other church leaders. Kimball also had difficulty preaching in the House of the Lord in Kirtland because of opposition from former church members. “As a general thing there Cannot be a meeting without some dispute,” he explained to his wife, Vilate Murray Kimball. (Heber C. Kimball, Kirtland, OH, to Vilate Murray Kimball, Commerce, IL, 16 Nov. 1839, photocopy, Heber C. Kimball, Letters, 1839–1854, CHL; Letter from Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde, between 22 and 28 May 1838; Kimball, “History,” 115.)  

    Kimball, Heber C. Letters, 1839–1854. Photocopy. CHL.

    Kimball, Heber C. “History of Heber Chase Kimball by His Own Dictation,” ca. 1842–1856. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box 2.

  3. 3

    JS spent winter 1838–1839 imprisoned with Hyrum and others in the jail at Liberty, Missouri, passing much of that time confined in the jailhouse dungeon. It is unclear exactly which leaders were being chastised for not writing to JS and his fellow prisoners. Hiram Kellogg (a counselor in the Kirtland stake presidency), John Morton, and Lahasa Hollister (both counselors in the Kirtland elders quorum presidency) had been in Kirtland during winter 1838–1839 and were still there at the time JS wrote this October 1840 letter. (Kirtland Elders Quorum, “Record,” 10 and 17 June 1838; 8 and 22 July 1838; 13 Mar. 1840; 8 Jan. 1841.)  

    Kirtland Elders Quorum. “A Record of the First Quorurum of Elders Belonging to the Church of Christ: In Kirtland Geauga Co. Ohio,” 1836–1838, 1840–1841. CCLA.

  4. 4

    Several letters written to JS while he was in jail are extant, including ones from Edward Partridge, Don Carlos Smith, William Smith, and Emma Smith. JS commented that such letters “were to our souls as the gentle air, is refreshing.” (Letter from Edward Partridge, 5 Mar. 1839; Letter from Don Carlos Smith and William Smith, 6 Mar. 1839; Letter from Emma Smith, 7 Mar. 1839; Letter to the Church and Edward Partridge, 20 Mar. 1839.)  

  5. 5

    See 1 John 3:17.  

  6. 6

    Minutes and Discourse, 3–5 Oct. 1840.  

  7. 7

    See Exodus 17:12.  

  8. 8

    See Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:54].  

  9. 9

    See Zechariah 8:16.  

  10. 10

    In a January 1841 letter to Oliver Granger, JS stated that the keys of the House of the Lord were in Granger’s hands. JS directed Granger to “hold them until I come.” (Letter to Oliver Granger, 26 Jan. 1841.)