Memorial to Nauvoo High Council, 18 June 1840

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

To the Honorable the of the
The memorial of Joseph Smith Jr. respectfully represents.
That after the Church of Jesus Christ had been inhumanly as well as unconstitutionally expelled from their homes which they had secured to themselves in the State of , and having <​they​> found a resting place in the State of altho very much scattered and at considerable distances from each other.
That after the escape of your Memorialist from his enemies, he, (under the direction of the Authorities of the Church) took such Steps as has secured to the church the present Locations viz the Town plat of and lands in the
That in order to secure said locations your Memorialist had to become responsible for the payments of the same and had to use considerable exertion in order to commence a settlement and a place of gathering for the Saints, but knowing that from the genius of the constitution of the church and for the well being of the saints that it was necessary so that the Constituted Authorities of the Church might assemble together to act as to legislate for the good of the whole society and that the saints might enjoy those priviledges which they could not by being scattered so wide apart, induced your Memorialist, to exert himself to the utmost, in order to bring about an object so necessary and so desireable to the Saints at large
That under the then existing circumstances Your Memorialist had necessarily to engage in the temporalities of the Church— [p. [1]] which he has had to attend to the present time which has greatly engaged his mind and taken up much of his time.
That your Memorialist feels it a duty which he owes to God as well as to the to give his attention more particularly to those things connected with the Spiritual welfare of the Saints, (which have now become a great people) so that they may be built up in their most holy faith and be eneabled to go on to perfection——
That the church having erected an where he can attend to the affairs of the church without distraction, he thinks and very verily believes that in the time has now come when he should devote himself exclusively to those things which relate to Spiritualities of the church and commence the work of the ejyptian Records— the Bible— and wait upon the Lord for Such revelations as may be suited to the condition and circumstances of the church and in order to attend to those things, prays that your honorable body will relieve him from the anxiety and trouble necessarily attendant on business transactions by appointing some one of the to take charge of the City Plot and attend to the business transactions which have heretofore rested upon your Memorialists
That should your Honors deem it, propper to do so, your memorialist would respectfully suggest, that he would have no means for of support whatever and therefore would request that some one might be appointed to see that all his necessary wants be provided for as well as sufficient means or appropriations for a Clerk or Clerks which he may require to aid him in his important work [p. [2]]
Your Memorialist would further represent that as is conversant with the affairs of the city plot, he thinks that he would be a suitable person to act as Clerk in that business and attend to the disposing of the remaining lots &c &c
Your Memorialist would take this oppertunity of congratulating your Honorable body on the peace and Harmony which exists in the and for the good feelings which Seem to be manifest by all the Saints— and hopes that inasmuch as every one devotes themselves for the good of the church and the spread of the Kingdom that the Choisest blessings of Heaven will be poured upon us, and that the Glory of the Lord will overshadow the of the Saints
Joseph Smith Jr
June 18th. 1840 [p. [3]]
To the Hon
The of the [p. [4]]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    The other Thompson copy inserts “of Latter Day Saints” here. (JS, Memorial, [18] June 1840, JS Collection, CHL.)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

  2. 2

    Instead of “found a resting place,” the other Thompson copy has “settled chiefly.” (JS, Memorial, [18] June 1840, JS Collection, CHL.)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

  3. 3

    The other Thompson copy does not include the phrase “and at considerable distances from each other.” Many church members forced from Missouri moved to Quincy, Illinois. Others moved elsewhere in Illinois and across the Mississippi River to Iowa Territory. (JS, Memorial, [18] June 1840, JS Collection, CHL; Leonard, Nauvoo, 33–34; Alanson Ripley, “Keokuk,” Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:24; [Elizabeth Ann Smith Whitney], “A Leaf from an Autobiography,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Nov. 1878, 7:91; JS, Journal, 15–17 June 1839.)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

    Leonard, Glen M. Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2002.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

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

  4. 4

    In April 1839, JS and his fellow prisoners in Missouri escaped while traveling to Boone County, Missouri, for trial. (Hyrum Smith, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, pp. 25–26; Lyman Wight, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, pp. 31–32, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; JS, “Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.,” Times and Seasons, July 1839, 1:7.)  

    Nauvoo, IL. Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 16800.

  5. 5

    This paragraph in the other Thompson copy reads: “That after the release of your memorialist from prison he immediately took such steps by direction of the Conference as has secured to the church the present Locations viz the Town plat of Nauvoo and lands in the Iowa.” Two conferences of the church in spring 1839 dealt with land purchases. At the 24 April 1839 conference, for example, JS was appointed as part of a committee to “visit the Iaway Territory immediately” to investigate purchasing property. According to JS’s journal, after this appointment he “went to Ioway made purchases & returned.” On 30 April 1839, the church also purchased from Isaac Galland and Hugh White around 177 acres, which was part of what would later constitute Nauvoo, in the Commerce, Illinois, area. In May and June 1839, the church acquired nearly 18,000 acres of land within what was known as the Half-Breed Tract in Iowa Territory. In August 1839, JS and his counselors in the First Presidency bought land at Commerce from Horace Hotchkiss, John Gillet, and Smith Tuttle. (JS, Memorial, [18] June 1840, JS Collection, CHL; Minutes, 24 Apr. 1839; Minutes, 4–5 May 1839; JS, Journal, 24 Apr.–3 May 1839; Hancock Co., IL, Deed Records, 1817–1917, vol. 12-G, p. 247, 30 Apr. 1839, microfilm 954,195; Hancock Co., IL, Bonds and Mortgages, 1840–1904, vol. 1, pp. 31–32, 30 Apr. 1839, microfilm 954,776; Lee Co., IA, Land Records, 1836–1961, Deeds [South, Keokuk], vol. 1, pp. 507–509, microfilm 959,238; vol. 2, pp. 3–6, 13–16, microfilm 959,239, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; JS History, vol. C-1, 931–932; Leonard, Nauvoo, 58; Bonds from Horace Hotchkiss, 12 Aug. 1839–A and B.)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Leonard, Glen M. Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2002.

  6. 6

    Bonds from Horace Hotchkiss, 12 Aug. 1839–A and B.  

  7. 7

    At a 24 April 1839 meeting, the council resolved that church members should gather to Commerce “as soon as they possibly can.” A general conference of the church in October 1839 unanimously voted that Commerce “should be appointed a stake and a place of gathering for the saints.” (Minutes, 24 Apr. 1839; Minutes and Discourses, 5–7 Oct. 1839.)  

  8. 8

    This paragraph in the other Thompson copy reads: “That in order to secure said lands your Memorialist had to become responsible for the payment of the purchase money and had to use considerable exertion in order to commence a Settlement of the Saints and a place of gathering, knowing that from the Constitution and laws of the Church it was absolutely necessary to have a place for the gathering: the well being of the Church called for it, so that the constituted authorities could meet together to settle differences and legislate for the good of the whole society.” (JS, Memorial, [18] June 1840, JS Collection, CHL; Alanson Ripley, “Nauvoo,” Times and Seasons, June 1840, 1:123.)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  9. 9

    “Necessarily” is not in the other Thompson copy. (JS, Memorial, [18] June 1840, JS Collection, CHL.)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

  10. 10

    This paragraph in the other Thompson copy reads: “That your Memorialist feels it a duty which he owes to God as well as to the Church to exert his Energies in those things which relate to the spiritual welfare of the people of God which have now become ‘A great people’ such as Translating the antient records— retranslating the Bible receiving revealtions &c &c which would undoubtedly be of great value to the Church of God.” (JS, Memorial, [18] June 1840, JS Collection, CHL.)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

  11. 11

    This office had been under construction since at least October 1839, but its location is unclear. At a 28 October 1839 meeting, the Nauvoo high council directed Alanson Ripley to occupy the office “for the present.” (Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 28 Oct. 1839, 28–29.)  

    Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1839–1845. CHL. LR 3102 22.

  12. 12

    In summer 1835, JS acquired four mummies and some rolls of papyrus found with the mummies. According to William W. Phelps, JS believed the papyri contained “a sacred record kept by Joseph in Pharoah’s court in Egypt and the teachings of Father Abraham.” Thereafter, according to a later JS history, JS began “the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics” on the papyri. Over the course of the next several months, JS—aided by his scribes Phelps, Oliver Cowdery, Frederick G. Williams, and Warren Parrish—produced portions of what would later be referred to as the Book of Abraham. After 1835 JS and his associates discussed publishing the translation and JS recommencing his translation of the papyri. JS may have devoted some time to translating in summer or early fall 1839; in her October 1839 letter reporting on that month’s general conference of the church, Elizabeth Haven stated that JS “related some very interesting facts which he has lately translated from the reccords which came with the Mummies.” (William W. Phelps, Kirtland, OH, to Sally Waterman Phelps, Liberty, MO, 20 July 1835, in Historical Department, Journal History of the Church, 20 July 1835; JS History, vol. B-1, 595–596; Record of Seventies, 27 Sept. 1837, 35; Minute Book 1, 5 Nov. 1837; Swartzell, Mormonism Exposed, 25; Elizabeth Haven, Quincy, IL, to Elizabeth Howe Bullard, Holliston, MA, 21, 28, and 30 Sept. 1839; 6–9 Oct. 1839, Barlow Family Collection, 1816–1969, CHL; see also Historical Introduction to Book of Abraham Manuscript, ca. Early July–ca. Nov. 1835–A [Abraham 1:4–2:6].)  

    Historical Department. Journal History of the Church, 1896–. CHL. CR 100 137.

    Record of Seventies / First Council of the Seventy. “Book of Records,” 1837–1843. Bk. A. In First Council of the Seventy, Records, 1837–1885. CHL. CR 3 51, box 1, fd. 1.

    Swartzell, William. Mormonism Exposed, Being a Journal of a Residence in Missouri from the 28th of May to the 20th of August, 1838, Together with an Appendix, Containing the Revelation concerning the Golden Bible, with Numerous Extracts from the ‘Book of Covenants,’ &c., &c. Pekin, OH: By the author, 1840.

    Barlow Family Collection, 1816–1969. CHL.

  13. 13

    From 1830 to 1833, JS worked on a project that involved revising, clarifying, and augmenting the text of the King James Version of the Bible, an undertaking that was sometimes termed the “New Translation.” Since 1833 church leaders had discussed publishing the translation, but it remained unpublished. According to the July 1840 issue of the Times and Seasons, Samuel Bent and George W. Harris had been appointed to collect money to print, among other things, “the new translation of the scriptures.” (Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 3–6; Letter to Church Brethren, 15 June 1835; “Books!!!,” Times and Seasons, July 1840, 1:140.)  

    Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  14. 14

    This paragraph in the other Thompson copy reads: “That as the Church has erected an office where he can attend to such things without distraction he thinks and verily believes that the time has come when he should devote his time exclusively to these subjects and be free from the Anxiety and trouble necessarily belonging to business transactions and desires that your honorable body will so far relieve him in that respect as to appoint some one to take charge of the City plot and attend to the temporalities of the Church.” (JS, Memorial, [18] June 1840, JS Collection, CHL.)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

  15. 15

    Some of the proceeds from city lot sales apparently were used to support JS, perhaps in connection with his appointment as treasurer. Relieving JS of the treasurer responsibility may have meant he no longer could claim such funds. (See, for example, Letter from Hyrum Smith, 2 Jan. 1840.)  

  16. 16

    This paragraph in the other Thompson copy reads: “That should your honorable body deem it propper to do so your memorialist would respectfully suggest that he would have no means whatever of support, and therefore would request that some one whom your honors might mention or select might be instructed to see that all his necessary wants be provided for as well as sufficient means or appropriations for a Clerk or Clerks which he might want to aid him in his undertakings.” At this time, Robert B. Thompson, Howard Coray, and George W. Robinson were providing JS with at least some clerical assistance. (JS, Memorial, [18] June 1840, JS Collection, CHL; “Death of Col. Robert B. Thompson,” Times and Seasons, 1 Sept. 1841, 2:519; Coray, Autobiographical Sketch, 17, 19; License for George Snyder, 25 May 1840, in Far West and Nauvoo Elders’ Certificates, 40.)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    Coray, Howard. Autobiographical Sketch, after 1883. Howard Coray, Papers, ca. 1840–1941. Photocopy. CHL. MS 2043, fd. 1.

  17. 17

    This paragraph in the other Thompson copy reads: “Your Memorialist would take the liberty to reccommend that one of the Bishops of the Church be appointed to see that his wants be supplied, and that to attend to this business, and would also reccommend Elder H. G. Sherwood to act as Clerk in selling Lots making bonds writings &c as he is a person every way qualified for that office and is conversant with the affairs of the same.” (JS, Memorial, [18] June 1840, JS Collection, CHL.)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

  18. 18

    This paragraph is not present in the other Thompson copy. (JS, Memorial, [18] June 1840, JS Collection, CHL)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.