Proclamation, between 19 January and 27 August 1841

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

A Religious Proclamation
From Joseph Smith, of the , and Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the Most High God, to the President of the of North America— the Governors of the several States— the Emperors, Kings, and Princes of the earth— the Executives of all nations— the Chiefs of all tribes— and all occupying high places in the administration of governments.
“Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing-fathers, and their queens thy nursing-mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet: and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.”
(Isaiah— LX, LXI, LXII.)
Now in obedience to a revelation given January 19th, [A]D. 1841, I proceed to call upon you to yield yourselves as obedient subjects to the requisitions of heaven, in fulfilling the contributing to the fulfilment of the predictions of the prophetsto believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of and abandon your sins, be for the remission of your sins, receive to for the , and, in fine, to embrace the gospel in its beauty & fulness. “And now, why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptised, and wash away thy sins, calling on th[e] name of the Lord.” This is more honorable than the diadems of kings. [p. 1] or th[e] pearls of princes— it will confer upon you an excellence unsurpassed, a glory which you never knew. “God came from Teman, and the Holy one from mount Paran;” and, as his glory covered the heavens, so now will it environ the earth, and illumine the holy city, until all the obedient shall bask in the rejoice in the brightness of his coming, and bask in the sun-shine of God’s benignity. Hasten then to ! and contribute to the erection of temples, sanctuaries, and palaces, such as this world never saw— decorated with gold and pearls, and precious stones, with their walls finished with th[e] pencil of Raphahel, decorated with gold, and pearls, and precious stones, beautified by the finger of God. Tho’ your minds are yet darkened, and your eyes dim of sight, by the traditions, superstitions, and follies of the age, imposed upon you by the Papal See, and hierarchy, of Rome; th[e] Patriarch, and council ecclesiastical council, of Constantinople; and th[e] priesthood of th[e] protestant sects; the God of heaven addresses you as intelligent beings, and directs you to come out from among them, that you may become the elite of the kingdom— bright, and shining lights in your Father’s house. [p. 2]
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  1. 1

    At the church’s organization, JS dictated a revelation stating that he would be recognized in the church record as “a seer & Translater & Prop[h]et an Apostle of Jesus Christ an Elder of the Church through the will of God the Father.” This authority was reiterated in the 19 January 1841 revelation that mandated the creation of a proclamation: “I give unto you my servant Joseph to be a presiding Elder over all my Church, to be a Translater, a Revelator, a Seer, and Prophet.” (Revelation, 6 Apr. 1830 [D&C 21:1]; Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:125].)  

  2. 2

    Martin Van Buren served as president of the United States from 4 March 1837 to 4 March 1841. William Henry Harrison served from 4 March 1841 to 4 April 1841, and John Tyler served from 4 April 1841 to 4 March 1845. Given the uncertain date of creation for this document, it could have been addressed to any one of these three presidents.  

  3. 3

    TEXT: “Lord God” is double underlined.  

  4. 4

    TEXT: “Lord” is double underlined.  

  5. 5

    Isaiah 49:22–23.  

  6. 6

    Chapters 60, 61, and 62 of Isaiah contain prophecies that Israel would rise again as a mighty nation and that the Gentiles would join with and serve Israel.  

  7. 7

    See Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:1–12].  

  8. 8

    This list resembles the first principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ according to Latter-day Saint thought. In 1837 a church newspaper identified “faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sin, and . . . the reception of the Holy Ghost” as the “first principles of the gospel.” (A. Cheney, “The Gospel,” Messenger and Advocate, May 1837, 3:498, 499; see also Letter to the Elders of the Church, 2 Oct. 1835; Discourse, 3 Oct. 1841; Acts 2:38; 19:1–6; and Book of Mormon, 1840 ed., 117, 494, 499–500 [2 Nephi 31:5–13; 3 Nephi 27:20; 4 Nephi 1:1].)  

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.

  9. 9

    Acts 22:16.  

  10. 10

    Habakkuk 3:3.  

  11. 11

    See 2 Thessalonians 2:8.  

  12. 12

    JS wrote an open letter in late May 1841 requesting that the Saints come and help develop the community in Nauvoo and Lee County, Iowa Territory, and build the Nauvoo temple and Nauvoo House. (See Letter to the Saints Abroad, 24 May 1841.)  

  13. 13

    The “pencil of Raphahel” likely refers to the sketches of Italian artist Raphael that were used in nineteenth-century art instruction or art history books. The phrase was also used colloquially and poetically to describe beautiful artwork. (Ralph, School of Raphael, 34; Orloff, “Painters and Paintings of Italy,” 157; “Carton VII. Paul Preaching at Athens,” in Cartons of Raphael D’Urbino, [37]; “John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 18 July 1794,” in Hogan et al., Adams Family Correspondence, 10:211–214; D. L. I. Hillhouse, “The Beggar of Florence,” New-York Weekly Whig, 3 Aug. 1839, 177.)  

    Ralph, Benjamin. The School of Raphael; or, The Student's Guide to Expression in Historical Painting. . . . London: John Boydell, 1825.

    Orloff, Gregoire. “The Painters and Paintings of Italy.” In Greenbank’s Periodical Library, containing in the Cheapest Possible Form, a Republication of New and Standard Works, 145–164. Vol. 3. Philadelphia: T. K. Greenbank, 1833.

    The Cartons of Raphael D’Urbino, Viz., 1. The Miraculous Draught of Fishes. 2. Christ’s Charge to Peter . . . . London: Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe, 1809.

    Hogan, Margaret A., C. James Taylor, Sara Martin, Hobson Woodward, Sara B. Sikes, Gregg L. Lint, and Sara Georgini, eds. Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 10: January 1794–June 1795. Vol. 10 of the Adams Family Correspondence series of The Adams Papers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.

    New-York Weekly Whig. New York City. 1838–1839.

  14. 14

    See Revelation 18:16; and Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:26–27].  

  15. 15

    The Book of Mormon tells of “writing which was upon the wall of the temple, which was written by the finger of God.” (Book of Mormon, 1840 ed., 242 [Alma 10:2].)  

  16. 16

    The “Papal See” or “Holy See” denotes the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome. (“Holy See,” in Modern Catholic Encyclopedia, 391.)  

    The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia. Edited by Michael Glazier and Monika K. Hellwig. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1994.

  17. 17

    The “Patriarch” likely refers to the president or presiding authority of the Eastern Orthodox church. The First Council of Constantinople was held in 381 AD, and the Nicene Creed was amended and ratified at the council. (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1:710; 11:549; Ayres, Nicaea and Its Legacy, 254–255.)  

    The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church. Edited by Charles G. Herbermann, Edward A. Pace, Condé B. Pallen, Thomas J. Shahan, and John J. Wynne. 15 vols. New York: Robert Appleton, 1907–1914.

    Ayres, Lewis. Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

  18. 18

    JS regularly criticized Protestantism; in fact, one scholar has posited that Latter-day Saint and Protestant identities were defined by opposing one another in the nineteenth century. (See, for example, Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 Jan. 1833; JS History, vol. A-1, [1]–4; and Fluhman, “A Peculiar People,” 1–8.)  

    Fluhman, J. Spencer. “A Peculiar People”: Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012.

  19. 19

    See 2 Corinthians 6:17.