Mormon History 1830-1844

Joseph Smith to W. W. Phelps, July 31, 1832  
Angered by William W. Phelps' report that disharmony again reigned in Zion, Joseph criticizes him, Bishop Edward Partridge, and the Saints in Missouri generally. Sidney blew up when he read John Corrill's letter and was temporarily removed from office §. Joseph will not let the revelations out of his hands before autumn §. Frederick G. Williams is now his scribe. Revision of the New Testament is complete §. A cholera outbreak in the East and an Indian uprising in the West are the news of the day. Missionary work is progressing well. John Whitmer is reminded to work on the history of the church §.
Attacks on Edward   In September 1831 Sidney Rigdon began criticizing Edward Partridge, questioning his fitness to be a bishop. In January 1832 the high council in Zion decided they had no jurisdiction over the matter and suggested Sidney resolve his differences with the bishop directly and amicably.   ¶ Oliver Cowdery to Joseph, January 28, 1832

The Bishop and the Lord
March accusations

Edward had apologized, apologizes again
  In March the high council takes Sidney to task for not dropping the matter. He and the bishop had met and Edward had apologized, but then Sidney brought up new matters. One was not reimbursing Sidney and Joseph for their travel expenses (a misunderstanding), another was "having insulted the Lord's prophet in particular and assumed authority over him in open violation of the Laws of God." Edward says this occurred "previous to said conference. If Br. Joseph has not forgiven him he hopes he will, as he is and has always been sorry."   Minutes of March 10, 1832
Differences settled   At a conference in Independence on April 26, 1832, attended by Joseph, Sidney, Jesse Gause, and Newel K. Whitney from Kirtland, Joseph is acknowledged as president of the High Priesthood. Edward Partridge extends the right hand of fellowship on behalf of the church in Zion. "All differences" are settled and "the hearts of all run together in love."   Minutes of April 26–27, 1832
Stuck in Greenville

Emma doesn't write,

McLellin abandons mission
  Then, on the return trip to Kirtland, the horses of the stage in which Joseph, Sidney, and Newel are riding, bolt and begin to run away. Joseph and Newel jump. Sidney remains in the coach. Newel's leg is badly broken. Sidney continues on to Kirtland, but Joseph remains with Newel in Greenville, Indiana from the middle of May to the middle of June. The situation was, Joseph wrote Emma, "very unpleasant." Emma didn't write and Joseph learned that William E. McLellin had abandoned his mission to get married.  

Joseph in Greenville, May–June 1832

  The letter    
Joseph, in Kirtland, writes W. W. Phelps in Independence   Joseph has received William's letter of June 30 and dictates a reply:   Joseph to W. W. Phelps, July 31, 1832 in
<i>Personal Writings of Joseph Smith</i>, rev. ed., compiled and edited by Dean C. Jessee &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002&#41;.
')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">PWJS, 269–276.
  I … cannot write my feelings, neither can toungue, or language paint them to you. I only can observe that I could wish, that my heart, & feelings thereof might for once be laid open before [you], as plain as your own natural face is to you by looking in a mirror;  
Joseph's relationship with God   verily I say unto you my only hope and confidence is in that God who gave me being in whom there is all power who now is present before me & my heart is naked before his eyes continually    
  he is my comfeter & he forsaketh me [270] not in the seventh trouble    
Has learned by sad experience

Don't trust others
  and in the mean time I have learned by sad exper<i>ance there is no confidence to be placed in in [sic] man that the spirit of man is as cold as the northern blast    
William cold and indifferent   and had I not considered the great care and multitude of business which is crowding upon your mind I could not excused the cold and indifferent manner in which your letter is written    
Not what Joseph needed   true you have expressed fellowship, but the spirit which I possess enjoy, the feeling of my soul enquires does this letter give me the important information which I stood in need of at the present critical moment …    
Joseph hot, afflicted   … let your own heart and the integrity of your own soul answer this question & excuse the warmth of feeling of your unworthy yet affectionate brother in the Lord travling through affliction and great tribulation …    
Safe arrivals in Zion   Joseph is pleased by "the little strength & information God has been pleseed to give through your letter," specifically that brethren from Kirtland and Nelson have arrived in Zion.    
Did not follow rules   However, Joseph is not happy with them because "they left here under this displeasure of heaven." Specifically, (1) they didn't get the requisite recommends before leaving, (2) the church in Zion received William E. McLellin into fellowship even though he hadn't fulfilled his mission, and (3):    

[271] … the unorganized & confused state in leaving here, and the evil surmisings which were among them & neglect of duty &c.


more then this I do not wish to mention,

Curse them  

now therefore the buffitings of the advesary be upon all those <among you> who are eniquitous persons and rebelious, I would inform them they do not have my right hand of fellowship

Knew of accident

Why didn't they write?
  Williams' letter alluded the Greenville accident and Newel's injury. Joseph would like to know "did any of you receive letters written by any of us informing you of the critical situation we were placed in." If they did, what action did they take? If not, have they written anything "to releave the mind of its painful anxciety concerning you." Specifically, "whether that fellowship and brotherly love continued among you towards us which you professed when we left you"?    
John Corrill's letter   True, after Joseph arrived in Kirtland, Sidney Gilbert delivered John Corrill's letter which:   As well as merchant, Sidney Gilbert is Kirtland's postmaster.
Devil at work

Rewards for journey

gave us this inteligence, that the Devel had been to work with all his inventive immagination to reward us for our toils in travling from this country to Zion amidst a crooked & perverse generation leaving our familys in affliction amidst of death upon the mercy of mobs & of brethren who you know sometimes are found to be u[n]stable unbeleiving, unmerciful & unkind,

Risked our lives  

and in this trying situation to keep in the commandment of God we took our lives in our hands and traveled through evry combination of wickedness to your country for your salvation

Devil stirred up Zion against us  

& for our travail & our toils, suffering & privations as I said before we learned by Broth Johns letter that the devel had set to work to reward us by stirring up your hearts (I mean those who were engaged in this wickedness)


We work tenderly

by raking up evry fault, which those eyes that are filled with beams could see in looking for motes in the eyes of those who are laboring with tender and <prayerful> hearts continually for there salvation

False charges raised by the devil

Our reward
  and not being content with bringing up those things which had been settled & forgiven & which they dare not bring to our faces but many with which we were [272] charged with were absolutely false & could not come from other sours than the father of all lies & this is the thanks & the reward the advisary saught to reward us    
Anxiety in Greenville

Newel without guile
  While detained in Greenville, Joseph often "wandered alone in the lonely places seeking consolation" from the Lord, while Newel, "who is without guile … poured out his soul with much weeping upon his pillow for you or for Zion."    
Heaven displeased   Joseph "viewed the conspiricy with much grief and learned the displeasure of heaven and veewed the frowns of the heavenly hosts upon Zion & upon all the earth."    
Joseph not guilty   He refuses to "fellowship" John's letter, "neither the spirit thereof." He is not guilty of the charges contained in it. He has not given offense nor caused jealousy or "evel surmisings." Instead he has been filled with anxiety for them and their welfare.    
Joseph's virtues   Joseph is "a lover of the cause of Christ and of virtue chastity and an upright steady course of conduct & a holy walk." He despises hypocrits and covenant breakers, but does not judge them. God will judge them.    
Love and pray for enemies  

I am a lover even of mine enemies for an enimy seeketh to destroy openly, I can pray for those who dispitefully use and persicute me,

Appeals to conscience, heaven  

Joseph exhorts his accusers in the love of Christ to remember their covenant. And if appealing to their consciences "by all the ties which bind man to man which are st[r]onger than death" isn't enough, he appeals to "heaven where he and Sidney and Newel will meet them.

Cares for their welfare   Joseph, Sidney, and Newel have only had "the purest desire for your welfare and do still."    
Sidney's suffering for them   Sidney had endured "much fateague & suffering" on their behalf. So when he learned the feelings of the brethren there,    
Sidney trusted, loved them  

in whom he had placed so much confidence … [273] … & whom he loved with so much love

Grieved by letter  

his heart was grieved his spirits failed & for a moment he became frantick & the advisary taking the advantage,

Spoke intemperately, resigned   he spake unadvisedly with his lips after receiving a severe chastisement resigned his commission and became a private member in the church,    
Suffered buffetings of Satan  

but has since repented like Peter of old and after a little suffering by the buffiting of the Satan has been restored to his high standing in the church of God,

Sidney's example   Sidney's example should be a warning to all.    
Edward seeks a sign  

… tell Bro Edward it is very dangerous for men who have received the light he has received to be a seeking a <after> sign, for there shall no sign be given for a sign except as it was in the days of Lot.

    God sent angels to lead his family out of Sodom as the wicked were destroyed by fire.    
Too many arrive   William complained that more have been arriving in Zion than can currently be supported.  

Peter caught Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, withholding part of the proceeds of the sale of their land and asked, "why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." On hearing that, Ananias fell dead, and when Peter confronted Sapphira, she likewise fell. Acts 5:1–10.

terms: Saints

Edward like Ananias and Sophria   Remind Edward of Ananias and Sophria.  
Wicked, unstable sisters, Mormon/Indian alliance  

remember also that your own wickedness hedge up your own ways, you suffer your children; your ignorant & unstable Sisters & weak members who are acquainted with your evil hearts of unbelief to write wicked and discouraging letters to there reletives who have a zeal but <not> according to knowledge and prophecy falsly which excites many to believe that you are putting up the Indians to slay Gentiles which exposes the lives of the Saints evry where

  They say God has been merciful. Then don't forget to revere his name.    
Original revelations   They asked Joseph to preserve the original copies of the commandments. He didn't send the rest or "the Vision" because   the Vision: D&C 76


Revelations snatched


I have much care and tribulation calculated to weigh down and distroy the mind and in times past they have been snatched from under my hand as soon as given

Will send
  Joseph will send them as soon as possible,    
Don't change meaning   but I will exhort you to be careful not to alter the sense of any of them for he that adds or diminishes to the propecies must come under the condemnation written therein.   The Literary Firm had decided Phelps, Cowdery, and John Whitmer would edit the revelations. Minutes of April 30, 1832
The translation   you mention concerning the translation I would inform you that they will not go from under my hand during my natural life for correction, revisal or printing   the translation: Joseph's revision of the Bible
Frederick scribe  

[274] Brother Frederick is working as scribe.

  Frederick began July 20.
New Testament done  

we have finished the translation of the New testament great and marvilous glorious things are revealed

Old Testament going well   They are making "rapid strides" on the Old Testament.    
God sends sickness to heal   The enemy is settling down. God has been merciful and made them "mighty to the pulling down the strong hold of Satan, having sent down the Angel of God to trouble the waters that a few more sick folk may be healed."    
God's cholera   God is reaching out to judge the earth. Cholera is striking hundreds a day in New York. It is raging in Boston, Charleston, Rochester, Albany, and Buffalo, and all large cities in the East.    
Detroit devestation   Sister Elmira Scoba writes from Detroit that hundreds of families are fleeing to the country even as the rural folk tear up bridges and even shoot people's horses to keep them out.    
  When two steam boats full of soldiers on their way to the Indian expedition docked, fifty of them died and the remaining six hundred can't find housing in the city. They die in sheds and fields and lie buried.    
Indian rampage   Indians rampage unopposed.    
Cholera in Great Lakes region   [275] Cholera and dysentary prevails on the boats navigating the lakes.    
Missionary success   Brethren in the East report God is with them, "pulling down the strong holds of Satan."    
Lyman and Orson   Lyman Johnson (h) and Orson Pratt (h) are "building up the cause of God wherever they go and healing the sick." They have baptized over sixty since they left, and many others are finding success as well—"proof of their faithfulness."  
General counsel   Joseph exhorts Oliver and John to "be ware of seducing spirits," "stand firm in the liberity wherein they have been set free and never be weary in well doing," which is what he would say to all in Zion who "love the appearing of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ."    
Kirtland strong

  Joseph held a meeting in Kirtland last Sunday. The brethren there are strong in the faith. Sister Elliott and Sidney's second daughter had been given up for dead by two doctors, but they were restored by the prayer of faith.  
Sarah Jackson with Smiths   Sister Sarah Jackson came to live with Joseph's family yesterday.  
Prayers for Zion

People seek refuge
  The Saints pray for you daily, even hourly, in this "day of calamity" when people are so fearful their hearts almost fail them and they seek a place of refuge and safety.  
John Whitmer to report statistics   Joseph asks John Whitmer to get an exact count of the number in Zion, how many have received inheritances, the condition of each branch, and send it to him in writing [276] as soon as possible. It would not be wise to publish the report.  
Keep history   John should also remember his responsibility "to keep a history of the Church & the gathering."    
Joseph's Letters

Home | Joseph | Bios | Beliefs & Practices | Chron | NY | Ohio | Missouri | Missions | Sources | Top

Dale R. Broadhurst | Far West | JS Writings | BYU Mormon Studies | More
Dialogue | JWHA | LDS Church | MHA | Signature Books | Sunstone