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Joseph Smith-Letter To William Phelps

Kirtland, January 11, 1833.

BBrother William W. Phelps,

I send you the olive leaf which we have plucked from the tree of paradise, the Lord's message of peace to us; for though our brethren in Zion, indulge in feelings towards us, which are not according to the requirements of the new covenant; yet, we have the satisfaction of knowing that the Lord approves of us, and has accepted us, and established his name in Kirtland for the salvation of the nations; for the Lord will have a place, from whence his word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in his sight, he will seek another people, for his work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear his voice, must expect to feel his wrath. Let me say unto you, seek to purify yourselves, and also all the inhabitants of Zion, lest the Lord's anger be kindled to fierceness. Repent, repent is the voice of God to Zion; and yet, strange as it may appear yet, it is true, mankind will persist in self justification until all their iniquity is exposed, and their character past being redeemed, and that which is treasured up in their hearts be exposed to the gaze of mankind. I say to you, (and what I say to you, I say to all) hear the warning voice of God, lest Zion fall, and the Lord swear in his wrath the inhabitants of Zion shall not enter into my rest.

The brethren in Kirtland pray for you unceasingly, for, knowing the terrors of the Lord, they greatly fear for you: you will see that the Lord commanded us, in Kirtland, to build an house of God, and establish a school for the prophets. This is the word of the Lord to us, and we must, yea, the Lord helping us, we will obey: as on conditions of our obedience he has promised us great things; yea, even a visit from the heavens to honor us with his own presence. We greatly fear before the Lord lest we should fail of this great honor, which our Master proposes to confer on us; we are seeking for humility and great faith lest we be ashamed in his presence. Our hearts are greatly grieved at the spirit which is breathed, both in your letter, and that of Brother Gilberts; the very spirit which is wasting the strength of Zion like a pestilence; and if it is not detected and driven from you, it will ripen Zion for the threatened judgments of God. Remember God sees the secret springs of human action, and knows the hearts of all living.

Brother suffer us to speak plainly, for God has respect to the feelings of his saints, and he will not suffer them to be tantalized with impunity. Tell Brother Gilbert that low insinuations, God hates; but he rejoices in an honest heart, and knows better who is guilty than he does. We send him this warning voice, and let him fear greatly for himself, lest a worse thing overtake him; all we can say by way of conclusion, is, if the fountain of our tears are not dried up, we will still weep for Zion. This from your brother who trembles for Zion, and for the wrath of heaven, which awaits her if she repent not.

P. S. I am not in the habit of crying peace, when there is no peace, and knowing the threatened judgments of God; I say wo unto them who are at ease in Zion; fearfulness will speedily lay hold of the hypocrite. I did not expect that you had lost the commandments, but thought from your letters you had neglected to read them, otherwise you would not have written as you did.

It is in vain to try to hide a bad spirit from the eyes of them who are spiritual, for it will shew itself in speaking and in writing, as well as all our other conduct. It is also needless to make great pretensions when the heart is not right, the Lord will expose it to the view of his faithful saints. We wish you to render the Star as interesting as possible, by setting forth the rise, progress, and faith of the church, as well as the doctrine; for if you do not render it more interesting, than at present, it will fall, and the church suffer a great loss thereby.

JOSEPH SMITH, jr. HC 1:316-317