1834

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Joseph Smith-Orthography

To Edward, Williams, and others of the firm.

Kirtland, March 30, 1834.

Dear Brethren:

We have received several communications from you of late; but the most of us being absent, brother Oliver laid them over till council could be had; and I now seat myself to dictate to answer them all in one.

Since brothers, Parley & Lyman, arrived I have written a few lines with my own hand in letters which have already gone: one from this place, and one from Freedom N.Y. but was not able to write the more weighty matters, and did not think to say anything more than to comfort your hearts if possible, and keep you from fainting, while God, in his wisdom, and in the order of his providence, is preparing all things before his face for the redemption of Zion. We rejoice greatly on learning that you and the brethren, so many of them, are yet spared in the midst of those who wear the form of human beings, but are less merciful than the prowling beast of the wilderness. We would inform you that with very few exceptions the Church in this place are all well; and every man, woman & child, that belongs to the Church, as far as I have any knowledge of the matter, are crying day & night to God for the deliverance and prosperity of Zion; and many are preparing with all zeal to do all that lies in their power to accomplish the great work, and it will be seen in due time, that the saints in this region are not slack towards you considering their circumstances, & their great poverty, & afflictions & persecutions with which they are called to suffer in this part as well as you in that region; for the more we try to live Godly in Christ Jesus, the more we are made to feel the weight of persecution, inflicted by those who are under the influence of the enemy of the souls of men. But let this suffice: I shall proceed first to answer some of the most important items contained in your last communications, the more part which gave us much satisfaction. We admire the confidence & love which our brethren have manifested in them, in giving us sharp, piercing, & cutting reproofs, which are calculated to wake us up & make us search about ourselves, & put a double watch over ourselves in all things that we do. And we acknowledge that it is our duty to receive all reproofs & chastisements given of the spirit of the most Holy One. And if being chastised and reproved of what we are guilty, seems not to be joyous for the present but grievous, O, how wounding, & how poignant must it be to receive chastisements & reproofs, for things that we are not guilty of from a source we least expect them, arising from a distrustful, a fearful, & jealous spirit. However, we feel to make all allowances, & reflect seariously & consider upon all sides before we make an effort to throw off the yoke, lest we should be found in anywise blamable before God. There are some items contained in bro. William's letters by the way of reproof, that we feel to give, we think some reasonable excuses, that you may know how far you have reason to give reproof, that you may not have wrong feelings concerning those to whom you are espoused in Christ Jesus who always will be found true to all confidence that shall be imposed in them.

Firstly, you have given us to understand that there are glaring errors in the Revelation, or rather, have shown us the most glaring ones, which are not calculated to suit the refinement of the age in which we live, of the great men, &c. We would say, by way of excuse, that we did not think so much of the orthography, or the manner, as we did of the subject matter; as the word of God means what it says; & it is the word of God, as much as Christ was God, although he was born in a stable, & was rejected by the manner of his birth, notwithstanding he was God. What a mistake! the manner of his birth, & the source from which he sprang caused him to be rejected & cast out, & to be taken & put to death. Whereas had he pleased the great men, the high priests, the lawyers, & the learned, he might have escaped. But supposing we should happen to make as great a mistake as the Lord did, & come under the censure of big men & fall in the same way, what would be the consequence? The fact was, there was no room in the Inn; & when man cannot do as they would, they must do as they can; for God set the example before them.

For there was no room in the Inn! but there was room found in the stable; & here was utterly a fault in the eyes of the ["] laughing philosophers;" but it is not given to us to understand that he altered his course to please any man. And who was it that triumphed? was it the "laughing philosophers," or him who never deviated from the will of him who sent him? Now the fact is, if we have made any mistakes in punctuation, or spelling, it has been done in consequence of brother Oliver, having come from Zion in great afflictions, through much fatigue and anxiety, and being sent contrary to his expectations to New York, and obtai[ni]ng press and Types, and hauling them up in the midst of mobs, when he and I, and all the church in Kirtland had to lie every night for a long time upon our arms to keep off mobs, of forties, of eighties, & of hundreds to save our lives and the press, and that we might not be scattered & driven to the four winds! And all this in the midst of every kind of confusion & calamity, & in the sorrowful tale of Zion, for the sake of Zion, that the word of God might be printed & sent forth by confidential brethren to the different churches; for the churches are just like you—they will not receive anything but by revelation! for when you hint they will ask a question, and if by any means in the heat of zeal you would hit them a kick it never fails to turn over the dish. Therefore, when we give them a hint, and they ask a question, we sometimes answer them plainly; but all this is a wonder and a mystery; but it wont do to kick, therefore to unfold the mystery we must of necessity send out the word of the mystery we must of God unto the different churches, or they could not be made to understand, that they, with their moneys, and their young men & their middle aged, must, in order to do the will of God, redeem the land which had been purchased, & the children of Zion—and if by chance in doing all this we should have to suffer peril by false brethren. For men are as liable in this generation to turn aside from the holy commandments, as were the children of Israel when Aaron bought the golden calf at the expense of all the jewelry, & riches of the children of Israel, while Moses tarried yet forty days in the mount, that he might receive the law of the everlasting gospel upon tables of stone, written by the finger of of God, while they, the children of Israel, were delivered over, & bowed down and worshiped the dumb idol, and said, These be our Gods that brought us up out of the land of Egypt. And Moses being angry destroyed the tables of stone, and the golden calf and made the children of Israel drink the substance of their God, which they said brought them up out of the land of Egypt. Therefore, I say, if we should suffer peril among false brethren, should it be accounted a strange thing? But here comes up another question, a great mystery! How did the revelation come to be garbled by the printers of the day, published and sent to Jackson Co. and elsewhere? But if all these things, upon a little reflection had been rightly considered and understood, there would have been no mystery, nor any question asked. Not a sigh—not a lingering thought—not a grief, or a single reflection cast upon the innocent, a virgin, the spouse of Zion! Suffice it to say, that the revelation went into the hands of the world by stealth, through the means of false brethren, and lest it should reach the ears of the President and Governor, with a false coloring, being misrepresented, wisdom dictated that we should send it in its own proper light. And if truth, and the word of God will not bear off the Palms and bring us the victory, shall we, who profess to be men of God condescend to folly? Shall we turn aside from the word of God and seek to save our lives, and that we may please men? If men will seek occasion against the truth, will they not seek occasion even if we should shun the truth? The fact is, beloved brethren, we seek not gold or silver or this world's goods, nor honors nor the applause of men; but we seek to please him, and to do the will of him who hath power not only to destroy the body; but to cast the soul into hell! Ah! men should not attempt to steady the ark of God! But enough on this subject.

Now concerning employing Mr. Wells of Jefferson C'ty. as counsellor &c. We think it would be advisable. You may consider that you have our consent: We speak to wise men! Judge ye what we say! Employ, then, Mr. Wells, and although we have neither gold nor silver, we have run into debt for the press, and also to obtain money to pay the New York debt for Zion, and have received but a very few dollars for the Star and printing as yet, no means of speculation to gain or make money, yet we think that the money can be had, and that there will be no difficulty on this subject: and this, while you are writing to us to reprove us, and telling us, that your dependence for money is on your eastern brethren, and at the same time saying "Dont buy your gold too dear!" this is the way that we buy our gold! Now, brethren, let me tell you, that it is my disposition to give and forgive, and to bear & to forbear, with all long suffering and patience, with the foibles, follies, weaknesses, & wickedness of my brethren and all the world of mankind; and my confidence and love toward you is not slackened, nor weakened. And now, if you should be called upon to bear with us a little in any of our weaknesses and follies, and should, with us, receive a rebuke to yourselves, dont be offended, dont in anywise let it hit you, so as to turn over the dish! And when you & I meet face to face, I anticipate, without the least doubt, that all matters between us will be fairly understood, and perfect love prevail; and [the] sacred covenant by which we are bound together, have the uppermost seat in our hearts.

We expect that a number of our able brethren will come on soon and go to Zion; and should you have no other way of obtaining moneys, you can sell them your lands, let them go on to them, protect them on the same, till your suits are determined, and then, (if you succeed) you will have means to purchase more, and if not they will receive you into their bosoms. We see no other way now; but the Lord may open other ways in time. Brs. Parley and Lyman are both in the east; but we expect they will leave here for the west by the first of may, and go as soon as they can, so should you be organized by the time they arrive, perhaps it would be well. You must act wisdom for yourselves in many things, as you are better prepared to judge in many things than we are. Many things are familiar with some of us, which we cannot communicate by letter; but will be brought about in their times. You ought to be prepared to go back at a moment's warning, and we are inclined to think that it was a wise step in employing the Att'y Gen. for he will investigate and learn the truth, and then [the] Governor will investigate also.

Once more I design coming unto [you]; but when, it has not been revealed: whether it will be with Parley & Lyman I cannot now say; but once more I design to come mob or no mob, enemy or no enemy! There needs be no difficulty in relation to the revelations; for they show plainly from the face of them, that no blood is to be shed except in self-defense; and that the law of God as well as man gives us a privilege. If you make yourselves acquainted with the revelations, you will see that this is the case, though we should not publish any more than we are obliged to of necessity for the Church's sake. We have nothing to fear if we are faithful: God will strike through kings in the day of his wrath but what he will deliver his people; and what do you suppose he could do with a few mobbers in Jackson County, where, ere long, he will set his feet, when earth & heaven shall tremble!

Be united, brethren, in all your moves, and stand by each other even unto death that you may prevail.

I remain your brother in the new covenant.

Joseph Smith, Jun.

P.S. To bro. William——You say "my press, my types, &c." Where, our brethren ask, did you get them, & how came they to be "yours?" No hardness, but a caution, for you know, that it is, We, not I, and all things are the Lord's, and he opened the hearts of his Church to furnish these things, or we should not have been privileged with using them.