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An Epistle of the Twelve


To the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the Isle of Man, Greeting:—

Beloved Brethren,—Inasmuch as we have been laboring for some time in this country, and most of us are about to depart for the land of our nativity; and feeling anxious for your welfare and happiness in time and in eternity, we cheerfully offer you our counsel in the closing number of the first volume of the Star, hoping you will peruse it when we are far away, and profit by the same.

First of all, we would express our joy and thanksgiving to Him who rules and knows the hearts of men, for the heed and dilligence with which the saints in this country have hearkened to the counsel of those whom God has seen fit to send among them, and who hold the keys of this ministry. By this means a spirit of union, and consequently of power, has been generally cultivated among you.

And now let the saints remember that which we have ever taught them, both by precept and example, viz: to beware of an aspiring spirit, which would lift you up one above another; to seek to be the greatest in the kingdom of God. This is that spirit which hurleddown the angels—it is that spirit with actuates all the churches of the sectarian world, and most of the civil and military movements of the men of the world—it is that spirit which introduces rebellion, confusion, misrule, and disunion, and would, if suffered to exist among us, destroy our union, and consequently our power, which flows from the spirit, through the priesthood—which spirit, and power, and priesthood, can only exist with the humble and meek of the earth.

Therefore beware, O ye priests of the Most High! lest ye are overcome by that spirit which would exalt you above your fellow-laborers, and thus hurl you down to perdition, or do much injury to the cause of God. Be careful to respect, not the eloquence—not the smooth speeches—not the multitude of words—not the talents of men: but be careful to respect the officers which God has placed in the church. Let the members hearken to their officers, let the priests, teachers, and deacons hearken to the elders, and let the elders, hearken to the presiding officers of each church or conference. And let all the churches and conferences hearken to the counsel of those who are still left in this country to superintend the affairs of the church; and by so doing, a spirit of union will be preserved, and peace and prosperity will attend the people of God.

We have seen fit to appoint our beloved brethren and fellow-laborers, Levi Richards and Lorenzo Snow, to travel from conference to conference, and to assist brother Pratt in the general superintendence of the church in this country. These are men of experience and soundness of principle, in whose counsel the church may place entire confidence, so long as they uphold them by the prayer of faith.

The spirit of emigration has actuated the children of men from the time our first parents were expelled from the garden until now; it was this spirit that first peopled the plains of Shinar, and all other places; yes, it was emigration that first broke upon the deathlike silence and loneliness of an empty earth, and caused the desolate land to teem with life, and the desert to smile with joy. It was emigration that first peopled England,—once a desolate island, on which the foot of man had never trod, but now abounding in towns and cities. It was emigration that turned the wilds of America into a fruitful field, and besprinkled the wilderness with flourishing towns and cities, where a few years since the war whoop of the savage, or the howl of wild beasts was heard in the distance. In short, it is emigration that is the only effectual remedy for the evils which now afflict the over-peopled countries of Europe. With this view of the subject, the saints, as well as thousands of others, seem to be actuated with the spirit of enterprise and emigration, and as some of them are calculating to emigrate to America, and settle in the colonies of our brethren, we would here impart a few words of counsel on the subject of emigration.

It will be necessary, in the first place for men of capital to go on first and make large purchases of land, and erect mills, machinery, manufactories, &c. so that the poor who go from this country can find employment.—Therefore it is not wisdom for the poor to flock to that place extensively, until the necessary preparations are made. Neither is it wisdom for those who feel a spirit of benevolence to expend all their means in helping others emigrate, and thus all arrive in a new country empty handed. In all settlements there must be capital and labour united in order to flourish. The brethten will recollect that they are not going to enter upon cities already built up, but are going to "build cities and inhabit them." Building cities cannot be done without means and labor.

On this subject we would call the particular attention of the saints to the epistle, and also to the proclamation, signed by the first presidency of the church, published in the eleventh number of this work; and would earnestly exhort them to observe the order and instructions there given. We would also exhort the saints not to go in haste, nor by flight, but to prepare all things in a proper manner before they emigrate; and especially in regard to their dealing with the world, let them be careful to settle everything honestly as becometh saints, as far as lies in their power, and not go away in debt, so far as they have the means to pay. And if any go away in debt, because they have not means to pay, let it be with the design of paying as industry shall put it in their power, so that the cause of truth be not evil spoken of.

We have found that there are so many "pick pockets," and so many that will take every possible advantage of strangers, in Liverpool, that we have appointed Elder Amos Fielding as the agent of the church, to superintend the fitting out of the saints from Liverpool to America. Whatever information the saints may want about the preparations for a voyage, they are advised to call on Elder Fielding, at Liverpool, as their first movement, when they arrive there as emigrants. There are some brethren who have felt themselves competent to do their own business in these matters, and rather despising the counsel of their friends, have been robbed and cheated out of nearly all they had. A word of caution to the wise is sufficient. It is also a great saving to go in companies, instead of going individually.—First, a company can charter a vessel, so as to make the passage much cheaper than otherwise. Secondly, provisions can be purchased at wholesale for a company much cheaper than otherwise. Thirdly, this will avoid bad company on the passage. Fourthly, when a company arrives in New Orleans they can charter a steam-boat so as to reduce the passage near one-half. This measure will save some hundreds of pounds on each ship load. Fifthly, a man of experience can go as leader of each company, who will know how to avoid rogues and knaves.

Sovereigns are more profitable than silver or any other money in emigrating to America; and the brethren are also cautioned against the American money, when they arrive in that country. let them not venture to take paper money of that country until they become weil informed in regard to the different banks; for very few of them will pass current very far from the place where they were issued, and banks are breaking almost daily. It is much cheaper going by New Orleans than by New York. But it will never do for emigrants to go by New Orleans in the summer on account of the heat and sickness of the climate. It is, therefore, advisable for the saints to emigrate in Autumn, Winter, or Spring. Let the saints be careful also to obtain a letter of recommendation, from the elders, where they are acquainted, to the brethren where they are going, certifying their membership, and let the elders be careful not to recommend any who do not conduct themselves as saints; and especially those who would go with a design to defraud their creditors.

In regard to ordaining and licensing officers, each conference is now organised, under the care of their respective presidents, who, with the voice of the church, may ordain, according to the gifts and callings of God, by the holy spirit, and under the general superintendance of Elders Pratt, Richards and Snow. Licenses should be signed by the presiding officers.

There are many other items of importance, which we would gladly mention, had we time and space sufficient, but this must suffice for the present; and may the God of our fathers bless you all with wisdom and grace, to act each your part in the great work which lies before us, that the world may be warned, and thousands brought to the knowledge of the truth; and may he bless and preserve you blameless until the day of his coming. Brethren and sisters pray for us. We remain your brethren in the new and everlasting covenant.










Manchester, (Eng.) April 15 1841.

A special conference was held in Nauvoo on the 29 ult. an account of which will be given in the next No. of the Times and Seasons.

Times and Seasons, vol. 3 November 1841—October 1842 pp. 894-896