W. W. Phelps to Sally Phelps
Letters from W. W. Phelps to his wife, Sally Phelps
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We are fortunate in being able to print in this issue [Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine] copies of some letters over 100 years old, written from Kirtland, Ohio, by William W. Phelps to his wife, Sally (Waterman) Phelps, then in Missouri. There she had remained in charge of home affairs, while he performed the duties to which he had been called in Kirtland.
These letters give a delightfully intimate glimpse of what was in the mind and heart of William W. Phelps during those fateful days while the temple at Kirtland was being built, and graphically portray their daily routine and living conditions. The notes enclosed with the first letter were signed by Oliver Cowdery, a prominent leader in the early days of the Church.
The author of the letters, William Wines Phelps, was born February 17, 1792, at Hanover, Morris County, New Jersey. He was the son of Enon Phelps (Elijah, Noah, Timothy, Timothy, William, William, James) and Mehitable Goldsmith. Early in life he was a candidate for the office of lieutenant-governor of New York. He was baptized into the Church in June, 1831, and undertook a mission to Jackson County, Missouri, where he located as a printer, and published a monthly paper, “The Evening and Morning Star,” the first number of which appeared in June, 1832. While he was attending to his duties at the printing office, on July 20, a mob attacked his house, which contained the printing equipment, and pulled it partly down, seized the printing materials, destroyed many papers, and threw his family and furniture out of doors. Again on July 23, the mob renewed their depredations, and William W. Phelps and others offered themselves as a ransom for the Saints, being willing to be scourged, or to die, if that would appease the anger of the mob. The mob would not accept this sacrifice, however, but continued to utter threats of violence against the whole Church.
This persecution culminated in the Saints being driven from their homes in Jackson County, in November, 1833. Mob leaders warned Brother Phelps and others to flee for their lives, or they would be killed. Despite repeated appeals, which Elder Phelps helped to frame, to the governor of Missouri, and to the president of the United States, no protection or redress was ever given them.
When the exiled Saints in Clay County were organized into a stake, David Whitmer was chosen president, with William W. Phelps and John Whitmer as counselors. He took a prominent part in all matters pertaining to the welfare of the Saints in Missouri.
In the early part of 1835, he and his son Waterman were called to Kirtland, where they made their home with the family of the Prophet Joseph Smith and assisted a committee appointed to compile the “Book of Doctrine and Covenants.” About this time, Elder Phelps subscribed $500 toward the erection of the Kirtland Temple. When the Church purchased the Egyptian mummies and papyrus from Michael H. Chandler in 1835, William W. Phelps served as one of the scribes in the translation by Joseph Smith of the “Book of Abraham.”
It was at this period that the letters to follow were written.
William W. Phelps married Sally Waterman, April 28, 1815, at Smyrna, Chenango County, New York. Just recently there issued from the press Volume I of “The Waterman Family,” by Donald Lines Jacobus. This shows her as a daughter of David Basset Waterman (Flavius, Ebenezer, Thomas, Thomas, Robert) and Jerusha Case (daughter of Roger and Molly (Owen) Case), and her date of birth as July 24, 1797.
Among their children were William Waterman, Sabrina, Mehitable and Lydia, mentioned in the letters.
The heading of the first letter is missing. [See W. W. Phelps’ letters dated 14 Aug 1835 and 18 Dec 1835] . . . .
William W. Phelps was an early pioneer and colonizer to Utah, and served repeatedly in the Legislature. He also wrote a number of our best known hymns. He died at his home in Salt Lake City, March 6, 1872. His wife, Sally, did not survive him long, dying January 2, 1874. A few days after her husband’s death, she penned the following message to Judge Oliver Seymour Phelps, of Portland, Oregon, one of the compilers of the “Phelps Family.”
Salt Lake City, 18 March 1872.
Dear Friend: I received your kind letter and was glad to hear from you. I have to inform you that Mr. Phelps died the sixth day of March, and will have a part in the first resurrection of Saints and Apostles.
Through all his fightings and doings he has died at a good old age. Peace to his memory.
SALLY PHELPS. LETTERS OF FAITH FROM KIRTLAND
During 1835 and the early part of 1836, the Saints were bending every effort toward the completion of the Kirtland Temple. Many of the brethren left their homes and families and came to Kirtland to assist in completing the House of the Lord. Among others was William W. Phelps. At that time he was the father of seven living children, ranging in age from nineteen years to three months; their home was near Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. Brother Phelps took with him their eldest son, William Waterman Phelps (then twelve years of age) also to assist in building the temple. His wife, Sally Waterman Phelps, and the other children were left alone for nearly a year. During his absence, Brother Phelps frequently wrote to his family and many of his letters have been preserved. They graphically portray the courage and faith of the Saints during those trying times. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
[In a letter written by William W. Phelps this day from Kirtland, Ohio, to his wife, Sally Waterman Phelps, whom he had left in Liberty, Missouri, he writes:]
You are not aware how much sameness there is among the Saints in Kirtland. They keep the Word of Wisdom in Kirtland; they drink cold water, and don’t even mention tea and coffee; they pray night and morning and everything seems to say: Behold the Lord is nigh. But it is hard living here; flour costs from $6.00 to $7.00 a barrel and cows from $20.00 to $30.00 a head. It is a happy thing that I did not move back, for everything here is so dear. Our brethren are so poor and hard for money that it would have been more than I could have done to maintain my family. . . .
A new idea, Sally, if you and I continue faithful to the end, we are certain to be one in the Lord throughout eternity; this is one of the most glorious consolations we can have in the flesh.
[Under this date Elder W. W. Phelps, writing to his wife, Sally, in Liberty, Clay County, Missouri says:]
The Elders are constantly coming and going. Last week, Elders Simeon Carter and Solomon Hancock started for the East. Bishop Partridge and Councillor Isaac Morley will start soon: Elder Amasa M. Lyman came in last week. Elders Peter Dustin and James Emmett arrived last week and Elder Oziel Stevens this week.
President Smith preached last Sabbath and I gave him the text; “This is my beloved son: hear ye him!” He preached one of the greatest sermons I ever heard; it was about 3 1/2 hours long–and unfolded more mysteries than I can write at this time.
The congregations of the Saints at Kirtland are larger than any we used to have at Canandaigua, Ontario Co. N.Y., and when any of the world come in, we have what may well be called “a large congregation.”
[The Prophet Joseph Smith added the following to this letter:]
Cousin Almyra Scoby:
Bro. Wm. W. Phelps has left a little space for me to occupy and I gladly improve it. I would be glad to see the children of Zion and deliver the work of Eternal Life to them from my own mouth, but cannot this year. Nevertheless the day will come that I shall enjoy this privilege I trust; and we all shall receive an inheritance in the land of refuge, which is so much to be desired, seeing it is under the direction of the Almighty, therefore let us live faithful before the Lord and it shall be well with us. I feel for all the children of Zion and pray for them in all my prayers. Peace be multiplied unto them, redemption and favor from God, Amen. (signed) Joseph Smith Jr. (Document on file in Historian’s Office)
Note: [As a postscript to this letter Elder Phelps adds:] N.B. If I was able to bear the expense, I would write weekly, but it would cost $12.50 both ways; I cannot afford it.
Monday, July 20, 1835 [The following is extracted from a letter written by Wm. W. Phelps at Kirtland, Ohio, to his wife Sally at Liberty, Missouri:] On the 4th inst. Brothers Peter Brownell and David Shibley, who went up this spring from Pennsylvania to Missouri, brought tidings from the region of Zion up to June 12th by which we learned that the spirit of Satan had started the elders to do what they ought not to do and leave undone that which they ought to do.
On Sunday the 12th inst. we received news by Brother William Tippets up to the 30th of June. He came through in eleven days and 12 hours, the shortest passage known. . . . He gave us all the intelligence we could wish which caused us all to rejoice. He stated that my letter had checked the elders in their crusade for exaltation. . . .
The weather here [Kirtland] is variable hot and cold; the lake breezes come almost as cold as winter. Haying has commenced, but harvest, I do not think, will begin until one or two weeks hence.
Kirtland, Ohio July 19 and 20, 1835
Last evening we received your first letter after an absence of twelve weeks and twelve hours. Our tears of joy were the witness of its welcome reception. By these things we learn the value of each other’s society and company, and friendship, and virtue. Taking the letter altogether, with all its candor and information and remembered names, it is, by all who have read it, called a very good one. Brother Joseph remarked that it was as easy to shed tears while reading that letter as it was when reading the history of Joseph in Egypt. . . .
My affection for you and my children grows very fast. I mean it grows purer and more ardent. I want you to send for Elder Calvin Beebe as soon as you receive this and have Sarah baptized. [He acknowledges letters from the two older girls, Sabrina and Mehitabel and then continues]: Sarah, Henry, James and Lydia–I must wait to see them a good while yet. They have my tears and mother’s smiles until I come, with the blessings of the Lord. . . . I hope and pray that the children will be diligent and learn well this summer.
You say the roof of the house leaks; I have written to have another good roof put on over the one now on. You can get 12 penny nails out of the goods at Brother Corrill’s; and anything else that you actually need that is among those goods, get and use and I will settle the matter. . . .
I was sorry to hear that the cupboard fell down because I forgot to nail it, but now it is so. If there is not crockery enough at Brother Corrill’s, go to Liberty and replenish it. . . .
I rejoice that that little branch of the Church had the Spirit of God to reject the temptations of Satan. The Lord will remember their constancy. Teacher Music [could possibly be Samuel Musick] is right that you need our prayers and we need yours, for by faith and prayer and every good word and work, we can enter into the joys of our Lord. . . .
I am much pleased that Elder Peter Whitmer stepped forth to vindicate the cause of the Saints; God will bless him for all such noble acts. He that will do good can do it without a commandment. The fact is, the Saints must work righteousness. . . .
The elders are mostly out a preaching. Elder Corrill, Newel Knight and Elias Higbee work upon the House of the Lord. Elder Emmett goes to school. Elder Morris Phelps and Priest Duncan arrived last week. We have just learned that Bishop Partridge and Elder Morley are back. . . .
The last of June, four Egyptian mummies were brought here; there were two papyrus rolls, besides some other ancient Egyptian writings with them. As no one could translate these writings, they were presented to President Smith. He soon knew what they were and said they, the “rolls of papyrus,” contained the sacred record kept of Joseph in Pharaoh’s court in Egypt, and the teachings of Father Abraham. God has so ordered it that these mummies and writings have been brought in the Church and the sacred writing I had just locked up in Brother Joseph’s house when your letter came, so I had two consolations of good things in one day. These records of old times, when we translate and print them in a book, will make a good witness for the Book of Mormon. There is nothing secret or hidden that shall not be revealed, and they come to the Saints. . . .
Forever yours, W. W. Phelps
Dear Mother and Sisters: I now take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well and thankful to God for it. Father received your letter Saturday the 18th and I was glad to hear from you and find you are all well. . .
Kirtland has altered since we lived here it is a growing very fast indeed, but I do not like it as well as home [Missouri] nor any other place that I have seen.
Our journey here was not as great as it might have been but I thank the Lord that we got here safe.
I have sent some paper to Henry Rollins and to you.
The building of the House [Kirtland Temple] is going on very fast. Brother Smith and Higbee say it is a large House. I assure you they are now to work on the steeple. Give my respects to all the [word unintelligible] and to Iva and to Henry, Sarah, [unintelligible] and Lydia tell them I long to see the time when I shall return home to live. I mean to live faithful if I can. I live now at President Smiths.
There are now three stores in the town [Kirtland], two of them belong to the church. They hold meetings in the House [Kirtland Temple] now.
We had not got any letter from home that some we got your letter. I have your papers nearly every time to you and Henry P. I do not know when we shall return home. Tell Iva that I get along as well as I should in this world. Father has got him [several words unintelligible]. From your affectionate son. William Waterman Phelps. Sally Phelps, Sabrina Phelps, Mahetable Phelps, Sarah Phelps, Henry Phelps, James Phelps, Lydia Phelps
I must stop in the middle of my letter. Sally will remember that before we came into the church, we both dreamed in one night; I, that I fed against flock of sheep in a great Mill; and you, that you drank water out of a well and watered many cattle: While I feed the sheep, and I forgot to water the cattle–. . .
Be careful of your words: I dreamed the other night that Nephi said “How do you do Br. Phelps?” I answered “I do as well as I can.” To which he replies–“He doth as well as he can, that followeth the direction of the Holy Spirit and keepeth all the commandments of the Lord and his only.”
By the first elder or any honest person that is coming this way, tell James H. Rollins to send me all the Rice pencils which may be among the goods &c. I hate to stop but must.
W. W. Phelps
The three Presidents of Zion act for her good whether in Zion, Kirtland, or England and have a right to spirit in regulating the affairs of her stakes. Therefore, when any one attempts to meddle with her affairs, they will be held to an account before God.
W. W. Phelps
Letter address to Sally [W. W.] Phelps, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. Dated Kirtland Mills, August 14 (1835). . . .
(Kirtland Mills, August 14, 1835)
. . . they may be saved with you, for they will be your joy with God, and for each that comes into the Kingdom, you shall have a star in your crown. That is if you keep them in the Kingdom, you shall have a star in your crown. Babies are always in the Kingdom until they transgress when they have come to years of accountability. Well might the Psalmist exclaim: “Lo children are the heritage of God.” How necessary, then, that every pain be taken, and every means used to keep them in the Kingdom; and to obey the requisitions of the Gospel that parents may come into the presence of God and bring all their sheaves with them; for all their pain, then, they will receive joy; for all the sorrow, pleasure; for all the tribulations, blessings; and for all their children, “stars.” Methinks Solomon knew this when he penned the third verse of the 6th chapter of Ecclesiastes: for if we should not go to heaven with our children, we should have no joy with them; and if we should go without them we should lack that glory.
Hence I entreat you with all the affection I have for you and “our” children to keep them in the way they should go, that all of us may come in to the bliss of God together, with songs of everlasting joy.
I know the task of training up children right before the Lord is too much for a woman, and was I not confident of your virtue and capability, I should feel very uneasy, but your piety and prudence is so well known to me, that I know you will do all in your power to gratify my feelings in bringing up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord: to be obedient, to be wise, to be good, and to be pure in heart. It may be supposed, and I know, and you know, that if we had nothing to do but save ourselves, we could do it pretty easy; but where much is given, much will be required, and instead of saving myself only, I must labor faithfully to save others, that I may obtain a crown of “many stars.”
This shows you that the order of heaven has great men, even principal men, who do much and have much glory; and you being my legal wife, if you continue as you have begun, and I know you will, you are next to me; are my equal, all save my power and authority, and you participate in my glory. O, then, who would not labor for the Lord? You are in a great place and if you labor to be so you will be great with me and great with God. Do so, Sally, for your sake, and for my sake, and for Jesus’ sake. Sabrina and Mehitabel are in the right age to be light, and vain, when the current of vice and folly can easily overflow, but be strict with them, even as I, and you will keep them in the Kingdom as ornaments of your love and glory.
Let others do as they may, square your conduct with the word of the Lord, and declare that as for you and your house, you will serve the Lord. If you lack wisdom or information on any point, write to me and you shall have all the knowledge I can give: freely I receive and freely I give: forget not your prayers in the season thereof, nor let the children forget theirs. Pray for me daily, for so I do for you three or four times a day. Pray for health, peace, and our dwelling together in unity. Amen.
(Signed) W. W. Phelps)
[The following notes are written on the outside of the letter:]
Sally–lest anything should be wrong, I asked your forgiveness on all things passed. But you have not written a word about it. Why? Tell “little innocent Lydia” her father longs to see her, and all the rest of the children, not omitting her mother–for her “satisfaction.” (Signed) W. W. P.
Dear Sister in the Lord:
Your husband has written you of his health, etc. It is proper to say that he is doing well, and I bear this testimony concerning him, that he is humble and faithful. Next spring you may expect him, if all be well. Waterman does well. If he continues he will be loved of the Lord, and so will all who continue to keep the Lord’s commandments.
Great things await the earth, and great joys await the Saints. Soon the Son of Man comes, and then righteous families will no more be separated. I bless the Lord for that. The Lord bless you and all the faithful, even more than your hearts can premeditate. Thus shall it be. My family are well. My wife remembers you, Sally Phelps.
(Signed) O. Cowdery.
Brother [John M.] Burk:
We are glad to receive intelligence from you and others concerning the affairs of the Saints, but yet we see a lack in some respects. The presidency, sometime since, dropped a word to Elder Lyman Wight. We want to know whether he will neglect us much longer without writing? There is evidently a wrong somewhere. We wonder if the elders never think to give us their proceedings, officially. We want to know from them, what they are doing, and what they are to do hereafter. Whether they are about to go forth in the spirit of meekness and preach the Gospel? A word further, Brother Burk must be humble! We hope that the melancholy will remember that the Saints always rejoice!
(Signed) O. Cowdery. . . .
[Sally,] Beloved in the Lord: The letter from both the high councils to the elders and church in Clay County, Mo. addressed to Br. Hezekiah Peck, contains so much good instructions, that I have supposed it to be unnecessary to write to any but Sally, and inasmuch as you submit unto my teachings and commands, as unto the Lord, others seeing your submission, your meekness, and virtuous example, if they mean to be among the saints, “will go and do likewise.” The Spirit whispers me that the instructions already given in connection with what each travelling elder will necessarily write to his wife, will be sufficient to keep every member in the way of duty till the “Doctrine and Covenants” arrive, when all can choose for themselves; and if they then miss their way, and are unfaithful in keeping the commandments, and living by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God, they must be chastened!
I have it in my heart to give you a little instruction, so that you may know your place, and stand in it, beloved, admired, and rewarded, in time and in eternity. But in order to do this, I must show the duty of man, in part. Man was created in the beginning to dress the earth to multiply his species; to honor God, and enjoy his presence forever. Hence it is the duty of man to labor for his living; to provide for his own household; to cultivate the land; to beautify it, to rear up habitations, and to have dominion over all animals which were made for his use and benefit. But it is not good that man should live alone, therefore it is pleasing to the Lord, that we should have an helpmeet, and multiply and replenish the earth, raising up seed, that the earth may be filled with its measure of man: Wherefore marvel not that a person without raising up seed to continue his or her name, and inheritance lacks a blessing: For the Psalmist says: “Lo children are the heritage of the Lord.” In the first chapter of Romans, beginning at the 26 verse, see what abominations women and men work by changing the order of heaven. Then one sees why the generations of men have been more or less cursed, with harlots, whoremonger, adulterers, maimed children, ungodly wretches, &C. God gives them up to their own vile affections. This you know is the fact with men and women in general among the gentiles. The Lord promises to bless the fruit of the body of the Saints, if they keep his commandments.
This brings to mind “our little innocent Lydia” who, I am [unintelligible] from what I learn, is beloved and blessed of the Lord: if I were with you I could tell you why, but (suffice till I come,) to say that one of the great reasons is because her Mother did the will of the Lord without murmuring in bringing that child into the world.
In the 11th chapter of first Corinthians, you will see that the head of Christ is God; and the head of man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and that the woman was created for the man: I might refer you to many other passages which give light on this subject but you have a good concordance and you can turn to them at your leisure. God placed man upon earth to do his will and it is his will that the earth should be filled with its measure of man. Celibacy is not tolerated by the commandments, neither is fornication, nor is any device that hinders the increase of man: This you may learn by reading the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th verses of the 38 chapter of Genesis. Man was created upright but Satan has had him to commit many abominations.
I shall next say that, man being placed on this estate to honor God, had his agency given him so that he might choose for himself, that by obeying the laws and commandments of his Creator, he might be rewarded with honor and glory in eternity; that he might become a Son of the Lord Jesus, for Jesus was the Only Begotten of the Father. Now you know that man was placed at the head of creations next to the Lord; and the Woman is next to the man, bone of his bone. If man honors the Lord, he will obey his commandments; if woman honors her husband she will obey his commandments, and thus the order of heaven is followed on earth, and the man and the woman, and the children are blessed of the Lord, and peace reigns.
Well Sally–On Wednesday the ninth instant, I received your fourth letter, in 19 days from Mo, by the postmark. You have no idea how much joy your letters give me: and those who read them are pleased with them also. I mean what you write with your “own hand.” Your Spirit comes modestly in your ideas, and it gives me great consolation in my absence from you. I was sorry to learn that you thought [unintelligible] on a visit to Jerusha who would take care of our children [four words unintelligible] who would take care of Sally in the midst of mobs & diseases? If you will read the 19 verse of a commandment in the little Book of Commandments, page 146, you will see that you can not go by water, and to go by land would be too hard for you.
O Sally, don’t think of going while I am absent. Now, I know that no man on earth thinks more of his wife than I do of you. I do not conceal it, nor never did. I love you and I want you to love me and write to me that you do. I love to please you; and I want you should love to please me, and say so in your letters.
I expect an endowment, I labor to forgive and be forgiven.
I have said so in my letters to you and I think you have forgotten to mention it in your letters. If you and I tarry together on earth, and to go the Lord together, we “must be one.” I made an expression in one of my letters that it almost made me “mad with myself” to think I did not make you write more when I was home. You quote [several words unintelligible] than I expected. I aim [several words unintelligible] you do; but your simple, unaffected modest style does away every other lack. Just say you love to write to me and that will please me.
Selah J. Griffin and G. [George] M. Hinkle came here the other day [unintelligible] with Br. Joseph and [unintelligible] and did not as they returned from Portage Conference. Selah was in a good spirit. And so was brother Hinkle.
I feel as if Read Peck was not very mad at me as he is a clerk in the business to Brother Whitney and myself and is accountable to “me” for his good conduct and not me to him. If he does not know that I am one of the surviving partners of that little lot of good, I will try and get Br. Whitney to write him a line so that he will have no fears nor has [unintelligible] on that account. Sister Emmett need not to fear, bro. Emmett will attend to his rent in time. And I hope the Lord will have mercy on his boy.
If Kelly has not paid you yet, I do not know what to say. He acts wrong and the whole word is just so. Pray to God to open his heart to pay you, and I will, and he will do it.
I was truly glad to receive another letter from Sabrina. The souls of our children, Sally, are of great worth; don’t let them be lost if in your power to prevent it. I love our children and love to have them brought up right. May God assist to do it.
I am now revising hymns for a hymn Book.
Nothing has been doing in the translation of the Egyptian Record for a long time, and probably will not for some time to come.
Why don’t you say how you like the papers I sent you? As soon as I hear from any of your folks I shall write. Be careful as you have been to have your letters good, so that every body can read them (except you send me a private one). Br. Joseph thinks much of them, and so do I. The rest of this letter was written when yours came. Sally and children remember him whose voice you can not hear, but whose words speak to you.
MY ONLY ONE: Situated as I am in the family of President Smith, with such counsel as brother Corrill, and where, too, I have the benefit of all the instruction of the heads of Israel, and the knowledge and the satisfaction of all the preaching, teaching, and information from all the elders, you must be sensible, that I have a better chance to gain knowledge for the good of you, and the saints, than I have ever before had. This is the reason why I propose to write. If what I write is heeded, I shall be glad: For the Lord will reward for every good act, and I mean to admonish for goodness and this glory that shall follow; and for nothing else. The cause we have espoused is God’s; the religion we profess is Christ’s and we are not of this world but of the world to come; therefore we must obey the commandments of the Lord, and please him to entitle us to an inheritance in the holy city that shall come down from heaven adorned as a bride for her husband.
Perhaps you may have drawn wrong conclusions from my letters, or some others may have; but verily I say unto you, they have been written for the salvation of the Saints, and I ask you in the name of Jesus to begin and read them all over again, and treasure up the truth. Mark what I have said to you, or asked of you and do it and great shall be you reward. But I must resume this subject left in my last letter. In that I spoke of men: Now I must hint of women: For the man is not without the woman neither is the woman without the man in the Lord. I wish you to read the seventh of I Corinthians and learn for yourself: In Ephesians and Colossians it says–“Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord.” That is keep your husband’s commands in all things as you do the Lord’s. Your husband is your head, and the Lord is his head.
Br. Joseph has preached some of this greatest sermons on the duty of wives to their husbands and the rule of all women I ever heard.
I would not have you ignorant, Sally, of the mystery of Men and Women, but I can not write all. You must wait till you see me. This much, however, I will say, that you closed your 4th letter to me in a singular manner; really it was done after the manner of the Gentiles: Says Sally “I remain yours till death.” But since you have seen my blessing I think you will conclude “if your life and years are as precious in the sight of God as mine,” thus you will be mine in this world and in the world to come; and so long as you can remain on earth as you desire, I think you may as well use the word “forever,” as “till death.” In this world we have to labor, we have to marry; we have to raise up seed; honor God, &c, but in the world to come, we praise God and the Lamb forever, and ever, and we neither marry, nor are given in marriage–do you now begin to understand: This–is the reason why I have called you at the commencement of this letter, my only one, because I have no right to any other woman in this world nor in the world to come, according to the law of the celestial kingdom.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; And what shall I say of him or her who lives till the Lord comes, and is caught up into the cloud to meet him? O Sally, Sally, be wise I beseech you, for you know not how great things must come to pass after much tribulation! I hope and pray that you give heed to what I write, and I wish you would let me know that you do and mean to: Now what I say unto you, I say unto all: women, or wives must obey their husbands in all things and then they are clear; the husband is responsible, and he being the head, as Christ is the head of the church, must do as much for his wife as Christ did for the church; lay down his life for her, if necessary. This will show that he loves her. If you read the 11th chapter of first Corinthians, you may find some good instruction: In old times honest women veiled their faces in public; especially as is mentioned in the 10th verse of this chapter “because of the angels” they probably formed veils then of their hair. I think when I return that my women will generally vail their faces in public and give no one a chance to gaze upon what is not his. This modest way will not lead to temptation, and may be one means of promoting virtue.
I have cried for joy when your letters have come, because of their seeming virtue and meekness: I should hate to have to chasten you, but as I love you, so I will chasten you, if you step aside from what I require, and what I know is the will of the Lord. You must not tattle; you must not find fault; you must not be proud; you must not be exalted; you must not speak evil of your neighbor; no; no; Sally, do none of these things, but the pure in heart, and you shall be sure of Zion, and me. This instruction is good; I want every saint to follow it. Look around you, Sally.–who fills your husband’s place in God, to talk and converse of all that is near and dear to you; and play with little Lydia? Who fill his chair by the fireside, to instruct and explain? Who fills his place at table? Who sounds his notes to praise the Lord? Yea, Sally, and how many sisters equally good as you, are in the same condition, while their husbands are away to sound the alarm of the approaching end? And what man takes time when others sleep to write to his wife and the saints weekly, except me?
O, if you and the saints knew how my heart burned for your welfare, how many times I pray for you, and how many tears I shed for you; (you all, I mean) I think you would be humble and rejoice. I want to say beware of covetousness: for if there are any that hover over a little property it will canker their souls. God will have a perfect people, if he has to destroy hypocrites and his dissembles with fire, famine, pestilence and the sword. Oh the horror, the trouble, the vexations that has commenced, will increase, and shall continue to waste the wicked and ungodly till corruption is ended! I want to say to Sister Gilbert, cease to be melancholy; but rejoice; cease to care so much about many things; tis the willing and obedient that will eat the good of the land of Zion; religion is the balm of God for the fatherless and widow; God is love and meekly seek the Lord, without disconsolation, and he will bless you [write this little word of consolation for her].
The news here is about as usual. Health prevails among the brethren generally. Whenever the wind is in the north it blows cold and I talk of hurrying to Missouri. From appearance, the season is about two months longer at Zion than at Kirtland. A letter from the Twelve of the last week, says they will return to prepare for school about the 1st of October. Br. Marsh was meek and in good health and spirits. The travelling elders begin to come in: Kirtland will be filled with them in a short time. Many of the Zion elders are at work on the house, which is being finished slowly. It is a great work and will take some longer, I think, than was expected to complete it. The subject of which could be most pleasing to the saints in Missouri, I have no particular knowledge of–that is, when Zion will be redeemed. Little is said or known, more than you know and is printed. To try our faith and for other purposes, the Lord says little to us about it.
Fruit is beginning to be ripe, I have eat a few peaches and apples, but give me the society of my wife and children and the saints before anything on earth. Away with flaunting fashions; away with the luxuries of life: give me the knowledge and love of God; my meek and modest wife; our children;–the real Saints for friends, and I shall have more health and joy on earth; more glory and intelligence in eternity; man [unintelligible] in his greatness or Solomon in his splendor.
We got some of the commandments from Cleveland last week; I shall try to send one hundred copies to the Saints this fall by Br. Wm Tippets. He starts next week. I know there will be one hundred Saints who will have their dollar [unintelligible] really, when he arrives, for a Book, we put them at a dollar in order to help us a little, considering how much we have lost by the Jackson mob. I would not be without one for five dollars.
I have prepared one Book for Sally, one for Sabrina, one for Mehitabel, and one for Sarah, and if they arrive in Clay this fall, I pray God, that maybe made good use of for the truth’s sake. I shall send a few great egg plumbs stones, which I want Ira to plant near the house this fall that they may freeze. Ira will also have a Book. Daniel Stanton has gone home. Peter Dustin started off last summer rather singularly, have not heard from him since. I fear Peter is not altogether right.
No earthly consideration is equal to celestial glory. I know I set as much store in my wife and children as any other person on earth, yet I forego the sweet enjoyment of their society for the glory that will follow and be brought to pass by faith and diligence. If my folks and the saints die faithful and pray in faith, I shall come home with Waterman the latter part of next spring and make a visit. And what next I know not for the Lord has not said. Maybe Sally’s the children’s another Saints’ faith will be to have me stay a while–the Lord’s and not my will be done.
Day before yesterday David Whitmer and Samuel H. Smith were appointed general agents to the Literary firm to take and sell Books among the extensive branches of the Church, &c.
I wear my same clothes that I had on when I came this way, but they are but little the worse for wear. I have got some others, but I intend to keep them to wear home.
Sally, I want you should answer this letter so that I may know how you and the children will be off for clothing when what I have sent arrives: if you have received the money I sent you and whether this and what little you may have got will be enough to make you comfortable this winter. If you can get along I want you should, so thus I can begin to make my calculations for spending money by and bye. Write in your own meek and simple way just as it is, and whenever you want a “good word” to yourself and don’t forget to write me “some good words” for I am flesh and blood, the very same as you, and love a little consolation once and awhile, seeing I cannot see you and the children’s faces and hear you talk and pray morning and evening, nor watch “little innocent Lydia” sit and play. Sally (Waterman William) Phelps.
W. W. Phelps
Sally:–This evening, (Oct. 7.) after waiting patiently four weeks for a letter, I was astonished and pained, as the room of getting a letter to see “these words” on the margin of the Liberty Enquirer, dated Sept. 15, mailed the 19th. It was written by Warren Graves, thus: “We received two papers, and seem directed to the Northern Times for you. I am well and father’s family generally. Your father’s family. You will hear the state of their health by brother Peter. Hitty and Sarah are sick; your mother had the Ague and is faltering.”
Of all the news I can receive, after waiting so long, this was the saddest. What should I say? What shall I do? Could you not have gotten some body to write, if you were all sick? I wonder if you sent a letter by Brother Peters, or any body else? A letter by private conveyance! You might just as well put into the [unintelligible]. The post office was instructed expressly to carry letter. But then, again I [unintelligible], supposing you were all sick and not able to write: Could you not have got Henry Rollins or someone to have written a few lines? I expected, after requesting you so much, to have received a letter every two weeks but disappointment that heart growing vagrant has been my lot. O that it were otherwise! But what can I do?–
I received a letter this evening from Brother Covey and others, stating that Sister Stout had been got with child in adultery by John J. Fanner. I didn’t call such a crime “adultery.” I call it fornication! which in my opinion can only be washed away by the water of baptism. The law does not say that such a sin is to be forgiven. It ought not to be–. . .
Kirtland Mill, Ohio December 18, 1835.
Sally (W.W.) Phelps, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri Sally:
Myself and Waterman, together with the Saints in general, are well, and we daily thank the Lord for it, praying constantly that he will have mercy upon you and “our little ones,” and grant you the same blessing.
My anxiety for your welfare is inexpressible: fires are to be made; wood to be split; cows to feed; milking to be done; corn and potatoes to be saved for next summer; children to be taught; and many other matters that ought to be done by me, if I was only there, run through my mind by day and by night. I trust in the Lord, however, that you will do all that is needed, and so I am reconciled to be patient until I return to my family post again.
I shall begin with items. In my last letter, I said, “All that were ‘honest’ would pay” etc. It should have read “honest and able.” Let Sabrina interline it.
If you have money to spare, Ira or Brother Burk should go to Atchison and get me the new statutes or Digest of Missouri. Mr. Atchison said he would save me a copy. If one is obtained, keep it safe for me.
Let me know about the wood, how it burns, and how long you think it will last. Be very careful of that Flagelett, [doubtless flageolet, a small musical instrument of the flute class] don’t let it be mussed and played with: keep it in the chest. Keep that old Fife book choice. Did you raise any broom corn? How many chickens? How comes on the last year’s and this year’s calf? What for weather was November and December? I hope you have taken pains to save sweet potatoes for seed.
Don’t reckon too much on my coming home in the spring! It may be a little after before you see me. Keep up your faith and pray for the endowment; as soon as that takes place the elders will anxiously speed for their families.
Everything is dear with us: fresh pork is from five to six cents a pound; beef 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cents; wheat is one dollar twelve and a half cents per bushel and rising; corn 75 cents a bushel; cheese 9 cents by wholesale; butter 25 cents a pound; and hay and oats high. Without great business or plenty of money, a family fares coarse in this part of the country. We have not had any butter for six or eight weeks past.
Great exertions are making in schools; besides the Elders school, there are two evening grammar schools, and one writing school; and as soon as the attic rooms are completed in the Lord’s house as much as one or two more will commence.
We have had some hindrance. A large board kiln has recently been partly burnt, which, besides the loss, occasions some delay. Brother Corrill will drive the work as fast as he can in order that he and his brethren may be enabled to visit their families.
You must give my desires to the brethren and sisters for their spiritual welfare. To Brother Burk and Sister Burk say, “God bless them!” To Sister Gilbert, “May the Lord have compassion upon her in her loneliness.” Say to Sister Partridge and Sister Corrill and Brother Graves and his family, “Keep with the Lord and you shall be blessed.” Brother Musick and family, “I hope they continue in the right way.” I pray for all the pure in heart. Sister Haist (?) has been greatly afflicted. I am sorry for her. She seems to think I meant to chastise her in one of my letters, but I did not. I only gave her a friendly hint, and when I see her face to face, I will explain it so satisfactorily.
I am, since winter commenced, getting back to my common heft. I guess I am not more than 3 or 4 pounds more than 135 pounds. Brother Corrill begins to be quite pussy, and so do a number of the brethren.
We must be patient. Read CV (105) Psalm.
. . . (four pages missing here.) solemnized in Kirtland, and if, with an eye single to the glory of God, well.
When you receive this letter you will learn by the date that I have stopped writing so often. I mean to do as I am done to; and hereafter, if the Lord is pleased, I shall write to Sally just as often as she writes to me, for I hope and pray that the time may be short till I shall see my family. I have been absent so long now that I cannot tell how pretty, little, precious Lydia looks, and the rest of the children are strangers to my eyes; but as I dream of you so often I fancy you have not altered much–nothing for the worse. I hardly know what I should do, if it were not that Waterman, as he fleshes up, shows his mother’s looks. He has been a good boy lately.
I want you should send me your height; and bigness round the waist, so that, if I should feel disposed to get you a new mantle, I could have it made as they make them here. You can write in . . . many feet high, and so many inches round . . . in your next letter. Let me know when Lydia . . . alone.
I want Brother Graves to inform Mr. Rees that . . . depositions taken in Kirtland, were forwarded to George Woodward, Esq., Richmond. Mr. Rees can take them out of the office and charge the postage to me.
The Zion Elders, except S. J. Griffin, A. Gifford, G. M. Hinkle and E. H. Groves are going to school and all well. The four above named are out a preaching. . . . attend to Brother Child’s request as soon as I have a chance.
Now may the blessings, love and grace of our Lord and Savior be and abide with the Saints, and my only one, and little ones, forever, (Signed) W. W. Phelps. _ _ _ _ _ _
They bring persecution upon us, but we have to suffer many straight things because there are “foolish virgins” among the wise. I hope the children of Zion will learn wisdom by experience after a while, and please God rather than gratify the whims of such Philistine [unintelligible], as S [unintelligible] son’s. The elders wives, in the regions of Zion, if pray for one another, and spirit one another, and teach each other according to the scriptures, will soon come (and justly too) Mothers in Israel, indeed! Yea, and [unintelligible] the Kingdom of the Lord, with a race of Just men made perfect by righteousness; loving the truth because their deeds are good; and walking in light because it [unintelligible] from heaven. I am not finding fault with the Elders’ wives to whom blessings have been sent, but I wish to caution those who are forever grabbing little and great things and writing them to, they know not what trouble such practices cause.
I want Little Lydia should be honored in my absence with a birthday family feast: The best you can get. Therefore on Monday the 14th day of March make a feast to the Lord for her good, and pass the day in a sacred prayerful manner. I am not making a precedent but I want our youngest child honored before God, that she may grow up without sin; and whenever the Lord shall grant my return then all our children shall be honored with a feast before the Lord. Mark my advice and be wise and holy for Christ’s sake.
Br. Child’s wife will write to him what she will do. Elder Palmer of New Portage, saw her and says there is no danger she will do anything, but her friends are violent. The New Portage church are calculating to remove to Zion next season and they will bring her if requested. . . .
The High Council direct a president of the teachers to be changed. Bishop Partridge will address the subject.
The Hebrew school has commenced in one of the attic school rooms in the Lord’s house [Kirtland Temple]. These rooms are nearly all completed. The whole work continually progresses, though but slowly.
I can not tell when the endowment will take place. Therefore I can not say anything about the Redemption of Zion or bring you new tidings for her children: you all know Zion must be redeemed with judgment, (that is, wisdom and prudence) “and her converts with righteousness.” We must be very prayerful and watchful: you know what the Savior said to the Seventy, Luke 10th Chapter 17, 18, 19, & 20 verses. So likewise, let us not rejoice in the goods of this world, nor boast of our faith and works, but rather that our names are written in heaven. If we could see each other’s faces now and converse about heaven and divine things, it would be like the meeting of angels and we would hate to part in the short hour.–but the Lord has not said when we shall see him again, in order that we may be [unintelligible] and found faithful: which may God grant [unintelligible]
Mail brought a number of letters from [unintelligible] Among them one for me, dated Dec. 10th. I immediately called the bishop and his counsellors on the subject, and we shall write on the subject again this week. My great anxiety for my family and friends causes me to answer this day.
Tell Peter H. Burnett that I sold the other keg of printing ink at one dollar a pound. The keys contained 50 Hs [?]k each; though [unintelligible] It can be weighed.
With your letter came one that brought the melancholy death of Elder Christian Whitmer. It made a deep impression upon his relative and the brethren. We are solemn. God have mercy upon the Saints in Zion. Prepare the living for life and aging for eternity. The letters accompanying yours from Elder Harris: Br. Childs & [unintelligible] are gratefully received and duly appreciated. Br. Childs is answered on another page.
On the subject of writing letters to the Saints if I had ever so much a mind to, I can’t write oftener than once in 2 or 3 weeks for want of time. I want to study Hebrew, and I have not as yet been able to begin.
Oliver is come to a state convention at Columbus.
One thing and another keeps me back.– You want to know what made me write concerning [unintelligible] letters. I told you in my next [?].
I am not jealous of you, Sally, but I am jealous that Br. Fosdick is not right before the Lord.
Your letter of Nov. 20 contained some things which were wrong and I forgive you as I wrote. What you wrote of Chloe [?] was contrary to the covenant. See said Book page 125, sec. 12 paragraph [unintelligible] When you said she had influenced or [unintelligible] Br. Corrill’s mind, you stated a falsehood, as you will see by Br. Corrill’s letter. You say to me “don’t praise you”–and then you praise Br. Littlefield.
A virtuous wife should not praise other men in the absence of her husband. All I want is that you should do not more. And write to me that you was mistaken, and “that you have offence, and will do so no more.” Now, Sally, in the name of the Lord Jesus, be admonished to let alone other folks business; forgive them if they are where you can not see them face to face. Don’t praise other men to your own hurt. Don’t undertake to write explanations: you can not make any satisfaction. When you write to me, write as you did at first: simply about our own concerns and the general welfare of the brethren and sisters. If any slander you or our children, and do not make amends, let them alone tell the authority of Zion [unintelligible]. Don’t be so studiously careful in your letters to avoid saying anything in my favor or of showing a little more love for me than the rest of the world. When I read your November letter, I was almost tempted not to write any more letters–but I won’t believe you meant any hurt, and I can not say that I think any less of you than I ever did. And you know how much that is.
The high council and elders of Zion meet tomorrow evening to fill the vacant place of councilors. It will be a good meeting to see the Elders of Zion together. They are all well. I need not name them.
Give my best wishes to all the Saints.
And so I am forever thine, W.W. Phelps Sally Phelps Kirtland Mills, Tuesday, 2 p.m. January 5, 1836
Dear Mother, brothers & sisters:–I now have an opportunity to write to you I am well [unintelligible] a bad cold. We have bad weather here at this time. I am expected to go to [unintelligible] school so [several unintelligible] I hope you are all in good health.
It is now about eight months since I have seen any of you–the Lord has been merciful to me many times and blessed me.
Give my respects to all that know me and may the Lord bless us all.
Farewell till I see you all again at home.
W. Waterman Phelps
[Apparently the beginning of the following letter is lost.]
noon, the congregations became so large, that after the 3 weddings, which I noticed, were solemnized, and the sacrament administered, the meeting was dismissed, I then went with a number of the church, to Elder Cahoon’s to partake of the wedding supper. It was a solemn time, singing and solemnity–Sister Whiting, President Rigdon, and [parts crossed out–about three words] others [two words unintelligible]. “If it did not make me think of my wife to be in such good company! My tears answered and “I cried to think I might rest in the day of trouble!”
Our meeting will grow more and more solemn and will continue [two words unintelligible] great solemn assembly when the house [Kirtland Temple] is finished! We are preparing [to receive an endowment] to make ourselves clean, by first cleansing our hearts, forsaking our sins, forgiving every body, all we even had against them; anointing washing the body; putting on clean decent clothes, by anointing our heads and by keeping all the commandments. As we come nearer to God we see our imperfections and nothingness plainer and plainer.
I can not write my thoughts to you. I can only say in the name of the Lord Jesus, Sally, Sally! Children, Children! Saints, Saints! if you ever mean to see me in the flesh, be holy, be humble, and solemn. O Sally! O children! hear the voice of him who loves you, and let your tears tell of you have any money by you that you get for covenants or anything else, do not lend it out; for I may give orders for it you know not when; and besides you might not know who to trust, and who not. I feel sensible that you will be careful.
If you have bank bills get them changed into hard money. The charter of the United States Bank expires on the 4th of March next.
One month has passed without sleighing. It has been mud and mire, and cold and warm . . .
[The above page ends and the next page starts as recorded. Obviously some information has been lost.]
in righteousness, will do so. Is it because a woman is all talk, that her husband values her? “A continual dropping will wear away stones.” Is it because a woman is handsome, that her husband loves her? “Handsome is she, that handsome does.” But enough on this head for the present. I have heretofore cautioned you against letting any one copy of certain documents and blessings. [About three words covered up by tape] things are not written to you because there may be a “Philistine heifer” like Samson’s, to copy it and send it to the four winds, and innocent saints must suffer the consequence.
I want to give you and idea of the ordination of those who are sent as especial witnesses to all the world: Don’t let any one copy it, Sally; read it to the pure in heart: and none else.
“Kirtland Jan. 3, 1836
“This ordination and blessing of E______ F_______
“Brother:–We lay our hands upon thy head in the name of the Lord Jesus, and we ordain thee an elder in the church of the Latter day Saints, praying our heavenly Father, that he will bless thee with all the blessings of this ministry; that thou might be a messenger of righteousness to the nations; and that thy heart may be prepared for this high calling of God. Thy Heavenly Father loves thee and delights in thee, because thou wast of that number that offered to lay down their lives for their brethren; and because thou hast done this thing there are many and great blessings laid up for thee if thou art faithful.
“Thou shalt go forth and proclaim the gospel. Thy tongue shalt be unloosed so that thou canst declare the things of God to those to whom it is the will of thy heavenly Father to send thee. And it is not only his will to send thee to the people of this continent, but to nations afar off, even to the Islands of the Sea, and to nations thou knowest not of, that the word of the Lord may be fulfilled.
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of Good; that publisheth salvation; that sayeth unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!”
“And because thou wast willing to give thy life unto thy heavenly Father, and regarded it not unto the death: Therefore thy life shall be borne(?) up in the bundle of life with his life; and God, even thy God will give his angels charge over thee lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
“Thou shalt go and return as may seem good unto thy heavenly Father, and nothing shall have power over thee to prevent thee from fulfilling thy ministry, which we this day bestow upon thee in the name of the Lord Jesus: For the heavens are disposed to be very propitious unto thee. The Lord will make thee swift messenger unto the nations: And thou shalt bear his name to people afar off: Thou shalt testify unto them of the things which thou dost know; for thine eyes shall see the glory of the Savior in the visions of heaven; and holy angels shall minister unto thee, and make known unto thee, the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; and thou shalt testify of it to many nations and peoples, and that in other than our own languages, for thou shalt have power to speak in many languages, that thou mayest do a great work in the day and generation, and have many stars in thy in thy crown, in the day of salvation(?). For notwithstanding thine enemies will seek thy life and art brought into many trials and tribulations, still thou shalt have many seasons of great rejoicing for the Lord will pour out his spirit upon thee, and give thee exceeding Joy in the midst of all thy tribulations. And if thou art faithful thou shalt fulfil thy ministry and return to the land of Zion with songs of everlasting Joy upon thy head,–to go no more out: yea, to take part in the [there appears to be one more line that is cut off at the end of page] reign when Christ shall reign on the earth a thousand years.
All these blessings we seal upon thy head, if thou art faithful, to gather with many others, (for the heavens are full of blessings for thee) which it is not wisdom at this time to mention, but none shall deprive thee of them: Even so. Amen.”
Thus you have the substance, Sally, and do be wise, for when I learn that you are careful to do as I write to have you do, then will I be encouraged to let you have “things precious.”
Jan. 13 . A Grand Council was held last Wednesday, Jan 13– consisting of the High Councils of Zion and Kirtland together with the “Twelve,’ the Seven presidents of the Seventy; and the two bishops and their counsellors, besides others. It was one of the most interesting meetings I ever saw.
The next day, Jan. 14, I sat in council with the presidency to Draft Rules for the Lord’s house. The next day, Jan. 15, we held another Grand Council much more interesting than the first.
On Sunday, Jan. 17, at an early hour all authorities of the church regularly organized met in the school room under our printing office, and the presidents commenced the meeting by confessing their sins and forgiving their brethren and the world. You know the Lord’s prayer reads: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass us?” The Lord poured out his Spirit in such a manner as you never witnessed. When I was speaking, which was but few words, the Spirit of the Lord came upon me so that I could not speak, and I cried as little children cry in earnest and the tears from my eyes ran in streams; the audience, which was the largest ever convened in the said room, sobbed and wept aloud.
The presidency and the “Twelve” occupied the forenoon. There was speaking and singing in tongues, and prophesying, as on the day of Pentecost.
In the afternoon [17 Jan 1836], the congregation became so large that after the three weddings, which I noticed were solemnized, and the sacrament administered, the meeting was dismissed. I then went with a number of the Church to Elder Cahoon’s to partake of the wedding supper. It was a solemn time, singing and solemnity.
[missing pages] And reasonable men will suppose, that we cannot print papers without means, and in my absence you may want some of the [?] to live upon. At any rate, if the saints would pay you these, I should not have to send you any money [one word covered by tape] here. If you can send this news among the brethren, I think the honest ones would try to pay you.
I want you should buy one piece of common cotton shirting such as you need for the children and your own wear. And perhaps you will want some “Jeans” for Henry and James, such articles can be bought cheap for cash at [?]. You will want some tallow, or bees wax and lard for candles, &c.
On Saturday the 7th I heard from Lydia. Elder Coons gave me the information. He labored in the south part of Smyrna, as you will learn by the Messenger. He says Lydia accounted herself a Mormon, but he did not learn whether she meant to get ready, if possible and come to Kirtland next Spring. I have written and letter to her and when I get the answer, I will write you the particulars. I feel confident I shall get her into the church that Sally can rejoice that she has some own blood besides [Amazon?] in the Kingdom. I shall try hard to have all your brothers and sisters brought in. . . .
The letters which Sister Mark(?) sent to Thomas I perceive, that she is training to be a Rhymestress.
I wonder if you cannot pray to the Lord for the Spirit of poetry, and “Singing,” and give me a little specimen of “poetess” in my absence, and a fine sample of “sweet singer” when I return.
Pray for these endowments in faith and I will and the Lord will grant them to you. No good gift will the Lord withhold if the Saints are only faithful.
Brother Whitmer’s father and mother came [two words covered by tape] from Vermont in October and have both been [one word covered] baptized.
There have come to Kirtland, in a short time, a great number of brethren–the saints seem to “keep all things in motion.”
[Robert] Matthias, the false prophet has made Kirtland a visit, and found that the Saints know such men to be influenced by the wicked one.
Very great exertions have been made to finish the House of the Lord [Kirtland Temple] this winter. I suppose for the last fortnight, that nearly 50 men, as carpenter and Joiners, masons, mortar makers, [?], &c, have been laboring on the house. [?] finish is about half on the outside, and the scaffolds cut halfway down so that this monument of the Latter day saints liberality begins to show itself. The lower part of the inner court is nearly plastered and will soon be finished.
See book of “Doctrine and Covenants” page 233: paragraph 3. You can [about three words covered by tape] revelation for [one or two words covered by tape] show you that whom the Lord loves he chastens.
A great effort is now about to be made to procure a “bell” for the Lord’s house.
I must relate the marvelous works here. There have been built during the past years nearly 20 houses, mostly very small. Only one of note called the “Boston House.” It is 53 feet by 32 feet–three stories high, it is not yet enclosed. It is almost a miracle how such a large number of people live, but the Lord is merciful.
All the lawsuits commenced against our folks, or which our people have commenced against the world’s people, have turned in our favor but one and [about seven words covered by tape]. Sally, you have never mentioned a word about our suits. Don’t you hear anything about them?
It is quite natural to see Bishop Partridge, Elder Morley, Corrill, Beebe, and many other Zion elders every day–I sometimes think if it were not for our being together, where we can exchange our feelings that time would hang heavy. Elder Marsh and I generally see each other every day, and comfort one another by chatting on what is to be!
What is to be when the Lord permits us to come home, and what will be when Zion is redeemed. Brother Marsh is as corpulent as an Alderman, and I remain just the same in body, in mind, and in health, and I think and praise the Lord for keeping me just so poor: just so common minded, and just so healthy. I want you to be careful, to do just I as [covered by tape] you do.
I have told you once or twice to take all my letters that I have written to you and lock them up. I want to make a book of them. If you, or Sabrina, or any one, has copied anything, get them all in–do as I tell you for my sake. The reason is, by the time you get this letter, the “covenants” [Doctrine and Covenants] will arrive, and the Saints must learn their duty from the Revelations. We must live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, and not by what is written by man or is spoken by man. The high Council and the Bishop’s Council, are the proper authority to give advice to the Saints, and in time of need they will do what the Lord requires. Therefore you can discern that my letters are my private Journal–and you must take good care of them and see that no copies are cut.
I shall continue to write to you all the news and new things that is expedient for you, or the Saints, but keep my letters at home. It is a great thing to gain advice–I am a weak man–subject to the like vanities and passions of others, and rather than offend one of the children of God wrongfully–I would beg–I pray the Lord to forgive me of all my iniquities and I want my brethren to forgive me and even my wife must have nothing against me.
How can I receive an endowment if my skirts are not clean from the blood of this generation? My own family are of the blood of this generation, and so are my brethren and sisters: Let us be wise, then, and forgive others as the Lord forgives us, that we may be clean and forgive all, all their trespasses, or hardness towards me.
My letters are my property. I direct them to my wife, because she and I are one, and she will keep them safe for me whatever news they contain. She is at liberty to read [them] to the Saints, for their consolations, in their loneliness. . . .