Proclamation, 15 January 1841

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Beloved Brethren:—
The relationship which we sustain to the , renders it necessary that we should make known from time to time, the circumstances, situation, and prospects of the church, and give such instructions as may be necessary for the well being of the Saints. and for the promotion of those objects, calculated to further their present and everlasting happiness.
We have to congratulate the Saints on the progress of the great work of the “last days;” for not only has it spread through the length and breadth of this vast continent; but on the continent of Europe, and on the Islands of the sea, it is spreading in a manner entirely unprecedented in the annals of time.
This appears the more pleasing when we consider, that but a short time has elapsed, since we were unmercifully driven from the State of , after suffering cruelties and persecutions in their various, and horrid forms.— Then our overthrow, to many, seemed inevitable, while the enemies of truth triumphed over us, and by their cruel reproaches endeavored to aggravate our sufferings. But “the Lord of Hosts was with us, the God of Jacob was our refuge!” and we were delivered from the hands of bloody and deceitful men; and in the State of we found an asylum, and were kindly welcomed by persons worthy the characters of freemen. It would be impossible to enumerate all those who in our time of deep distress, nobly came forward to our relief, and like the good Samaritan poured oil into our wounds, and contributed liberally to our necessities, as the citizens of en masse and the people of , generally, seemed to emulate each other in this labor of love. We would, however, make honorable mention of , , General [Samuel] Leech, , Rev. Mr. Young, Col. Henry, , John Wood, , S[ylvester] M. Bartlett, Samuel Holmes, and J[oseph] T. Holmes, Esquires, who will long be remembered by a grateful community for their philanthropy to a suffering people, and whose kindness on that occasion is indelibly engraven on the tablet of our hearts, in golden letters of love.
We would, likewise, make mention of the Legislature of this , who, without respect of parties, without reluctance, freely, openly, boldly, and nobly, have come forth to our assistance, owned us as citizens and friends, and took us by the hand, and extended to us all the blessings of civil, political, and religious liberty, by granting us, under date of Dec. 16, 1840, one of the most liberal charters, with the most plenary powers, ever conferred by a legislative assembly on free citizens, for the “City of ,” the ” and the “University of the City of .” The first of these charters, (that for the “City of ,”) secures to us in all time to come, irrevocably, all those great blessings of civil liberty, which of right appertain to all the free citizens of a great civilized republic—’tis all we ever claimed. What a contrast does the proceedings of the legislature of this present, when compared with those of , whose bigotry, jealousy, and superstition, prevailed to such an extent, as to deny us our liberty and our sacred rights has set a glorious example, to the whole and to the world at large, and has nobly carried out the principles of her constitution, and the constitution of these , and while she requires of us implicit obedience to the laws, (which we hope ever to see observed) she affords us the protection of law—the security of life, liberty, and the peaceable pursuit of happiness.
The name of our city (,) is of Hebrew origin, and signifies a beauti [p. [273]]ful situation, or place, carrying with it, also, the idea of rest; and is truly descriptive of this most delightful situation. It is situated on the eastern bank of the , at the head of the Des Moines Rapids, in ; bounded on the east by an extensive prairie of surpassing beauty, and on the north, west, and south, by the . This place has been objected to by some, on account of the sickness which has prevailed in the summer months, but it is the opinion of , a physician of great experience and medical knowledge, that , and all the eastern and southern portions of the City of , are as healthy as any other portions of the western country, (or the world, to acclimated citizens,) whilst the northwestern portion of the city has experienced much affliction from ague and fever, which, however, he thinks can be easily remedied by draining the sloughs on the adjacent in the .
The population of our is increasing with unparralled [unparalleled] rapidity, numbering more than three thousand inhabitants. Every facility is afforded in the city and adjacent country, in , for the successful prosecution of the mechanical arts, and the pleasing pursuits of agriculture. The waters of the can be successfully used for manufactoring purposes, to an almost unlimited extent.
Having been instrumental in the hands of our heavenly Father in laying a foundation for the of , we would say, let all those who appreciate the blessings of the gospel, and realize the importance of obeying the commandments of heaven, who have been blessed of heaven with the possession of this world’s goods, first prepare for the general gathering—let them dispose of their effects as fast as circumstances will possibly admit, without making too great sacrifices, and remove to our and —establish and build up manufactories in the city, purchase and cultivate farms in the county—this will secure our permanent inheritance, and prepare the way for the gathering of the poor. This is agreeable to the order of heaven, and the only principal on which the gathering can be effected—let the rich, then, and all who can assist in establishing this place, make every preparation to come on without delay, and strengthen our hands, and assist in promoting the happiness of the Saints. This cannot be too forcibly impressed on the minds of all, and the are hereby instructed to proclaim this word in all places where the Saints reside, in their public administrations, for this is according to the instructions we have received from the Lord.
The of the Lord is in progress of erection here, where the Saints will come to worship the God of their fathers, according to the order of his house, and the powers of the holy , and will be so constructed as to enable all the functions of the priesthood to be duly exercised, and where instructions from the Most High will be received, and from this place go forth to distant lands.
Let us then concentrate all our powers, under the provisions of our magna charta granted by the Legislature, at the “City of ,” and surrounding country, and strive to emulate the actions of the ancient covenant fathers, and patriarchs, in those things, which are of such vast importance to this and every succeeding generation.
The “,” embraces all our military power, and will enable us to perform our military duty by ourselves, and thus afford us the power, and privilege, of avoiding one of the most fruitful sources of strife, oppression, and collision with the world. It will enable us to show our attachment to the and as a people, whenever the public service requires our aid—thus proving ourselves obedient to the paramount laws of the land, and ready at all times to sustain and execute them.
The “University of the City of ,” will enable us to teach our children wisdom—to instruct them in all knowledge, and learning, in the Arts, Sciences and Learned Professions. We hope to make this institution one of the great lights of the world, and by and through it, to diffuse that kind of knowledge which will be of practical utility, and for the public good, and also for private and individual happiness. The Regents of the University will take the general supervision of all mat [p. 274][t]ers appertaining to education from common schools up to the highest branches of a most liberal collegiate course. They will establish a regular system of education, and hand over the pupil from teacher to professor, until the regular gradation is consummated, and the education finished. This corporation contains all the powers and perogatives of any other college or university in this . The charters for the University and Legion are addenda to the city charter, making the whole perfect and complete.
Not only has the Lord given us favor in the eyes of the community, who are happy to see us in the enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of freemen, but we are happy to state that several of the principal men of , who have listened to the doctrines we promulge, have become obedient to the faith and are rejoicing in the same; among whom is , M. D., Quarter Master General of . We mention this gentleman first, because, that during our persecutions in , he became acquainted with the violence we were suffering, while in that , on account of our religion—his sympathies for us were aroused, and his indignation kindled against our persecutors for the cruelties practised upon us, and their flagrant violation of both the law and the constitution. Amidst their heated zeal to put down the truth, he addressed us a letter, tendering to us his assistence in delivering us out of the hands of our enemies, and restoring us again to our privileges, and only required at our hands to point out the way, and he would be forthcoming, with all the forces he could raise for that purpose—He has been one of the principal instruments, in effecting our safety and deliverance from the unjust persecutions and demands of the authorities of , and also in procuring the city charter—He is a man of enterprize, extensive acquirements, and of independant mind, and is calculated to be a great blessing to our community.
Dr. , also, who is one of our benefactors, having under his control, a large quantity of land in the immediate vicinity of our , and a considerable portion of the city plot opened both his heart and his hands, and “when we were strangers—took us in,” and bade us welcome to share with him in his abundance; leaving his dwelling house, the most splendid edifice in the vicinity, for our accommodation, and betook himself to a small, uncomfortable dwelling—He sold us his large estates, on very reasonable terms, and on long credit, so that we might have an opportunity of paying for them, without being distressed, and has since taken our lands in in payment for the whole amount, and has given us a clear and indisputable title for the same. And in addition to the first purchase, we have exchanged lands with him in to the amonnt of eighty thousand dollars. He is the honored instrument the Lord used, to prepare a home for us, when we were driven from our inheritances, having given him control of vast bodies of land, and prepared his heart to make the use of it the Lord intended he should. Being a man of extensive information, great talents, and high literary fame, he devoted all his powers and influence to give us a character.
After having thus exerted himself for our salvation and comfort, and formed an intimate acquaintance with many of our people, his mind became wrought up to the greatest feelings, being convinced that our persecutions, were like those of the ancient Saints, and after investigating the doctrines we proclaimed, he became convinced of the truth and of the necessity of obedience thereto, and to the great joy and satisfaction of the he yielded himself to the waters of , and became a partaker with us in our sufferings. “choosing rather to suffer afflictions with the people of God than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” In connexion with these, we would mention the names of Gen. , Judge of Probate, of , Dr. Green, of Shelby County, , M. D., a gentleman of great energy of character, late of , Sidney Knowlton, of , Dr. [Lenox] Knight, of Putnam County, Indiana, with many others of respectability and high standing in society, with nearly all the old settlers in our immediate neighborhood. We make mention of this, that the Saints may be en [p. 275]couraged, and also that they may see the persecutions we suffered in , were but the prelude to a far more glorious display of the power of truth, and of the religion we have espoused.
From the kind, uniform, and consistent course pursued by the citizens of , and the great success which has attended us while here, the natural advantages of this place for every purpose we require, and the necessity of the of the of the Most High, we would say, let the brethren who love the prosperity of , who are anxious that her should be strengthened, and her cords lengthened, and who prefer her prosperity to their chief joy, come, and cast in their lots with us, and cheerfully engage in a work so glorious and sublime, and say with Nehemiah, “we his servants will arise and build.”
It probably would hardly be necessary to enforce this important subject on the attention of the Saints, as its necessity is obvious, and is a subject of paramount importance; but as watchmen to the house of Israel, as Shepherds over the flock which is now scattered over a vast extent of country, and the anxiety we feel for their prosperity and everlasting welfare, and for the carrying out the great and glorious purposes of our God, to which we have been called, we feel to urge its necessity, and say, let the Saints come hereThis is the word of the Lord, and in accordance with the great work of the last days.
It is true the idea of a general gathering has heretofore been associated with most cruel and oppressing scenes, owing to our unrelenting persecutions at the hands of wicked and unjust men; but we hope that those days of darkness and gloom have gone by, and from the liberal policy of our government, we may expect a scene of peace and prosperity, we have never before witnessed since the rise of our church, and the happiness and prosperity which now await us, is, in all human probablility, incalculably great. By a concentration of action, and a unity of effort, we can only accomplish the great work of the last days, which we could not do in our remote and scattered condition, while our interests both spiritual and temporal will be greatly enhanced, and the blessings of heaven must flow unto us in an uninterrupted stream; of this, we think there can be no question. The great profusion of temporal and spiritual blessings, which always flow from faithfulness and concerted effort, never attend individual exertion or enterprize. The history of all past ages abundantly attests this fact.
In addition to all temporal blessings, there is no other way for the Saints to be saved in these last days, as the concurrent testimony of all the holy prophets clearly proves, for it is written—“They shall come from the east and be gathered from the west; the north shall give up, and the south shall keep not back”—“the sons of God shall be gathered from far, and his daughters from the ends of the earth:” it is also the concurrent testimony of all the prophets, that this gathering together of all the Saints, must take place before the Lord comes to “take vengeance upon the ungodly,” and “to be glorified and admired by all those who obey his gospel.” The 50 Psalm from the first to the fifth verses, inclusive, describes the glory and majesty of that event. “The mighty God even the Lord hath spoken and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.— Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him and it shall be very tempestous round about him.
He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, (that he may judge his people.)
Gather my Saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
We might offer many other quotations from the scriptures, but believing them to be familiar to the Saints we forbear.
We would wish the Saints to understand that, when they come here they must not expect to find perfection, or that all will be harmony, peace and love; if they indulge these ideas, they will undoubtedly be deceived for here there are persons, not only from different States, but from different nations, who, although they feel a great attach [p. 276]ment to the cause of truth, have their predjudices of ed[u]cation, and consequently it requires some time before these things can be overcome: again, there are many that creep in unawares, and endeavor to sow discord, strife and animosity, in our midst, and by so doing bring evil upon the ; these things we have to bear with, and these things will prevail either to a greater or lesser extent until “the floor be thoroughly purged” and “the chaff be burnt up.” Therefore let those who come up to this place, be determined to keep the commandments of God, and not be discouraged by those things we have enumerated, and then they will be prospered, the intelligence of heaven will be communicated to them, and they will eventually see eye to eye, and rejoice in the full fruition of that glory, which is reserved for the righteous.
In order to erect the of the Lord, great exertions will be required on the part of the Saints, so that they may build a house which shall be accepted of by the Almighty, and in which his power and glory shall be manifested. Therefore let those who can, freely make a sacrifice of their time, their talents, and their property, for the prosperity of the kingdom, and for the love they have to the cause of truth, bid adieu to their homes and pleasant places of abode, and unite with us in the great work of the last days, and share in the tribulation, that they may ultimately share in the glory and triumph.
We wish it, likewise, to be distinctly uderstood that we claim no privilege but what we feel cheerfully disposed to share with our fellow citizens of every denomination, and every sentiment of religion; and therefore say, that, so far from being restricted to our own faith, let all those who desire to locate themselves in this place, or the vicinity, come, and we will hail them as citizens and friends, and shall feel it not only a duty, but a privilege, to reciprocate the kindness we have received from the benevolent and kind hearted citizens of the State of .
of the .
, January 15, 1841. [p. 277]


  1. 1

    JS had recently received several letters documenting the Quorum of the Twelve’s success in Great Britain. In October 1840, a general conference in Manchester, England, reported the church’s British membership was 3,626. Heber C. Kimball also had informed JS that missionaries had been sent to Ireland and the East Indies. (Letter from Brigham Young, 29 Apr. 1840; Letter from Brigham Young, 7 May 1840; Letter from Heber C. Kimball and Others, 25 May 1840; “Minutes of the General Conference,” LDS Millennial Star, Oct. 1840, 1:165–166; Letter from Heber C. Kimball, 9 July 1840.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  2. 2

    The increasingly contentious situation between Mormons and non-Mormons in Missouri culminated on 27 October 1838, when Governor Lilburn W. Boggs issued an executive order calling for the Saints to “be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace.” Three days later, a segment of the Missouri militia raided the Saints’ settlement at Hawn’s Mill in Caldwell County, Missouri, resulting in the deaths of seventeen men and boys. (Lilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, to John B. Clark, Fayette, MO, 27 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City; Joseph Young and Jane A. Bicknell Young, Affidavit, Record Group 233, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives, Washington DC.)  

    Mormon War Papers, 1838–1841. MSA.

    Record Group 233, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives / Petitions and Memorials, Resolutions of State Legislatures, and Related Documents Which Were Referred to the Committee on Judiciary during the 27th Congress. Committee on the Judiciary, Petitions and Memorials, 1813–1968. Record Group 233, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789–2015. National Archives, Washington DC. The LDS records cited herein are housed in National Archives boxes 40 and 41 of Library of Congress boxes 139–144 in HR27A-G10.1.

  3. 3

    See Psalm 46:7, 11.  

  4. 4

    The use of the term freemen here implied that Illinois offered the Saints freedoms equal to those of other citizens. In 1841 Noah Webster defined freeman as “one who enjoys liberty, or who is not subject to the will of another; one not a slave or vassal” and “one who enjoys or is entitled to a franchise or peculiar privilege.” (“Freeman,” in American Dictionary [1841], 718.)  

    An American Dictionary of the English Language; First Edition in Octavo, Containing the Whole Vocabulary of the Quarto, with Corrections, Improvements and Several Thousand Additional Words. . . . Edited by Noah Webster. 2nd ed. 2 vols. New Haven: By the author, 1841.

  5. 5

    See Luke 10:34.  

  6. 6

    Many Saints noted the hospitality and charity of Quincy’s residents. For example, John L. Butler recalled that one man allowed several families to reside without cost in “ten or twelve small houses that he had built on purpose to rent,” and Sarah Pea Rich noted that those in Quincy did “all they could to give our bretheren employment and assisted maney that ware in need.” (Butler, Autobiography, [31]; Rich, Autobiography, 53.)  

    Butler, John L. Autobiography, ca. 1859. CHL. MS 2952.

    Rich, Sarah DeArmon Pea. Autobiography and Journal, 1885–1890. Sarah DeArmon Pea Rich, Autobiography, 1884–1893. CHL.

  7. 7

    On 28 February 1839, a meeting of Quincy citizens appointed Joseph T. Holmes to a committee in charge of collecting donations for the Saints. Samuel Holmes, Bushnell, and Morris were placed on another committee “to draw up subscription papers and circulate them among the citizens for the purpose of receiving contributions in clothing and provisions.” Illinois senator Richard M. Young, Carlin, Leech, Morris, Holmes, and Holmes lent their support to the Saints when they signed a statement on 8 May 1839 urging others to donate to the impoverished newcomers.a Bartlett was one of the editors of the Quincy Whig, which published a number of positive articles on the Saints.b  

    Quincy Whig. Quincy, IL. 1838–1856.

    Greene, John P. Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons or Latter Day Saints, from the State of Missouri, under the “Exterminating Order.” By John P. Greene, an Authorized Representative of the Mormons. Cincinnati: R. P. Brooks, 1839.

    (a“The Mormons,” Quincy [IL] Whig, 16 Mar. 1839, [1]; Greene, Facts relative to the Expulsion, iii.bSee, for example, Editorial, Quincy Whig, 23 Feb. 1839, [1]; and Report, Quincy Whig, 2 Mar. 1839, [2].)
  8. 8

    See Proverbs 7:3.  

  9. 9

    Although the charter did not include any rights that had not previously been provided for in an Illinois municipal charter, the combination of powers rendered Nauvoo’s unique among Illinois charters. (See Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840.)  

  10. 10

    See Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840. Passage of Nauvoo’s charter was a bipartisan initiative. In 1854 Illinois governor Thomas Ford suggested that this was largely due to John C. Bennett’s lobbying in Springfield in November 1840. Ford recalled that Bennett “addressed himself to Mr. [Sidney] Little, the whig senator from Hancock, and to Mr. Douglass [Stephen A. Douglas], the democratic secretary of State, who both entered heartily into his views and projects. Bennet managed matters well for his constituents. He flattered both sides with the hope of Mormon favor; and both sides expected to receive their votes.” (Ford, History of Illinois, 263.)  

    Ford, Thomas. A History of Illinois, from Its Commencement as a State in 1818 to 1847. Containing a Full Account of the Black Hawk War, the Rise, Progress, and Fall of Mormonism, the Alton and Lovejoy Riots, and Other Important and Interesting Events. Chicago: S. C. Griggs; New York: Ivison and Phinney, 1854.

  11. 11

    This passage alludes to the Saints’ expulsion from Missouri, which was brought about partly by Governor Lilburn W. Boggs’s 27 October 1838 executive order. In addition, the Missouri legislature had refused to officially consider the Saints’ petition for redress. (Lilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, to John B. Clark, Fayette, MO, 27 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City; Letter from Elias Higbee, 21 Feb. 1840.)  

    Mormon War Papers, 1838–1841. MSA.

  12. 12

    See the preamble to the United States Declaration of Independence.  

  13. 13

    In winter 1835–1836, JS studied Hebrew under Joshua Seixas in Kirtland, Ohio. Hebrew scholar Louis C. Zucker has explained that Seixas’s Manual Hebrew Grammar for the Use of Beginners, which Seixas used in instructing JS, indicated in a “List of Peculiar and Anomalous Forms Found in the Hebrew Bible” that “the first words under the letter Nun are na-avauh and nauvoo—verb forms whose anomalous ‘voice’ is designated, without translation. The first word the Authorized Version renders ‘becometh’ (Psalms 93:5), and the word nauvoo is rendered ‘are beautiful’ (Isaiah 52:7), ‘are comely’ (Song of Solomon 1:10). This verb may be used of person, thing, or place. The idea of rest may have stolen in from idyllic verse two of the Twenty-Third Psalm, where a homonymous root is used meaning ‘pastures’ (ne-ot or ne-oth).” (Zucker, “Joseph Smith as a Student of Hebrew,” 48, italics in original; Seixas, Manual Hebrew Grammar, 111.)  

    Zucker, Louis C. “Joseph Smith as a Student of Hebrew.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 3 (Summer 1968): 41–55.

    Seixas, Joshua. Manual Hebrew Grammar for the Use of Beginners. 2nd ed., enl. and impr. Andover, MA: Gould and Newman, 1834.

  14. 14

    The Des Moines rapids were an eleven-mile stretch of “blue limestone reaching from shore to shore, at all times covered with water” along the Mississippi River between Nauvoo and Keokuk, Iowa Territory. (Robert E. Lee, St. Louis, MO, to Charles Gratiot, 6 Dec. 1837, in Report from the Secretary of War, Senate doc. no. 139, 25th Cong., 2nd Sess. [1838], p. 2.)  

    Report from the Secretary of War, in Compliance with a Resolution of the Senate of the 25th Instant, in relation to the Rock River and Des Moines Rapids of the Mississippi River. Senate doc. no. 139, 25th Cong., 2nd Sess. (1838).

  15. 15

    Malaria epidemics had afflicted the Saints in the summers of 1839 and 1840. During both years, deaths from malaria and several other diseases were higher in the months of August and September than in other months of the year. (See Ivie and Heiner, “Deaths in Early Nauvoo,” 167–168.)  

    Ivie, Evan L., and Douglas C. Heiner. “Deaths in Early Nauvoo, 1839–46, and Winter Quarters, 1846–48.” Religious Educator 10, no. 3 (2009): 163–173.

  16. 16

    Others shared JS and Bennett’s view of the region. In 1833 non-Mormon Anthony Hoffman, writing about this region of Illinois, stated, “I can confidently say it is Healthy, except on the Bottom lands near the Rivers.” (Anthony Hoffman, Rushville, IL, to John Reid, Argyle, NY, 1 Nov. 1833, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.)  

    Hoffman, Anthony. Letter, Rushville, IL, to John Reid, Argyle, NY, 1 Nov. 1833. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.

  17. 17

    In his inaugural address as Nauvoo’s mayor on 3 February 1841, Bennett argued that “public health requires that the low lands, bordering on the Mississippi, should be immediately drained, and the entire timber removed. This can and will be one of the most healthy cities in the west, provided you take prompt and decisive action in the premises.” (John C. Bennett, “Inaugural Address,” Times and Seasons, 15 Feb. 1841, 2:318.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  18. 18

    JS worried that few Saints from urban areas of England would have the necessary agricultural experience to prosper in Nauvoo. In a 15 December 1840 letter to the Twelve Apostles, he recommended that skilled workers who could build the necessary machinery to establish manufacturing in the region should immigrate to Nauvoo before those “who must have certain preparations made for them before they can support themselves in this country.” (Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 15 Dec. 1840.)  

  19. 19

    See Revelation, 10 Mar. 1831 [D&C 48:6].  

  20. 20

    On 12 October 1840, workers began quarrying stone for the temple. (Clayton, History of the Nauvoo Temple, 4.)  

    Clayton, William. History of the Nauvoo Temple, ca. 1845. CHL. MS 3365.

  21. 21

    In a statement read before the general conference in Nauvoo on 5 October 1840, JS stated, “Sacrifices as well as every ordinance belonging to the priesthood will when the temple of the Lord shall be built and the sons [of] Levi be purified be fully restored and attended to.” (Minutes and Discourse, 3–5 Oct. 1840; Instruction on Priesthood, ca. 5 Oct. 1840.)  

  22. 22

    Magna Carta is a Latin term meaning “the great charter.” Historically, the term was used to refer to a thirteenth-century English document that was signed by King John and promised certain rights to England’s barons.  

  23. 23

    The Nauvoo charter authorized the city to develop a “body of independent military men to be called the ‘Nauvoo Legion.’” Illinois required that all white male residents of the state between the ages of eighteen and forty-four be enrolled in a state militia unit. A law enacted in 1837 allowed for volunteer or independent militia companies to “adopt a constitution and by-laws for the regulation and government” of their own company, as long as they were not “inconsistent with the constitution of the United States or of this State.” (Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840; An Act for the Organization and Government of the Militia of This State [2 July 1833], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois, p. 469, sec. 1; An Act Encouraging Volunteer Companies [2 Mar. 1837], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois, p. 500, sec. 1.)  

    The Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois: Containing All the Laws . . . Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835; and at Their Second Session, Commencing December 7, 1835, and Ending January 18, 1836; and Those Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837; and at Their Special Session, Commencing July 10, and Ending July 22, 1837. . . . Compiled by Jonathan Young Scammon. Chicago: Stephen F. Gale, 1839.

  24. 24

    The Nauvoo charter called for the selection of twenty-three regents, who, with the chancellor and registrar, would serve on a board of trustees. On 3 February 1841, the Nauvoo City Council passed a bill that organized the University of Nauvoo and appointed John C. Bennett as the chancellor, William Law as the registrar, and twenty-three regents, including JS. (Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840; Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 3 Feb. 1841, 4.)  

  25. 25

    The Nauvoo charter stated that the “Chancellor and Regents of the University of the City of Nauvoo . . . shall have full power to pass, ordain, establish and execute all such laws and ordinances as they may consider necessary for the welfare and prosperity of said University, its officers, and students; Provided, that the said laws and ordinances shall not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States, or of this State.” (Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840.)  

  26. 26

    This letter to JS is apparently not extant, but Bennett referred to it in several letters he wrote in July 1840. In his 25 July letter, he wrote: “The last time I wrote you was during the pendency of your difficulties with the Missourians. you are aware that at that time I held the office of ‘Brigadier General of the Invincible Dragoons’ of this state and proffered you my entire energies for your deliverance from a ruthless and savage, tho. cowardly foe; but the Lord came to your rescue and saved you with a powerful arm.” (Letter from John C. Bennett, 25 July 1840, underlining in original; see also Letters from John C. Bennett, 27 and 30 July 1840.)  

  27. 27

    There is no record that Bennett helped the Saints before they arrived in Illinois, although he expressed his desire to do so in the nonextant letter previously mentioned.  

  28. 28

    An October 1840 general conference selected Bennett, JS, and Robert B. Thompson as a committee to draft the document that would become the Nauvoo charter. Additionally, Bennett was “appointed delegate to Springfield, to urge the passage of said bill through the legislature.” He subsequently lobbied in Springfield leading up to the November and December deliberations of the Twelfth Illinois General Assembly. (Minutes and Discourse, 3–5 Oct. 1840; Ford, History of Illinois, 263.)  

    Ford, Thomas. A History of Illinois, from Its Commencement as a State in 1818 to 1847. Containing a Full Account of the Black Hawk War, the Rise, Progress, and Fall of Mormonism, the Alton and Lovejoy Riots, and Other Important and Interesting Events. Chicago: S. C. Griggs; New York: Ivison and Phinney, 1854.

  29. 29

    See Matthew 25:35.  

  30. 30

    Galland sold his home and land on the Nauvoo peninsula on 30 April 1839. For a time after the sale, Sidney Rigdon and his family lived in Galland’s house. According to Rigdon’s son John Wickliff Rigdon, it was “a beautiful place on the banks of the river a stone house and nicely shaded with locus trees and considerable land lying back it on the flats.” (Hancock Co., IL, Deed Records, 1817–1917, vol. 12-G, p. 247, 30 Apr. 1839, microfilm 954,195, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Rigdon, “Life Story of Sidney Rigdon,” 158.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Rigdon, John Wickliff. “Life Story of Sidney Rigdon,” no date. CHL. MS 3451.

  31. 31

    This passage refers to the sale of Galland’s land on the Nauvoo peninsula, for which he was to receive $18,000 over a twenty-year period. At the end of January 1841, church agents responsible for buying and selling land in Nauvoo created a report noting that this amount had been paid in full, apparently through land exchanges, as noted here. (Hancock Co., IL, Deed Records, 1817–1917, vol. 12-G, p. 247, 30 Apr. 1839, microfilm 954,195, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Report of Agents, ca. 30 Jan. 1841.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  32. 32

    A reference to nearly eighteen thousand acres of the Half-Breed Tract that the Saints purchased from Galland. Contrary to this report, Galland sold the land for approximately $50,000. (Cook, “Isaac Galland,” 276.)  

    Cook, Lyndon W. “Isaac Galland—Mormon Benefactor.” BYU Studies 19 (Spring 1979): 261–284.

  33. 33

    In 1837 and 1838, Galland was involved in publishing the Western Adventurer, a newspaper based in Montrose, Iowa Territory. Galland’s Iowa Emigrant, a guidebook on Iowa Territory’s history, landscape, and wildlife, was published in 1840 as Galland’s Iowa Emigrant: Containing a Map, and General Descriptions of Iowa Territory (Chillicothe, OH: William C. Jones, 1840). (Galland’s Iowa Emigrant, iii–iv.)  

    Galland, Isaac. Galland’s Iowa Emigrant: Containing a Map, and General Descriptions of Iowa Territory. Chillicothe, OH: Wm. C. Jones, 1840.

  34. 34

    JS baptized Galland on 3 July 1839 in Commerce, Illinois. (JS, Journal, 3 July 1839.)  

  35. 35

    Hebrews 11:25.  

  36. 36

    Adams had served in the New York state militia, obtaining the rank of brigadier general in 1818. JS first met Adams on 4 November 1839 in Springfield, where Adams was working as a probate judge. Five days later, Adams wrote a letter of introduction for JS, Sidney Rigdon, and Elias Higbee to President Martin Van Buren. It is unclear when Adams was baptized, but he had clearly joined the church before this proclamation was written. (Black, “James Adams of Springfield, Illinois,” 34, 38; JS History, vol. C-1, 972; Letter of Introduction from James Adams, 9 Nov. 1839.)  

    Black, Susan Easton. “James Adams of Springfield, Illinois: The Link between Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Smith.” Mormon Historical Studies 10, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 33–49.

  37. 37

    Foster was baptized before 5 October 1839. (Minutes and Discourses, 5–7 Oct. 1839.)  

  38. 38

    Knowlton was baptized—likely by John E. Page—near Carthage, Illinois, in early 1840. Page wrote, “Br. Knowlton is one of the first citizens of Hancock co. and ranks with the first class of scientific Farmers.” (Report, Times and Seasons, Feb. 1840, 1:61.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  39. 39

    Knight was baptized in 1839. Heber C. Kimball described him as a “verry eminet fasition [physician], a m[an] of great weth [wealth].” (Almon Babbitt, Pleasant Garden, IN, 18 Oct. 1839, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:27; Heber C. Kimball, Pleasant Garden, IN, to Vilate Murray Kimball, 24 Oct. 1839, photocopy, Heber C. Kimball, Correspondence, 1837–1864, CHL; Cady, Indiana Annual Register, 136.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    Heber C. Kimball Family Organization. Compilation of Heber C. Kimball Correspondence, 1983. Unpublished typescript. CHL.

    Cady, C. W. The Indiana Annual Register and Pocket Manual, Revised and Corrected for the Year 1846. . . . Indianapolis: Samuel Turner, 1846.

  40. 40

    See Isaiah 54:2; and Book of Mormon, 1837 ed., 529 [3 Nephi 22:2].  

  41. 41

    Nehemiah 2:20.  

  42. 42

    See Ezekiel 33:7.  

  43. 43

    Before the October 1839 general conference appointed the Commerce area as a place of gathering, there were concerns that large populations of Saints attracted greater negative attention. For example, Bishop Edward Partridge stated in February 1839 that “it was not expedient under present circumstances, to collect together but thought it was better to scatter into different parts and provide for the poor which will be acceptable to God.” (Minutes and Discourses, 5–7 Oct. 1839; “Conference in Quincy Feby. 1839,” Far West Committee, Minutes, CHL.)  

    Far West Committee. Minutes, Jan.–Apr. 1839. CHL. MS 2564.

  44. 44

    See Isaiah 43:5–6.  

  45. 45

    See 2 Thessalonians 1:8–10.  

  46. 46

    See Matthew 3:12; and Luke 3:17.  

  47. 47

    The October 1840 general conference resolved that “every tenth day be appropriated for the building of said house.” (Minutes and Discourse, 3–5 Oct. 1840.)