Recommendation for Orson Hyde, 6 April 1840

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

To all people unto whom these presents shall come.—Greeting.
Be it known that we the constituted authorities of the , assembled in , at , Hancock county and State of Illinois, on this, sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and forty, considering an important event at hand, an event involving the interest and fate of the nations throughout the world. From the signs of the times, and from declarations contained in the oracles of God, we are forced to come to this conclusion.
The Jewish nation have been scattered abroad among the Gentiles for a long period; and in our estimation, the time of the commencement of their return to the Holy land, has already arrived.
As this scattered and persecuted people are set among the Gentiles as a sign unto them of the second coming of the Mesiah; and also, of the overthrow of the present kingdom’s and Governments of the earth, by the potency of his Almighty arm in scattering famine and pestilence like the frosts and snows of winter, and sending the sword, with nation against nation to bathe it in each others blood: It is highly important, in our opinion, that the present views and movements of the Jewish people be sought after, and laid before the American people for their consideration, their prophet [profit] and their learning; and feeling it to be our duty to employ the most efficient means in our power to save the children of men from the “abomination that maketh desolate.”— We have, by the counsel of the Holy Spirit, appointed , the bearer of these presents, a faithful and worthy minister of Jesus Christ, to be our agent and representative in foreign lands, to visit the cities of , , Constantinople and ; and also other places that he may deem expedient, and converse with the priests, rulers and Elders of the Jews, and obtain from them all the information possible, and communicate the same to some principal paper for publication, that it may have a general circulation throughout the .
As has willingly and cheerfully accepted the appointment to become our servant, and the servant of the public in distant and foreign countries for Christs’ sake, we do confidently recommend him to all religious and christian people, and to gentlemen and ladies, making no profession, as a worthy member of society, possessing much zeal to promote the happiness of mankind, fully believing that they will be forward to render him all the pecuniary aid he needs, to accomplish this laborious and hazardous mission for the general good of the human family. Ministers of every denomination, upon whom shall call, are requested to hold up his hands and aid him by their influence, with an assurance that [p. 86] such as do this, shall have the prayers and blessings of a poor and an afflicted people whose blood has flowed to test the depths of their sincerity, and to crimson the face of freedoms soil with MARTYR’S BLOOD.
is instructed by this to transmit to this country nothing but simple facts for publication, entirely disconnected with any peculiar views of theology, leaving each class to make their own comments and draw their own inferences.
Given under our hands, at the time and place before mentioned.
, Clerk. [p. 87]


  1. 1

    See Isaiah 11:11–12; Ezekiel 37:21; Book of Mormon, 1837 ed., 80–81, 125 [2 Nephi 6:9–17; 30:5–9]; Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:43–44]; and Minutes and Prayer of Dedication, 27 Mar. 1836 [D&C 109:61–64].  

  2. 2

    See Revelation, Sept. 1830–A [D&C 29:14–20]; and Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:25–26, 33].  

  3. 3

    See Daniel 11:31; 12:11.  

  4. 4

    Before he was appointed to preach to the Jews in 1840, Hyde had served a number of missions. Between 1831 and 1835, he preached in the eastern United States. Between 1836 and 1838, Hyde helped to open the church’s international missionary work, preaching in Upper Canada and England. (“History of Orson Hyde,” 8–16, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861, CHL.)  

    Historian’s Office. Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861. CHL. CR 100 93.

  5. 5

    Each of these cities boasted a substantial Jewish population in 1840. At this time, there were approximately thirty-two thousand Jews living in England, although how many were in London is unclear. There were approximately forty-two thousand Jews living in Constantinople in 1831 and between seven and ten thousand Jews living in Jerusalem in 1840. By the late 1840s, the Jewish population in Amsterdam was between twenty-five and thirty-five thousand. (Field, “Counting Religion in England and Wales,” 710, 714–716; Bart Wallet, “Amsterdam,” and Abraham Haim et al., “Istanbul,” in Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2:111, 10:780; Bonar and M’Cheyne, Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jews, 163–164; Ayerst, Jews of the Nineteenth Century, 416.)  

    Field, Clive D. “Counting Religion in England and Wales: The Long Eighteenth Century, c. 1680–c. 1840.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 63, no. 4 (Oct. 2012): 693–720.

    Encyclopedia Judaica. 16 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1971–1972.

    Bonar, Andrew A., and Robert Murray M’Cheyne. A Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jews from the Church of Scotland in 1839. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1845.

    Ayerst, W. The Jews of the Nineteenth Century: A Collection of Essays, Reviews, and Historical Notices Originally Published in the “Jewish Intelligence.” London: B. Wertheim, 1848.

  6. 6

    See Exodus 17:11–12.  

  7. 7

    This passage likely refers to the violence that the Saints experienced in Missouri, which ultimately resulted in their expulsion from the state in 1838 and 1839. According to John B. Clark, a general in the Missouri militia, around forty Saints were killed during the conflict. (John B. Clark, Jefferson City, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 29 Nov. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City.)  

    Mormon War Papers, 1838–1841. MSA.

  8. 8

    JS was appointed as chairman and Robert B. Thompson as clerk of the April 1840 general conference. (Minutes and Discourse, 6–8 Apr. 1840.)