A letter from Joseph Smith to William W. Phelps, 27 November 1832.

    Brother William W. Phelps,

  1. I say brother because I feel so from the heart, and although it is not long since I wrote a letter unto you, yet I feel as though you would excuse me for writing this, as I have many things which I wish to communicate — some things which I will mention in this letter, which are laying great with weight upon my mind.
  2. I inform you I am well, and family. God grant that you may enjoy the same, and yours, and all the brethren and sisters who remember to enquire after the commandments of the Lord, and the welfare of Zion, and such a being as me. And while I dictate this letter, I fancy to myself that you are saying or thinking something similar to these words: My God, great and mighty art thou. Therefore, show unto your servant what shall become of all these who are assaying to come up unto Zion in order to keep the commandments of God, and yet receive not their inheritance by consecration, by order or deed from the bishop, the man that God has appointed in a legal way, agreeable to the law, given to organize and regulate the church, and all the affairs of the same. Brother William, in the love of God, having the most implicit confidence in you as a man of God, having obtained this confidence by a vision of Heaven, therefore, I will proceed to unfold to you some of the feelings of my heart and proceed to answer the question.
  3. Firstly, it is the duty of the Lord’s clerk, whom he has appointed, to keep a history and a general church record of all things that transpire in Zion, and of all those who consecrate properties, and receive inheritances legally from the bishop, and also their manner of life and the faith and works, and also of all the apostates who apostatize after receiving their inheritances.
  4. Secondly, it is contrary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not the inheritance by consecration, agreeable to his law which he has given, that he may tithe his people to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names enrolled with the people of God, neither is the genealogy to be kept or to be had where it may be found on any of the records or history of the church. Their names shall not be found, neither the names of their fathers or the names of the children, written in the Book of the Law of God, says the Lord of Hosts. Yea, so says the still small voice which whispers through and pierces all things, and often times it makes my bones to quake while it makes manifest, saying, And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words, while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the House of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritance of the saints, whose names are found, and the names of their fathers and of their children, enrolled in the Book of the Law of God; while that man who was called of God, and appointed, that puts forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning.
  5. And all they who are not found written in the Book of Remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed them among unbelievers, where is wailing and gnashing of teeth. These things I say not of myself; therefore, as the Lord speaks, he will also fulfill. And they who are of the high priesthood, whose names are not found written in the Book of the Law, or that are found to have apostatized, or to have been cut off out of the church, as well as the lesser priesthood, or the members, in that day shall not find an inheritance among the saints of the Most High. Therefore, it shall be done unto them as unto the children of the priest as you will find recorded in the second chapter and sixty-first and second verses of Ezra [Ezra 1:12].
  6. Now Brother William, if what I have said is true, how careful then had men ought to be, what they do in the last days, lest they are cut short of their expectations, and they that think they stand should fall, because they keep not the Lord’s commandments, whilst you who do the will of the Lord and keep his commandments have need to rejoice with unspeakable joy, for such shall be exalted very high and shall be lifted up in triumph above all the kingdoms of this world. But I must drop this subject at the beginning.
  7. O Lord, when will the time come when Brother William, your servant, and myself, behold the day that we may stand together and gaze upon Eternal Wisdom, engraven upon the Heavens, while the majesty of our God holds up the dark curtain, until we may read the sound of eternity to the fullness and satisfaction of our immortal souls? O Lord God, deliver us in your due time from the little narrow prison, almost as it were total darkness, of paper, pen, and ink, and a crooked, broken, scattered, and imperfect language.
  8. I would inform you that I have obtained ten subscribers for the Star and received pay. Their names and place of residence as follows: John McMahhan, James McMahhan, James White, William Brown, Henry Kingery, Micayer Dillions, Abraham Kingery, John A. Fisher, David Houghs, Thomas Singers, the papers and all to be sent to Guyandotte post office, Virginia, except David Houghs. His is to be sent to Wayne County, Worster Township, Ohio. Vienna Jaques has not received her papers; please inform her sister Harriet that she is well and give my respects to her. Tell her that Mr. Angel’s brother came after her and the child, soon after she went from here. All he wanted was the child, no more.
    My love for all the brethren, yours in bonds. Amen.
    Joseph Smith Jr.
    P.S. Send The Evening and Morning Star to Brother Joseph Wakefield, Watertown, Jefferson County, New York. All to be from first No —