Topic Study: Wentworth Letter

(May 2007)

I             Introduction

This is the opening statement of the publication of the Wentworth Letter published in the Nauvoo Paper, The Times and Seasons on March 1, 1842.

March 1, 1842.—At the request of Mr. John Wentworth, Editor and Proprietor of the Chicago Democrat. I have written the following sketch of the rise, progress, persecution, and faith of the Latter-day Saints, of which I have the honor, under God, of being the founder. Mr. Wentworth says that he wishes to furnish Mr. Bastow, a friend of his, who is writing the history of New Hampshire, with this document. As Mr. Bastow has taken the proper steps to obtain correct information, all that I shall ask at his hands, is, that he publish the account entire, ungarnished, and without misrepresentation

II            First Vision and Moroni

The letter then contains content very similar to the History of Church as found in the Pearl of Great Price.  It then continues with a description of the angel Moroni and a detailed description of the contents of the Book of Mormon.

It contains this description of the golden plates:

These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold, each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long, and not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume as the leaves of a book, with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The characters on the unsealed part were small, and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction, and much skill in the art of engraving. With the records was found a curious instrument, which the ancients called “Urim and Thummim,” which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rims of a bow fastened to a breast plate. Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God.

III           History of the Church

It next has six paragraphs on the history of the church, from New York, to Kirtland, to details about Missouri and the building of the City of Nauvoo.

This section ends with this famous quote:

Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, and in Germany, Palestine, New Holland, Australia, the East Indies, and other places, the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.

The Articles of Faith immediately follows this stirring call.

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