History of the Church Series | BYU Studies

History of the Church Series

An Epistle of the Twelve, March 1842
October 4, 2017
History of the Church Series
An Epistle of the Twelve, March 1842
Josh E. Probert

This daily feature is an introduction to a full article by Josh E. Probert. Each Wednesday we focus on an aspect of church history, beginning in New York in the early 19th century and progressing throughout the year to Utah in the 20th century. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.

On March 20, 1842, ten members of the Twelve Apostles composed a long epistle to the Saints in Europe providing directives for immigration. The document reveals the way the Twelve planned to move converts from Europe to the Nauvoo area and the way resources would be provided for the Nauvoo Temple and Nauvoo House. The document also provides a window into the broader contours of Church governance during this formative time and the larger responsibilities of the Twelve after their return from their mission to the British Isles.

The epistle is valuable in that it reveals the ways that the Twelve were already directing the affairs of the Church soon after Joseph Smith had given them authority to do so. These included bringing immigrants to the United States, providing for the poor, providing materials for the construction of the Nauvoo Temple and Nauvoo House, and providing goods for the Mormon settlements altogether. The document is valuable in that it reveals these specifics and provides insights into the broader thinking of Church leaders at the time.