Settling the Valley, Proclaiming the Gospel: The General Epistles of the Mormon First Presidency

ISBN : 9780190600891

Reid L. Neilson; Nathan N. Waite
464 ページ
156 x 235 mm

The Mormons had just arrived in Utah after their 1,300-mile exodus across the Great Plains and over the Rocky Mountains. Food was scarce, the climate shocking in its extremes, and local Indian bands uneasy. Despite the challenges, Brigham Young and his counselors in the First Presidency sent church members out to establish footholds throughout the Great Basin. But the church leaders felt they had a commission to do more than simply establish Zion in the wilderness; they had to invite the nations to come up to "the mountain of the Lord's house.>" In these critical early years, when survival in Utah was precarious, missionaries were sent to every inhabited continent. The 14 general epistles, sent out from the First Presidency from 1849 to 1856, provide invaluable perspectives on the events of Mormon history as they unfolded during this complex transitional time. Woven into each epistle are missionary calls and reports from the field, giving the Mormons a glimpse of the wider world far beyond their isolated home. At times, the epistles are a surprising mixture of soaring doctrinal expositions and mundane lists of items needed in Salt Lake City, such as shoe leather and nails. Settling the Valley, Proclaiming the Gospel collects the 14 general epistles, with introductions that provide historical, religious, and environmental contexts for the letters, including how they fit into the Christian epistolary tradition by which they were inspired.


List of Illustrations

Foreword by Peter Crawley

Editors' Preface
"Settling the Valley, Proclaiming the Gospel: Major Themes of the First Presidency's General Epistles, 1849-1856" by Nathan N. Waite and Reid L. Neilson
"To the Saints Scattered Throughout the Earth: The Tradition of Mormon Apostolic Epistles" by Reid L. Neilson and Nathan N. Waite

General Epistles of the First Presidency
1. First General Epistle, April 1849
2. Second General Epistle, October 1849
3. Third General Epistle, April 1850
4. Fourth General Epistle, September 1850
5. Fifth General Epistle and Addenda, April 1851
6. Sixth General Epistle, September 1851
7. Seventh General Epistle, April 1852
8. Eighth General Epistle, October 1852
9. Ninth General Epistle, April 1853
10. Tenth General Epistle, October 1853
11. Eleventh General Epistle, April 1854
12. Twelfth General Epistle, April 1855
13. Thirteenth General Epistle, October 1855
14. Fourteenth General Epistle, December 1856

1. General Epistle of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, December 1847
2. Biographical Register
3. Geographical Register



Reid L. Neilson is Assistant Church Historian and Recorder for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Managing Director of the Church History Department. He completed his PhD in religious studies (American religious history emphasis) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is an award-winning author and has published over a dozen books.; Nathan N. Waite is an Associate Editorial Manager for the Joseph Smith Papers Project in Salt Lake City. He received an MA in American studies from the University of Utah and previously published A Zion Canyon Reader.