Saturday, November 5, 2016

1842 Benjamin Winchester letter

Readers of my books know that one of my assertions has been that Benjamin Winchester was mailing articles from Philadelphia to William Smith in Nauvoo, who was editing the Wasp in Nauvoo. I have also proposed that William was editing the Times and Seasons.

Recently the Joseph Smith Papers announced some new material on their website. Among the material was a letter from Benjamin Winchester to the First Presidency, dated August 8, 1842.

Here's the link:

I hadn't seen this before today. This is highly significant because now we know Benjamin mailed at least this letter to Nauvoo exactly in the time frame in which I had proposed he was mailing articles and extracts to Nauvoo. This isn't proof that he wrote the anonymous articles, as I have proposed based on a number of facts itemized in The Lost City of Zarahemla and Brought to Light, but it is a nice confirmation of one of my basic proposals.

I think it's also significant to see the familiarity he has with the First Presidency. He is short and to the point. He is almost demanding that they take the action he wants, supporting his demand with a vote of 500 to 0.

The letter involves George Adams, who is the subject of the August Times and Seasons articles I think Winchester wrote under the pseudonym "Q" as explained in my books. Even in this brief letter, he refers to the "great excitement on the subject of our holy religion," the exact kind of exaggeration ans zeal typical of "Q" and Winchester's other writings.

Of course, I still hope someday we find a cover letter from Winchester to William Smith that accompanies the anonymous articles...


Unfortunately, the Joseph Smith Papers made a mistake (or oversight) in the biographical summary of Benjamin Winchester, here: They say he arrived in Nauvoo by 12 November 1841, but we know he was there at least on October 31, 1841, because of the disciplinary council he faced on that date. I'll send a suggested correction and see if they incorporate it.

Here's Winchester's letter in the original and as transcribed:

 Aug 8th [1842]
To the first presidency of [the churc]h at 
This is to certify that [upon] [conve]ning a vote was called in a congregation of more than five hundred to express their desire that   should [re]turn to this   to preach and there was not, a dissenting voice
For my own part I thought it altogether advisable for him to return immediately for there is now a great excitement on the subject of of our holy religion and a prospect of bringing scores into the kingdom

1 comment:

  1. So now we know that Benjamin Winchester mailed at least this letter to Nauvoo. And a possibility that other letters, including those to the Times and Seasons, were mailed in.


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