Urim, Joseph Smith, Book of Abraham, King Follett, part 1.

Intersting title, huh? This is really about a letter from one of Joseph Smith’s former clerks. Written decades after Joseph’s death, it nevertheless points to something interesting regarding his use of Urim. To my knowledge, this letter has never been published. It is a gold-mine of information about a number of contemporary and historical matters. In succeeding posts, I will comment on the contents and indicate the logic of the title. I give you a typographical facsimile (as close as html will allow). Here we go:

Howard Coray to his daugher, Martha Jane Lewis, August 2, 1889.

                                            Sanford, Conyas Co. Col.
                                            August 2, 1889
Dear daughter Martha.
       Yours, bearing date June 2. /89
came duly to hand; and I would have answer-
ed you at once if I could have taken the time
necessary to treat upon all your questions and
queries in a manner satisfactorily to myself as
well as profitable to you but I could not consist=
ently do so; Howard’s time is about all occupied
in looking after his saw mill– hauling lumber to
fill contracts &c &c, consequently much labor and
care has rested upon me– watering, hoeing out the
garden, and a large potatoe patch that has taken
me 3 weeks – hard work; besides, taking Edna to
Sanford to School in a Cart and bringing her home
at night — (2 trips) making 11 miles each school day,
and in addition to this, have to go every night from
2 to 3 miles, after the corns – making my daily travel
some 16 miles per day — So you see, between travel-
ing, hoeing, and watering, I have been kept pretty
busy. I have just got through hoeing, and Edna
does not go to school to day, which affords me
leisure sufficient to write to you;

Your∧ query is: do I think Mary will follow Clark
out of the Church? No– I think not, ; but she is tried
very sorely in her feelings — she is well versed in the
scriptures, and has had many testimonies in regard to
the truth of Mormonism– and being a very kind hearted
good woman, the Lord will feel after her and not
permit the Adversary to lead her to destruction. As
I understand Clark’s affairs, he is in the right and
has been badly used, in regard to his grist mill
difficulty. but he is sadly wanting in some of the
elements necessary to make a good Latter-day Saint,
consequently the Lord, (as all will have to be tested
and tried as gold in the furnice 7 times,) may have
permitted trouble to come upon the family in this way.
    If I understand the principles necessary for a
man to possess in order to lead a woman into
the Celestial Kingdom of God, O. C. Roberts will
have to change materially from what he now is,
before he will∧ able to take Mare there, or get there
himself. The condition of Clark’s affairs is a sore trial
to Mary— but we all have sore trials– Eppie has some
trials, and I perceive, you. are tried not a little

    Now, concerning the Church’s having a policy that
conflicts, or seems to, with revelation : I don’t know
as I will be able to say anything that will be very
satisfactory to you — I will, however, have to reason
in my own way, hoping and trusting that what I
may say will at least do no harm if it does no
good. God says in the Book of D.&C that He com-
mands men to do certain things and they don’t step
forward in obedience to His command, and then revo–
kes the commandment. Ancient Israel was permitted
to practice polygamy; but the Nephites were forbidden
to do so on the ground that they, as well as Ancient
Israel had caused their fair wives and daughters
a great deal of sorrow &c., Now have not the Mor-
mons been as unwise and cruel as they were? and
was not a check necessary— something to bring
them to their Senses? I think so. .

    You say “it is painful to see one’s landmarks being
swept away.” Well, as for me, this is not the case.
When I first joined the Church I commenced gathering
up evidences in regard to the truth of this work, or
Mormonism . The first that made a deep im=
pression on my mind was the baptism of fire and
the Holy Ghost. This was promised me before I was
baptised by water. I soon went to Nauvoo– became
acquainted with the Prophet– heard him preach and
saw him conduct the April Conference of 1840. The
power and wisdom that he displayed on this occasion
was more evidence. I hear father Barnsby[?] speak
in tongues and saw him & Jacob Foutz lay hands
on a woman that had not been able to walk for
6 months and she was healed. The next morning after
she was administered to she could walk as well as she
ever could. Mother had been deaf for over 20 years
before she joined the Church, and was immedietely
healed on coming into it. Now what do you know
concerning our family’s being healed by the laying
on of hands– yourself, Don, Mary &c &c. These gifts are
to confirm those that believe– not make believers–
I have studied the Gospel as revealed by Joseph Smith
and wondered if it were possible for any one unaided
by the spirit of God to have revealed such a system
of salvation and exaltation for man. My conclusion
is that in the negative. I sat and listened to his
preaching at the stand in Nauvoo a great many
times when I have been completely carried away with
his indescribable eloquence,—power of expression– speaking
as I have never heard any other man speak– I have
heard him prophesy many things that have already come
to pass, I have seen him translate by the Seer’s stone
I have been present when he received a revelation
on priesthood; he blessed me and prophesied that on
my head, which has been litterally fulfilled, and
I have seen him by the aid of the Spirit of the
Lord, as a prophet raised up to usher in the dispen=
                                                      this, the
sation of the fullness of times; besides∧ work and the workings
of it, have been made manifest to me by the good spirit,
Now, with these and more evidences of the truth of this
work would it be wise for me to query in my mind as to the
propriety of some of the transactions of those who are legally
placed at the head to steady the Ark, as it were? I am
satisfied that it would not be best for me. If the way and
manner that polygamy is being handled looks a little queer,
it is best to wait patiently for the outcome; and so in regard
to Clark’s case. Well, as for 91, I see no failure in it at
present. The Savior might come and manifest Himself
to but few.– In the Kirtland endowment He manifested
Himself only to Joseph & Oliver, & it might be similar to that
again.— Please write as often as convenient– Love to All,
                       Your father Howard Coray

9 Responses to Urim, Joseph Smith, Book of Abraham, King Follett, part 1.

  1. J. Stapley says:

    Your title got me excited. The letter is very important; thank you for sharing it with us. I look forward to your subsequent posts.

  2. todrobbins says:

    Maybe I missed something. How is O.C. Roberts connected to Coray?

  3. WVS says:

    I’ll explain the family dynamics next post.

  4. ricke says:

    Thanks for this.

  5. Pingback: Urim, Joseph Smith, Book of Abraham, King Follett, part 2. Polygamy and Apocalypse « Boap.org's Blog

  6. Pingback: Urim, Joseph Smith, Book of Abraham, King Follett, part 3. Joseph Smith and Seer Stones. « Boap.org's Blog

  7. Pingback: Urim, Joseph Smith, Book of Abraham, King Follett, part 4. « Boap.org's Blog

  8. Is there any chance that you have a copy of the original letter? Photo or scanned copy?

    Howard Coray is my great, great, great grandfather. Thanks

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