Kirtland Ohio May 2nd 1833
Beloved Brother Edward,
I commence answering your letter and sincere request by me, by begging your pardon for not having addressed you more particularly in letters which I have written to Zion. For I have always felt as though a letter written to anyone in authority in Zion would be the property of all, and it mattered but little to whom it was directed. But I am satisfied that this is an error for instruction that is given pointedly and expressly to us, designating our names as individuals, seems to have double power and influence over our minds.
I am thankful to the Lord for the testimony of His spirit which has given me concerning your honesty and sincerity before him. And the Lord loveth and also Zion. For he chasteneth whom he loveth, and scourgeth every son and daughter whom he receiveth.
And he will not suffer you to be confounded and of this thing, you may rest assured, notwithstanding all the threatening of the enemy and your perils among false brethren. For verily I say unto you that this is my prayer and I verily believe the prayer of all the saints in Kirtland, recorded in Heaven in these words:
Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, Thy son, preserve Brother Edward the Bishop of thy Church and give him wisdom, knowledge and power and the Holy Ghost that he may impart to thy saints in Zion their inheritances, and every man his portion of meat in due season. And now this is our confidence and record on high. Therefore fear not little flack for it has been your Father’s good will to give you the Kingdom. And now I will proceed to tell you my views concerning consecration, property and giving inheritances, etc. The law of the Lord binds you to receive whatsoever property is consecrated by deed.
The consecrated property is considered the residue kept for the Lords store house and it is given for this consideration. For to purchase inheritances for the poor.
This any man has a right to do, agreeable to all laws of our country. To donate—give or consecrate all that he feels disposed to give. And it is your duty to see that whatsoever is given, is given legally. Therefore, it must be given for the consideration of the poor saints. And in this way, no man can take any advantage of you in law. Again concerning inheritances, you are bound by the law of the Lord to give a deed securing to him who receives inheritances, his inheritance for an everlasting inheritance, or in other words, to be his individual property, his private stewardship, and if he is found a transgressor and should be cut off out of the Church, his inheritance is his still and he is delivered over to the buffetings of Satan till the day of redemption. But the property which he consecrated to the poor for their benefit and inheritance and stewardship, he cannot obtain again by the law of the Lord. Thus you see the propriety of this law that rich men cannot have power to disinherit the poor by obtaining again that which they have consecrated, which is the residue signified in the law, that you will find in the second paragraph of the extract from the law in the second number. And now, Brother Edward, be assured that we all feel thankful that the brethren in Zion are beginning to humble themselves and trying to keep the commandments of the Lord, which is our prayer to God—you may all be able to do. And now may the grace of God be with all. Amen
Joseph Smith, Jun.