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    [Mormons] and [Nauvoo]. Autograph Letter Signed. Four integral pages, 7.5" x 12.5", "Fort Madison," December 6, 1842, to the Reverend Milton Badger. Badger was Secretary of the American Home Missionary Society. Established in 1832, the Society was related to the Triennial Convention of Baptists and, in 1888, changed to the American Baptist Home Missionary Society (which today is part of the American Baptist Convention). Its mission is "to preach the gospel, establish churches and support ministry among the unchurched and destitute."

    Written by the Presbyterian minister J. A. Clark, who has focused his work in and around Fort Madison, Iowa, he begins with his belief that they must step up their missionary efforts: "I have been waiting to witness the results of subsequent endeavors anticipating that therein I might find matter to interest to communicate to you. Nor have I waited in vain...my labors have been confined at Madison with the exception of one Sabbath. Tho owing to the extent of our field & the paucity of labors there is a call for a diffusion of our labors, yet I am more & more convinced of the importance of a concentration of our efforts. I have no doubt but one great reason why the progress of our cause is so tardy on missionary ground is the irregular manner they enjoy the means of grace. Place any eastern congregation in similar circumstances with our congregations...deprive them of their intelligent & experienced Elders & deacons & leave them destitute of preaching one half or a third of their time & is it not more than likely that they would be on the retrograde rather than on the advance? The great importance of the continuous labors of a minister who can devote his entire attention to his work is growingly manifest at Fort Madison."

    At the conclusion of the letter, Clark repeats his call for effort to displace the Mormons and Joseph Smith: "Found some twelve members who may be associated in the church. This is a very important point. I know of none in the territory more so & that presents more flattering prospects for ministerial success. The beast has already looked upon it with a covetous eye & Lieutenant General Prophet Joe arrogantly claims it as his." Following their forced exile from Missouri, the Mormon believers entered Illinois and established the town of Nauvoo. Joseph Smith then organized the Nauvoo Legion, an independent militia and the largest group of armed men in Illinois. He named himself Lieutenant General of the Legion.

    Weakened folds are separating with no loss of paper, but slight damage to text. Chipping at the right edge of page three has been repaired. Lightly toned.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
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