Prophet extends 'olive leaf' to contentious in Missouri

During 1832 a spirit of contention developed between some of the brethren in Missouri and some living in Ohio. Some of the brethren in Missouri challenged the Prophet's right to preside over them. On Jan. 14, 1833, Joseph Smith wrote to W.W. Phelps in Missouri, enclosing a copy of Section 88, which became known as the "olive leaf." Its concepts would bear testimony of the Prophet's inspiration and would help the saints overcome their differences and again enjoy a spirit of peace.

Joseph Smith wrote: "I send you the `olive leaf' which we have plucked from the Tree of Paradise, the Lord's message of peace to us; for though our brethren in Zion indulge in feelings towards us, which are not according to the requirements of the new covenant, yet, we have the satisfaction of knowing that the Lord approves of us, and has accepted us, and established His name in Kirtland for the salvation of the nations; for the Lord will have a place whence His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity. . . ."The brethren in Kirtland pray for you unceasingly, for, knowing the terrors of the Lord, they greatly fear for you. You will see that the Lord commanded us, in Kirtland, to build a house of God, and establish a school for the Prophets, this is the word of the Lord to us, and we must, yea, the Lord helping us, we will obey: as on conditions of our obedience He has promised us great things; yea, even a visit from the heavens to honor us with His own presence. . . . "

The Prophet added a postscript to the letter: "I am not in the habit of crying peace, when there is no peace; and, knowing the threatened judgments of God, I say, Wo unto them who are at ease in Zion; fearfulness will speedily lay hold of the hypocrite. I did not suspect you had lost the commandments, but though from your letters you had neglected to read them, otherwise you would not have written as you did." (History of the Church 1:316-17.)

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