The Essential Joseph Smith
Foreword by Marvin S. Hill

Chapter 23
“Dear–and Affectionate–Wife,” Joseph Smith to Emma Smith, 4 April 1839
(from Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut)

[p.116]Dear—and affectionate—wife.

Thursay night I set down just as the sun is going down, as we peak throw the greats [grates] of this lonesome prision [Liberty Jail, Missouri], to write to you, that I may make known to you my situation. It is I believe it is now about five months and six days since I have been under the grimace, of a guard night and day, and within the walls grates and screeking iron do[o]rs, of a lonesome dark durty prison. With immotions known only to God, do I write this letter[.] [T]he contemplations, of the mind under these circumstances, defies the pen, or tounge, or Angels, to discribe, or paint, to the human being, who never experiance[d] what we experience. This night we expect; is the last night we shall try our weary Joints and bones on our dirty straw couches in these walls[.] [L]et our case hereafter be as it may, as we expect to start to morrow, for Davis Co[unty], for our trial. We shall have a change of venue to some of the lower counties, for the final trial, as our lawyers generaly say, if law can be adheared to in Davis, as it grants us the privaliege [of a change of venue]. But you are awere what we may expect, of beings that have conducted [themselves] as they have[.] We lean on the arm of Jehovah, and none else, for our deliverance, and if he dont do it, it will not be done, you may be assured[.] [F]or there is great thirsting for our blood, in this state; not because we are guilty of any thing: but because they say these men will give an account of what has been done to them; the wrongs they have sustain[ed] if it is known, it will ruin the State. So the mob party have sworn, to have our lives, at all hasards, but God will disappoint them we trust. We shall be moved from this [place] at any rate and we are glad of it let what will become of us[.] [W]e cannot get into a worse hole then this is[.] [W]e shall not stay here but one night besides this[.] [T]hank God, we shall never cast a lingering wish [p.117]after liberty in clay county Mo. [W]e have enough of it to last forever[.] [M]ay God reward fals swearers according to their works, is all I can wish them. My Dear Emma I think of you and the children continualy[.] [I]f I could tell you my tale, I think you would say it was altogether enough for once, to grattify the malice of hell that I have suffered. I want to see little Frederick, Joseph, Julia, and Alexander, [and] Joana [Carter], and old major [his horse]. And as to yourself if you want to know how much I want to see you, examine your feelings, how much you want to see me, and Judge for you[r]self. I would gladly walk from here to you barefoot, and bareheaded, and half naked, to see you and think it great pleasure, and never count it toil[.] [B]ut do not think I am babyish, for I do not feel so[.] I bare with fortitude all my oppression, so do those that are with me, not one of us have flinched yet[.] I want you should not let those little fellows, forgit me[.] [T]ell them Father loves them with a perfect love, and he is doing all he can to git away from the mob to come to them[.] [D]o teach them all you can, that they may have good minds[.] [B]e tender and kind to them[.] [D]ont be fractious to them, but listen to their wants[.] [T]ell them Father says they must be good children and mind their mother[.] My Dear Emma there is great respo[n]sibility resting upon you, in preserveing yourself in honor, and sobriety, before them, and teaching them right things, to form their young and tender minds, that they begin in right paths, and not git contaminated when young, by seeing ungodly examples[.] I soppose you see the need of my council, and help, but a combinnation of things have further conspired to place me where I am, and I know it is not my fault, and further if my voice and council had been heeded I should not have been here[.] [B]ut I find no fault with you, at tall I know nothing but what you have done the best you could[.] [I]f there is any thing it is known to yourself, you must be your own Judge, on that subject: and if e[i]ther of us have done wrong it is wise in us to reprent of it, and for God sake, do not be so foolish as to yield to the flattery of the Devel, falsehoods, and vainty, in this hour of trouble, that our affections be drawn, away from the right objects[.] [T]hose preasious things God has given us will rise up in Judgement against us if we do not mark well our steps, and ways. My heart has often been exceding sorrowful when I have thaught of these thing[s] for many considerations[.] [O]ne thing let [me adm]onished you by way of my duty, do not [be] self willed, neither harbor a spirit of revevenge: and again remember that [p.118]he who is my enemy, is yours also, and never give up an old tried friend, who has waded through all manner of toil, for your sake, and throw him away becau[se] fools may tell you he has some faults[.] [T]hese thing[s] have accured to me [as] I have been writing[.] I do[n’t] speak of them because you do not know them, but because I want to stir up your pure mind by way of rememberance: all feelings of diss[at]isfaction is far from my heart[.] I wish to act upon that principle of generosity, that will acquit myself in the preasance of [—] through the mercy of God[.] You [remainder of text missing]