New York City,
Sept. 18th, 1878.
To Mrs. Sarah M. Pratt:
Dear Wife: As you requested me to write to you, I do so, addressing you, as formerly, under the affectionate title of wife. You once permitted me to use this title, with the utmost confidence. You once were one with me in the new and everlasting covenant. You once, professedly, believed in the sealing ordinances, according to the revelation on Marriage for eternity. You, at several times, did put the hands of others into my hand, and did give them to me as wives, immediately before the marriage ceremony was pronounced. Those women I took with all confidence, and with your
consent. After several years had elapsed, I proposed to you, to commence living upon principles of greater equality in regard to my attentions: this proposition you positively rejected; and you further said, that if I introduced this equality, you would never live with me again, in time, nor in eternity. This was a hard and grevious trial to me: but believing it my proposition to be, not only right, but a duty, I firmly concluded to follow my convictions, though it should be at the sacrifice of life itself. I have done so, with all the faith and sincerity that I ever had in receivigng any religious principle. You, doubtless, looked upon the trial as one too great for you to endure, and accordingly separated yourself from me, as far as the some of the conjugal duties of a wife were concerned. My trials, though hard to endure, have been somewhat lightened, by the constant knowledge that I have
done my duty to other branches of my family, and have thus fulfiled the obligations, entered into with them, under the law of the marriage covenant for eternity, which I esteem as equally sacred with all other divine laws and covenants. Under the laws of man, you could, at any time, <have> easily obtained a divorce from me, and could have been free to marry another; but you have not sought this, but have preferred to remain still my wife; and as such, I have felt it a duty to still render what little aid I could to you, consistant with circumstances. How long I shall live to contribute my mite to you, is unknown to me. If I should pass away before you, I trust that your children and grand-children will do all they can for you.
I have been from home over two weeks, during which I have visited
Jackson county, Mo.; saw the temple block, where I visited 47 years ago. I also visited Richmond, Ray co., Mo. where David Whitmer resides: had several interviews with him. Saw Wm. E. McLellin, who lives at Independence, Jackson co. <Mo.> We I also visited Far West, Mo.: saw some of John Whitmer’s family; he died last summer. Visited Plano, Illinois preached to the re-organized church. Joseph Smith – their president was absent. Visited the Kirtland Temple. Went to the Hill Cumorah – tarried several hours on the same. Arrived in N. York yesterday morning.
How long I shall remain in <the> east, I do not know. Give my love to Orson, Laron, Harmel, Arthur and Celestia, and their families. I expect to improve every favorable opening for preaching, and thus fulfil the duties of my calling. Should you write before the 20th of October, <please> Direct care of W. C. Staines, Box 3957, New York City.
[Transcribed by Brandan Hull and Doratha Young; Dec. 2010]