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 William Wines Phelps

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William Wines Phelps

  • Birth 17 Feb 1792 Morris County, New Jersey, USA
  • Death 7 Mar 1872 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
  • Burial Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
  • Memorial ID 6326911

Poet and Orator of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A writer of considerable ability and especially prolific of hymns, including "The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning" and "Now Let Us Rejoice" which celebrate the restoration of the latter-day Church. Both of these were sung in the dedicatory services of the Kirtland temple. He became a member of the first stake presidency organized there as editor of the Church's newspaper. Some of the land around Far West was purchased by Phelps and John Whitmer used nearly $1,500 that had been raised to aid the poverty-stricken incoming Saints. Without consulting other local leaders, they developed the land, sold it, and retained some of the profit for themselves. Conflict festered in Far West throughout 1837 until Joseph Smith, visiting from Ohio in November, the entire Missouri stake presidency (David Whitmer, Phelps, and John Whitmer), and three Apostles were all excommunicated. In November 1838, he signed an affidavit against Joseph, which was instrumental in causing the Prophet to be incarcerated in Liberty Jail for four months. His correspondence to enemies of the Church prompted Joseph Smith to write Phelps a letter on 22 May 1839, rebuking him and calling him to repentance. In a state of misery and poverty, he met Elders Orson Hyde and John E. Page, in Dayton, Ohio. They recommended that he write Joseph Smith and ask for forgiveness. The Prophet wrote back to Phelps, calling him home. He did so, and upon reunion the Prophet embraced him and invited him to rejoin the Saints.

Bio by: Chad Stowell


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Chad Stowell
  • Added: 6 Apr 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6326911
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Wines Phelps (17 Feb 1792–7 Mar 1872), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6326911, citing Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .