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The following comes from the Deseret News. To read the full article, click here.
By 1840, William W. Phelps couldn’t bear the guilt and remorse any longer.
Excommunicated in 1838 over issues dealing with church finances and land, Phelps became bitter. He betrayed the Mormons and helped send Joseph Smith to be incarcerated at Liberty Jail, an act that deeply hurt the Prophet.
Two years later, Phelps’ heart had changed. He wrote to Joseph: “I am as the prodigal son. … I ask my old brethren to forgive me. … I want your fellowship. If you cannot grant that, grant me your peace and friendship, for we are brethren, and our communion used to be sweet.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a 1984 Brigham Young University devotional that Joseph’s response “powerfully demonstrates the magnificence of his soul.”
Despite much suffering, “the cup has been drunk, the will of our Father has been done, and we are yet alive,” the Prophet wrote to Phelps.
“Believing your confession to be real, and your repentance genuine, I shall be happy once again to give you the right hand of fellowship, and rejoice over the returning prodigal,” Joseph Smith wrote before paraphrasing Methodist poet Charles Wesley. “Come on, dear brother, since the war is past, for friends at first, are friends again at last.”
To read the full article, click here.