Included in the collection are twelve volumes of Post journals, beginning with the day of his baptism and kept until his death in 1879. Most of the journal entries given an account of Post's missionary travels and his religious activities.
In addition to the journals, are revelations sent to Post from Rigdon at his home in Friendship, New York. After Post moved a branch of the church to Attica, Marion County, Iowa in 1864, Rigdon continued to direct the church by the mails. Consequently, the collection has what is probably the largest single collection of Sidney Rigdon letters. Over 200 bear Rigdon's signature. Other letters (some 200 more) are from Post's children, from Post to his wife, and to an from members and leaders of Rigdon's church, the Strangite church, and the Reorganized church. Included are letters to and from Joseph Smith, III. Other papers are certificates and receipts, resource notes, sermons, revelations copied into bound volumes (arranged by sections, like the Doctrine and Covenants), and published works. Most of the published materials come from other schismatic-Mormon groups, and include pamphlets written by Post. Many of the published works bear Post's handwritten annotations.
The collection tells much about Rigdon and his religious beliefs. For example, Rigdon's church had apostles and a prophet. It had, in addition, female quorums of priesthood. Rigdon was prophet and president of his church, and at one time, Post, his wife Jane, and Rigdon's wife Phebe served as assistant presidents.
In 1876 Rigdon tells of a revelation which commands Post to move his branch of the church from Iowa to Canada. In May, a settlement was established at West Lynn, Manitoba. Two months later Sidney Rigdon died, after which Post held Rigdon's few followers together until his own death in 1879. He was "the last important champion of Rigdon, and the wasting away of Rigdonite Mormonism really begins with Post's death . . . " (Dale L. Morgan, "A Bibliography of the Churches of the Dispersion," Western Humanities Review, VII (Summer 1953), 130.)
Because most of the letters came folded in enveloped, the letters, enclosures, and envelopes have been clipped together. Often the postmark, or penciled annotation on the envelope was the only indication of the date. It is not apparent who annotated the envelopes, nor is it clear that the envelopes and letters were, in all cases originally together.
Many of Rigdon's revelations were sent as letters to Post and are found in the correspondence series; some begin "Bro. Post", others bear no salutation. Other of his revelations cannot be identified as letters; they are arranged with the miscellaneous papers. Most of Rigdon's revelations have been copied into two bound volumes.
Collection includes journals, correspondence and other papers, and printed works relating to Mormonism and groups that broke away from the Church, including the Strangites. Much of the material is correspondence with Sidney Rigdon and relates to Rigdon's Church of Christ. Collection includes information about the Kirtland and Nauvoo periods of Church history.
A 17 September 1838 letter written by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon is filed in box 1 fd. 16, which is shown in the register as containing letters written in 1868.
Post was an early member of the Church and later a follower of Sidney Rigdon.
Stephen Post, an early member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and later a member and leader of a variety of schismatic groups, was born in New York state in 1810. He joined the Church in 1835 and moved to Kirtland, where he became a member of the second quorum of Seventy. He began almost immediately to engage in missionary work, in defending the Church, and in answering its critics. In 1837 it was said that "His defence [sic] of Mormanism [sic] we suppose is the best which can be made."1 His first mission for the Church sent him to Michigan in 1839. His second call, beginning in 1844, was to Pennsylvania and New York. Post was in Pennsylvania when the Prophet Joseph Smith was killed.
After the Prophet's death, Post continued his mission in the East, and apparently moved his family there. Although he was aware of the move West under the leadership of Brigham Young, Post remained in the East; he refrained from aligning himself with any of those who claimed a right to the presidency. In 1846, however, this entry appears in his journal:
[July] 14 . . . I received today four no's of the Voree Herald [.] I read them after I returned before I slept & the result is that I find much good evidence that James J Strang is appointed by the will of God to preside over his church as successor to Joseph Smith.
Post followed the Strangite movement until 1855. He attended a conference on Beaver Island in 1850. His journals relate an account of the crowning of Strang as king in Zion. Becoming disillusioned with Strang, Post participated in another attempt at reorganization. A meeting was held in the Kirtland temple in October 1855. Present at that meeting, in addition to Post, were Martin Harris and William Smith.
But the following year, April 11, 1856, Post found "Kirtland apparently a land barren of faith as people without a shephard [sic]" Post's activities were also curtailed somewhat, for the following year-and-a-half only seven entries were made in his journal. In 1857 he became a follower of another of those who claimed the right of succession to the Presidency: Sidney Rigdon, one of Joseph's associates since the Kirtland period and the Prophet's counselor for eleven years.
The collection, which comprises about 2 1/2 cubic feet of papers, arrived in Salt Lake City in two shipments, in July and October, 1971, and the arrangement of the papers reflects this fact. Correspondence and miscellaneous papers are found in two places; however, the inventory is used to locate these papers.
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[Item description], Stephen Post papers. Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah©2019 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.