Selected Teachings on the Apostasy of Thomas B. Marsh
Letter to First Presidency for Reinstatement

After 18 years of apostasy, Thomas B. Marsh wanted to rejoin the Church. Leaving Missouri, where he lived during his apostasy, he went to Council Bluffs, Iowa in January of 1857 and made peace with George W. Harris and asked to be accepted as a member of the Church.  He was directed to Wandle Mace at Florence, Nebraska, who suggested he write to the First Presidency for permission.  The following is Bro. Marsh'e letter:

Florence, Douglas Co, Nebraska Ter[ritor]y

May 5th [18]/57

Heber C Kimball

Dear Sir,

You see by the caption to this, where I am. I left Missouri Having lost my wife some three years since I began to awake to a sense of my situation; you will, perhaps, say why you slept a long time or was a long time in waking and would say truely for so it is for I have, at least, been grooping in darkness fo[r] so [sic] these 18 years.

I left Grundy Co, Missouri in the beginning of January A.D. /57, set my face Zionward and traveled, mostly on foot having a determination that I would go to Salt Lake, God being my helper, & there throw myself at the feet of the apostles and implore their forgiveness and ask for admittence into the House of the Lord; into the Church of Latter-day Saints & that I would say to them I know that I have sin[n]ed against Heaven and in thy sight and have rendered myself unworthy of your confidence; or of a place in the family of Heaven nevertheless make me thy servant lest I perish for I know that in my Father's house there is bread enough and to spare while here I perish with hunger.

I came on with very good courage until after I had been here for some time; the longer I remain here & the more I examine into your progress since I left you the stronger I become in my confidence & the stronger I become in faith & the lighter things appear to me, the more clearly do I discover that I deserve no place among you in the church even as the lowest member; but I cannot live long so without a reconciliation with the 12 [apostles] and the Church whom I have injured O Bretheren once Bretheren!! How can I leave this world without your forgiveness Can I have it Can I have it? Something seems to say within yes O then hasten and signify it by writing the word yes to me & then O Joy I shall be content. I have met with G[eorge] W. Harris and reconsiliation has taken place with us [this reconcilation has reference to the disagreement over the strippings.  The case involved Elizabeth Marsh and Lucinda Morgan Harris, wife of George W. Harris], and when that was accomplished I was so overjoyed that I was constrained to say in my heart truely this is an evidence that the Lord loves me after all my rebellion & my sins. I know what I have done a mision was laid upon me & I have never filled it and now I fear it is too late but it is by another, I see, the Lord could get along very well without me and He has lost nothing by my falling out of the ranks; But O what have I lost?! Riches Greater Riches than all this world or many planets like this could afford but O bretheren; can you speak one word of comfort to me Can I be saved at all in the Kingdom of God Can I find peace among you O if I can but enjoy your smiles and the smil[e]s of the Church & of Jesus I shall be content to depart or remain in so great peace the Lord has been mindful of me and altho I was very stubborn He has followed me up He has visited me with Scourging & with visions & dreams, Bretheren O that I were worthy to call you bretheren! but [what] shall I call you? You run very near to me I love you better than I do any set of mortals on this earth. You have been diligent in accomplishing the work given you while I, miserable me! have played time away among harlot churches only seeking for nourishment to my soul where there was no bread of life & I Love you & hate myself. I wait here, at Florence anxiously for a letter addressed to your Old & now truely unworthy & truely sincere friend

Thomas B. Marsh

P.S. My Love to all the saints & may the richest blessings of the fullness of the everlasting Gospel be with and rest upon you now and forever more



(in Lyndon W. Cook, " 'I Have Sinned Against Heaven, and Am Unworthy of Your Confidence, But I Cannot Live without a Reconciliation' ":Thomas B. Marsh Returns to the Church," BYU Studies,  Vol. 20, No. 4, p.396)