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Source:Joseph Smith:Bernhisel letter:1841:I received your kind present...of all histories that have been written pertaining to the antiquities of this country it is the most correct
Joseph Smith (16 Nov 1841): "I received your kind present...of all histories that have been written pertaining to the antiquities of this country it is the most correct"
John Bernhisel joined the LDS Church in 1837 while practicing medicine in New York City. In 1841 he was ordained bishop of the congregation in New York City. Bernhisel was a well-educated man, and in 1841 read Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan by John L. Stephens.
Impressed by the book, Bernhisel gave the two-volume work to Wilford Woodruff in September 1841 with instructions to make sure it was given to Joseph Smith. Woodruff, who was on his way back from England to Nauvoo, delivered the book, as requested.
It would appear that Joseph appreciated receiving the book, as he wrote a letter to Bernhisel acknowledging the gift. Dated November 16, 1841, the first paragraph of the letter is as follows:
I received your kind present by the hand of Er Woodruff & feel myself under many obligations for this mark of your esteem & friendship which to me is the more interesting as it unfolds & developes many things that are of great importance to this generation & corresponds with & supports the testimony of the Book of Mormon; I have read the volumes with the greatest interest & pleasure & must say that of all histories that have been written pertaining to the antiquities of this country it is the most correct luminous & comprihensive.
- Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, revised edition, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2002), 533.