History of the Church 2:492; “My instructions to the brethren were, when they arrived in England, to adhere closely to the first principles of the gospel, and remain silent concerning the gathering, the vision, and the book of doctrine and covenants, until such time as the work was fully established, and it should be clearly made manifest by the spirit to do otherwise.” – Joseph Smith, June 1837
Matthew 7:15; “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
At the time Smith gave this directive he, and other members of the Church, were practicing polygamy and on the verge of getting booted out of Missouri. This turned out to be just one of the side items in a long list of trouble Smith had created. No matter where you looked in Mormonism, the worse it got.
Three months before the scenario above took place, the Smith brothers were trying to get themselves out of the financial mess they had created. Neither the feds, nor the locals, were too keen on their ne-er-do-well behavioral problems. See Hyrum Smith’s False Prophecy for info on the Kirtland Safety Society where they were printing money, and not paying their bills.
It’s no wonder Smith didn’t want potential British converts knowing the truth!
As an FYI, here’s the Church’s meaning of ‘principles of the gospel’ –
Mormon Doctrine, p. 576; “Plan of Salvation – The plan of salvation, for men in this life, is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It comprises all of the laws, ordinances, and performances by conformity to which mortal man is empowered to gain eternal life in the kingdom of God.” – Bruce R. McConkie
Mormon Doctrine, p. 331; “Gospel – The gospel of Jesus Christ is the plan of salvation. It embraces all of the laws, principles, doctrines, rites, ordinances, acts, powers, authorities, and keys necessary to save and exalt men in the highest heaven hereafter. It is the covenant of salvation which the Lord makes with men on earth.” – Bruce R. McConkie