Letter from the Presidency of Elders, 29 January 1836
, , , and , Letter, , Geauga Co., OH, to JS, [, Geauga Co., OH], 29 Jan. 1836. Featured version copied [ca. 29 Jan. 1836] in JS, Journal, 1835–1836, p. 145; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS, Journal, 1835–1836.
At a grand council on 15 January 1836, as they filled vacancies in the several , JS and other leaders appointed a for the . , who had arrived in , Ohio, from , Livingston County, New York, on 11 January 1836, received a unanimous vote to officiate as president of the Kirtland quorum of elders. JS, , and then ordained him to that position.
Following his appointment, worked to organize the elders and prepare them to receive the promised of power. At a meeting of the Kirtland elders on 25 January 1836, , , and gave instructions respecting the elders’ preparation to receive the “holy .” At that meeting, Beman chose and as his counselors; he then “organized the quorum according to age” and recorded their names. On 28 January, JS “assisted in anointing the counsellors of the President of the Elders & gave them the instruction necessary for the occasion” so that they could anoint others in the quorum. The next day, Beman, Hedlock, and Morton, with as their clerk, wrote to the church’s seeking further clarity about putting the elders quorum in order as JS had directed. They wrote specifically requesting instruction on receiving and ordaining new candidates to the office of elder. Though no written response from the First Presidency has been found, JS and other leaders may have had this letter in mind at a conference of the church presidency the next day, when they passed a resolution “that no one be ordained to an office in the Church in Kirtland without the voice of the several quorums when assembled for church business.”
copied the letter from the presidency of elders into JS’s journal sometime before 8 February 1836, when resumed his scribal duties.
JS’s journal incorrectly states that Beman lived in Genesee County, New York, at this time. Mary A. Noble, Beman’s daughter, and county deed records indicate that Beman resided in Avon, Livingston County, approximately twenty-five miles from Batavia, the seat of Genesee County. (JS, Journal, 11 and 15 Jan. 1836; Noble and Noble, Reminiscences, ; Livingston Co., NY, Deed Records, 1820–1901, vol. 8, p. 593, 22 Jan. 1831, microfilm 510,038, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Minutes, 13 Jan. 1836; Minutes, 15 Jan. 1836.)
Noble, Joseph B., and Mary Adeline Beman Noble. Reminiscences, ca. 1836. CHL. MS 1031, fd. 1.
To the of the . Beloved Bret[hren] feeling ourselves amenable to you for our proceedings as the of the first of in , & believing that we are to be govorned by you; we desire to know if we are to receive all those who are recommended to us by Elders for , or shall we receive none only those who have written recommendations from you. please answer our request
There was only one quorum of elders at this time. A record of its proceedings was kept between 15 January 1836 and 5 October 1841. Beman served as president of the quorum until his death in November 1837. (Kirtland Elders Quorum, “Record,” 1.)
Kirtland Elders Quorum. “A Record of the First Quorurum of Elders Belonging to the Church of Christ: In Kirtland Geauga Co. Ohio,” 1836–1838, 1840–1841. CCLA.
The 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants did not definitively answer the question of whether explicit approval from the churchpresidency was necessary to ordain any man to the office of elder. One relevant, though potentially ambiguous, passage in the Doctrine and Covenants stated, “No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church; but the presiding elders, traveling bishops, high counsellors, high priests, and elders, may have the privilege of ordaining, where there is no branch of the church, that a vote may be called.” (Doctrine and Covenants 2:16, 1835 ed. [D&C 20:65–66].)