Minutes, , OH, 11 Oct. 1831. Featured version, titled “Minutes of a conference held in Hiram Portage County Ohio Oct 11, 1831,” copied [between ca. 6 Apr. and 19 June 1838] in Minute Book 2, pp. 8–9; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 2.
A of convened on 11 October 1831 in the and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs Johnson home in , Ohio, where JS and his family had recently moved. JS and other elders who traveled to in the summer of 1831 had been back in for roughly a month. Upon their return, they discovered, according to , that many members of the church had apostatized from the faith. JS held conferences of elders in September to discipline members, and this 11 October conference continued efforts to bring order to the congregations in Ohio; these efforts included appointing elders to visit the . The conference dealt with other practical matters as well, including , the scheduling of a general conference to be held later in the month, and the need for funds to support JS and and their families so that they could resume the work of Bible revision. JS’s later history explains that this 11 October meeting occurred when JS was “recommenc[ing] the translation of the Scriptures” in Hiram, with Rigdon as his scribe. Although both were staying on the Johnson farm and therefore had room and board provided, they apparently needed means so that they could devote themselves full time to this effort.
Despite these pressing practical concerns, the conference opened with general instruction, including direction on the subject of conducting meetings, a topic on which JS believed the elders needed additional instruction. Most were “ignorant” of “the ancient manner of conducting meetings,” a later JS history explains, even though members had been counseled to direct meetings “as they are led by the Holy Ghost.” Although some instruction occurred in this one-day conference, the minutes mention a meeting for the following day to continue the discussion and apply the principles.
served as clerk of the meeting. In 1838, inscribed a copy of Whitmer’s minutes into Minute Book 2.
JS History, vol. A-1, 156; Ryder, “Short History,” 3. Although JS renewed his translation work in September with John Whitmer serving as scribe, Rigdon did not begin scribing for the translation until November. (Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 67.)
Ryder, Hartwell. “A Short History of the Foundation of the Mormon Church.” Typescript. Hiram College Collection, 1909–1973. CHL. MS 10377.
Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.
Minutes of a held in Portage County Ohio Oct 11, 1831
Joseph Smith Jr
Certain points were discussed by br Joseph Smith Jr, who said that the Elders present were to tarry untill the Morrow & hold a meeting so that the members might understand the ancient manner of conducting meetings as they were led by the Holy Ghost Also said that this was not perfectly known by many of the Elders of this . Exhortation by br
Br then made a move that this conference take into consideration the propriety of appointing six Elders to visit the several branches of this church setting them in order and also make known the [p. 8]
According to JS’s later history, JS instructed the elders on conducting meetings at the 11 October conference. If a meeting was held on 12 October, as this conference mandates, no record survives. (JS History, vol. A-1, 156.)