Minutes, 6 November 1837
- Source Note
In fall 1837, JS, , , and members of the traveled to , Missouri, to address issues the faced relating to settlement and church authority. On 6 November 1837, they met in Far West with the and a group of to discuss those matters.and and had traveled from , Ohio, in early September. JS, , , and left Kirtland on 27 September and spent several weeks on their journey west holding meetings in , , and before arriving in by early November. This was JS’s and Rigdon’s first visit to Far West, which had been a growing Latter-day Saint community since the Saints began settling there in fall 1836. JS and Rigdon’s fall 1837 trip was motivated in part by the need for more locations for church members to gather in Missouri. A 17 September conference of elders in Kirtland had appointed JS and Rigdon to establish new areas since “the places appointed for the of the saints were at this time crowded to overflowing.” The elders agreed “that it was necessary that there be more of appointed in order that the poor might have a place to gather to.” An 18 September memorial from Kirtland and his counselors also emphasized the need for more places for the Saints to gather. The 6 November meeting minutes featured here indicate that the church leaders unanimously approved decreasing lot sizes in Far West, perhaps in an effort to provide more lots for church members moving to Missouri. The assembled leaders also decided that there was sufficient room in that part of Missouri to accommodate church members who would continue to arrive there. At a meeting held a few days later, on 10 November, men to the voted to expand the town’s boundaries from one to four square miles, and a committee was assigned to locate sites for additional settlements.Another decision at the 6 November meeting related to the in . According to a letter written by , in 1836 and had “appointed the spot for the house of the Lord to be built” and “drew the plan of said house” without consulting the bishop, high council, or . In November 1836, Whitmer and Phelps appointed a building committee for the temple, again without the permission or counsel of other church leaders. The two men were brought before the Far West high council in early April 1837 to explain why they had taken these steps without consultation and why they had kept the profits from land sales. After investigating the subject, the high council resolved that the original building committee would retain their positions and that Missouri church and his counselors John Whitmer and Phelps “be appointed to superintend the building of the house of the Lord” and “receive Revelations Visions &c concerning said house.” John Whitmer and Phelps were required to transfer the land they held privately to Missouri bishop , who was to oversee the sale of land for the benefit of the church. Ground was broken for the Far West House of the Lord on 3 July 1837, and Phelps expressed his hope that Saints moving there would help fund the building efforts. In August 1837 the Missouri presidency and high council unanimously agreed to “go on moderately and build a house unto the name of the Lord in this place. (Far West) as we have means.” As part of this decision, they made Partridge treasurer, to receive donations and subscriptions for the House of the Lord. Though church leaders apparently continued to collect money for the House of the Lord into fall 1837, plans to build the Far West temple were suspended in this 6 November meeting until revelation directed otherwise.After returning to on 10 December 1837, JS wrote an editorial for the Elders’ Journal describing his travels and the events that had occurred in while he was there in early November. In describing this meeting, JS stated that a committee of four men—, , , and —had been appointed to locate new stakes and instruct the Saints where they should settle, but the committee is not mentioned in the minutes featured here.