Minutes, 7–8 April 1838
Zion high council, Minutes, , Caldwell Co., MO, 7–8 Apr. 1838. Featured version published as “Conference Minutes,” in Elders’ Journal, July 1838, p. 47. For more complete source information, see the source note for Elders’ Journal, Oct. 1837.
On 7–8 April 1838, JS presided over a conference in , Missouri, and took minutes. This quarterly conference, the first one held that year, had been scheduled by the on 3 March 1838. By that date, the council members knew that JS had departed , Ohio, for Far West, and they probably expected that he would arrive in time for the conference. On 6 April, the day prior to the conference’s start, the church held a meeting in which a pro tempore for the in Zion and a number of other officers were appointed. According to the abbreviated minutes that included in the “Scriptory Book,” the 6 April meeting was “a Conf. of the authorities of the Church of Latter day Saints Assembled at their first quarterly Conference in the City of Far West.” However, the official minutes of both the 6 April meeting and the 7–8 April meeting, which were published in the July issue of the Elders’ Journal, indicate the 6 April meeting was separate from the quarterly conference held 7–8 April. Nevertheless, the appointments made in the 6 April meeting prepared the church administratively for the conference held the next two days.The conference was another step in the reorganization of church leadership in the wake of the disaffection of church leaders in and . The conference was probably held indoors—as was the 6 April meeting—possibly in a or some other public building. According to the minutes, at the beginning of the conference JS, , and the presidency “took the stand,” suggesting there was a rostrum. Then, as was customary in conferences, the officers organized according to their and councils. Next, JS “gave some instruction respecting the order of the day,” after which the conference formally “opened” with singing and prayer. and , the assistants to in the pro tempore presidency of the church in Zion, offered the opening prayers at the sessions—and possibly conducted as well. JS gave instruction during both days of the conference. The leaders of the priesthood quorums and councils reported on their respective organizations, and vacancies in the were filled. The minutes were taken by , who had taken minutes of recent high council meetings and was appointed as the clerk of the church in Zion during the 6 April meeting. The minutes of the conference close by listing JS as “president,” perhaps signifying that he was the head of the church or that he presided over the conference. JS may have signed the original minutes or a fair copy, although it is also possible that Robinson simply added JS’s name as the presiding authority. A fair copy of the minutes was probably used to prepare the version published in the July issue of the Elders’ Journal, the church’s newspaper.