Minutes and Discourses, 6–7 April 1844, as Published in Times and Seasons
General conference of the church, Minutes, and JS, Discourses, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, 6–7 Apr. 1844; in “Conference Minutes, Times and Seasons, 1 May 1844, 5:522–524; 15 July 1844, 5:577–579; 1 Aug. 1844, 5:596–598; and 15 Aug. 1844, 5:612–617.
“Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons, 1 May 1844, 5:522–524.
Conference met pursuant to appointment, on Saturday the 6th of April, 1844.
Present, President Joseph Smith, , and .
Of the Twelve, , , , , , and .
The members of the High Council, an immense number of elders, and an innumerable concourse of people.
Saturday, April 6, 1844.
Presidents Joseph, and came to the stand at 1-4 past 10 o’clock, when the meeting was called to order by elder . The choir sung a hymn, after which President Joseph Smith rose to state to the congregation the nature of the business which would have to come before them. He stated that it had been expected by some that the little petty difficulties which have existed, would be brought up and investigated before this conference, but it will not be the case; these things are of too trivial a nature to occupy the attention of so large a body. I intend to give you some instruction on the principles of eternal truth, but will defer it until others have spoken, in consequence of the weakness of my lungs. The elders will give you instuction, and then, (if necessary) I will offer such corrections as may be proper to fill up the interstices. Those who feel desirous of sowing the seeds of discord will be disappointed, on this occasion. It is our purpose to build up, and establish the principles of righteousness, and not to break down and destroy. The great Jehovah has ever been with me, and the wisdom of God will direct me in the seventh hour; I feel in closer communion, and better standing with God than ever I felt before in my life, and I am glad of this opportunity to appear in your midst. I thank God for the glorious day that he has given us. In as large a congregation, it is necessary that the greatest order and decorum be observed; I request this at your hands, and believe that you will all keep good order.
Prayer was offered by , after which the choir sung a hymn.
Elder then rose and said, It is with no ordinary degree of satisfaction, I enjoy this privilege this morning; want of health, and other circumstances have kept me in silence for nearly the last five years. It can hardly be expected, that when the violence of sickness having used its influence, and the seeds of disease have so long preyed upon me, that I can rise before this congregation. I am now come forth from a bed of sickness, and have enough of strength left to appear here for the first time in my true character. I have not come before a conference for the last five years in my true character. I shall consider this important privilege sacred in my family history, during life. I hardly promise myself lungs to make this congregation hear me, I shall do the best I can, and the greatest can do no more.— The circumstances by which we are now surrounded points out the principles of my discourse—the history of this church which I have known from its infancy: my text is, “Behold the church of God of the last days.” I do not know that I can find it in the Bible; I do not think it necessary to have Paul to make a text for me; I can make a text for myself; I recollect in the year 1830, I met the whole church of Christ in a little old log house about 20 feet square, near Waterloo, N. Y. and we began to talk about the kingdom of God as if we had the world at our command; we talked with great confidence, and talked big things, although we were not many people, we had big feelings; we knew fourteen years ago that the church would become as large as it it to-day; we were as big then, as we shall ever be; we began to talk like men in authority and power—we looked upon the men of the earth as grass hoppers; if we did not see this people, we saw by vision, the church of God, a thousand times larger; and when men would come in, they would say we wanted to upset the government, [p. 522]