, , and JS, Recommendation, for , , Adams Co., IL, 3 June 1839. Featured version copied [between 5 and 8 June 1839]; handwriting of ; signatures of , , and JS; one page; JS Collection, CHL. Includes docket.
Single leaf measuring 9⅞ × 6¾ inches (25 × 17 cm). The recommendation was presumably cut from a larger leaf; the sides are unevenly cut and vary slightly in width. The verso contains a docket in the handwriting of , who was appointed JS’s private secretary in December 1842: “June 3d 1839 | B. Young’s Letter. Commendation | from | Joseph Smith Jr. | S.— R.— | H.— S”. The docket suggests that the recommendation was filed in JS’s papers between 1841, when returned from a mission, and 1854, after which Richards no longer worked in the Church Historian’s Office.
In early June 1839, the issued a recommendation to , who was acting of the , in preparation for his approaching mission to Europe. Almost a year earlier, on 8 July 1838, JS dictated a revelation directing the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to embark on a mission “over the great waters” and to depart from the in , Missouri, on 26 April 1839. The apostles traveled to and met in Far West on 26 April as directed, but they did not immediately leave for Europe. Instead, they returned to and soon afterward moved north with their families to , Illinois, and to , Iowa Territory. There they participated in various in preparation for their mission.
Throughout the 1830s, those assigned to represent the church as proselytizing received and recommendations from church leaders. No extant documents describe the creation of the recommendations for the apostles’ 1839 mission to Europe. The earliest extant recommendation for this mission is a draft that bears the date 3 June 1839. This dating suggests that the draft was created while members of the First Presidency were visiting the Saints in from around 30 May until 5 June. After the presidency returned to on 5 June, , who did not travel to Quincy with the presidency, revised the draft recommendation, adding the salutation “To The Saints scatterred abroad to the Nations of Europe and to the World.—” and noting when and where the recommendation was created. Mulholland incorporated these revisions when he made a copy of the recommendation for , featured here, which the members of the First Presidency signed. After creating Young’s recommendation, Mulholland created similar recommendations for other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who were leaving for the European mission. Mulholland dated this copy 3 June, the date of the draft, but likely inscribed the copy between 5 and 8 June.
The 1830 “Articles and Covenants” of the church state that each man ordained to a priesthood office was to carry a certificate with him as he traveled, proving that he was authorized to “perform the duty of his calling.” In March 1836, church authorities adopted resolutions regarding the granting and recording of licenses. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:63–64]; Minutes, LDS Messenger and Advocate, Feb. 1836, 2:266–268; Minutes, 3 Mar. 1836.)
Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.
It is unclear who inscribed the draft of the recommendation. Although the draft bears the name of Brigham Young, it likely was not prepared specifically for him but was used as a template, with Young’s name as a placeholder. (See Recommendation for Brigham Young, 3 June 1839, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.)
Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
To the Saints scatterred abroad to the Nations of Europe and to the World—
Be it known unto you that is fully authourised to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and his testimony can be relied on he is a man of unexceptionable character and received his authourity and from under the hands of the Presiding authourities of the who were called by actual revelation from God therefore God will bless him and bear record by his power thereby confirming his word and ministry thus testifieth your humble servants.—