Minutes, 6–9 October 1843

  • Source Note

Document Transcript

MINUTES OF A SPECIAL CONFERENCE
Of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, held in the City of , commencing on the 6th of October, 1843.
Friday, October 6th, 10 o’clock A. M.
The weather proving unfavorable, the organization of the conference was postponed until the next day at 10 o’clock A. M.
Saturday, 10 o’clock A. M.
Conference assembled and proceeded to business.
President Joseph Smith was called to the chair, and chosen clerk.
Opened with singing by the choir, and prayer by elder .
The president stated the items of business to be brought before the Conference, to be,
1st. The case and standing of elder , counsellor to the First Presidency.
2d. The further progress of the ; after which, any miscellaneous business.
Elder addressed the conference on the subject of his situation and circumstances among the saints.
President Joseph Smith addressed the conference, inviting an expression of any charges or complaints which the Conference had to make. He stated his dissatisfaction with elder as a counsellor, not having received any material benefit from his labors or counsels since their escape from . Several complaints were then brought forward in reference to his management in the Post Office; a supposed correspondence and connection with , with , and with the [p. 329] Missourians, of a treacherous character: also his leaguing with dishonest persons in endeavoring to defraud the innocent.
President Joseph Smith related to the Conference the detention of documents from , Esq., which were designed for the benefit of himself, (President Smith,) but was not handed over for some three or four weeks, greatly to his disadvantage. Also, an indirect testimony from , through the mother of , that said and others had given information, by letter, of President Smiths’ visit to , advising them to proceed to that place and arrest him there. He stated that in consequence of those, and other circumstances, and his unprofitableness to him as a counsellor, he did not wish to retain him in that station, unless those difficulties could be removed; but desired his salvation, and expressed his willingness that he should retain a place among the saints.
Elder suggested the propriety of limiting the complaints and proofs to circumstances that had transpired since the last Conference.
President Joseph Smith replied, and showed the legality and propriety of a thorough investigation, without such limitation.
Elder plead, concerning the documents from , Esq., that he received it in answer to some inquiries which he had transmitted to him—that he received it at a time when he was sick, and unable to examine it—did not know that it was designed for the perusal and benefit of President Joseph Smith—that he had, consequently, ordered it to be laid aside, where it remained until inquired for by Joseph Smith. He had never written to concerning the visit of Joseph Smith to , and knew of no other person having done so. That, concerning certain rumors of belligerent operations under ’s administration, he had related them, not to alarm or disturb any one, but that he had the rumors from good authorities, and supposed them well founded. That he had never received but one communication from , and that of a business character, except one addressed to him conjointly with Elder , which he handed over to President Smith—that he had never written any letters to .
The weather becoming inclement, Conference adjourned until Sunday 10 o’clock A. M.
Sunday, 8th inst., 10 o’clock, A. M.
Conference assembled agreeably to adjournment, and opened with singing by the choir, and prayer by Elder .
Elder resumed his plea of defence. He related the circumstances of his reception in the city of , after his escape from —the cause of his delay in not going to the city of , on an express to which he had been appointed—and closed with a moving appeal to President Joseph Smith concerning their former friendship, associations and sufferings, and expressed his willingness to resign his place, though with sorrowful and indescribable feelings. During this address, the sympathies of the congregation were hightly excited.
Elder related a conversation he had had with Esq. Johnson, in which he exonerated elder from the charge or suspicion of having had a treacherous correspondence with .
President Joseph Smith arose and satisfactorily explained to the congregation the supposed treacherous correspondence with , which wholly removed suspicion from elder , and from every other person. He expressed entire willingness to have elder retain his station, provided he would magnify his office, and walk and conduct himself in all honesty, righteousness, and integrity; but signified his lack of confidence in his integrity and steadfastness, judging from their past intercourse.
President followed with appropriate and expressive remarks on the attribute of mercy in God, as that by which He influences, controls, and conquers—and the propriety and importance of the saint’s exercising the same attribute towards their fellows; and especially towards their aged companion and fellow servant in the cause of truth and righteousness.
Elder and pres’t. followed with remarks in defence of elder .
On motion by President , and seconded by President , Conference voted that elder be permitted to retain his station as Counsellor to the First Presidency.
Singing by the choir—prayer by pres’t. .
Conference adjourned for one hour.
Sunday Three o’clock P. M.
Conference assembled, but in consequence of the inclemency of the weather, business was postponed until Monday 10 o’clock A. M.
Monday 10 o’clock, A. M.
Conference assembled, and resumed business.
Singing by the choir—prayer by elder .
The business pertaining to the was then announced by the President as next in order. [p. 330]
Elder , on the part of the Temple Committee, represented the work of the to be retarded for want of team work and provisions: also of iron, steel, powder and clothing—giving as his opinion that [t]he walls could easily be completed next season, if these embarrassments were removed, and the brethren would come forward to sustain them in the work with the means that were in their hands.
Elder followed, seconding the remarks of , and setting forth the importance of the saints using their utmost exertions to fulfil the revelation concerning the —earnestly exhorting the saints, here and abroad, to roll in the necessary means into the hands of the Committee, that the work may advance with rapidity.
President followed with pertinent remarks on the importance of the work—the ease with which it might be advanced to its completion—that it had already become a monument for the people abroad to gaze on with astonishment. He concluded with some advice to parents to restrain their children from vice and folly, and employ them in some business of profit to themselves, to the , or elsewhere.
On motion by elder , and seconded by President , Conference voted, That we, as conference, and individuals, will use all the means, exertions and influence in our power, to sustain the Temple Committee in advancing the work of the .
President Joseph Smith presented and read to the Conference, a communication from Col. , whose conduct had been called in question, in connection with elder , and expressed himself satisfied that Col. was free, even of reproach or suspicion, in that matter.
Conference adjourned for one hour.
Monday, 2 o’clock, P. M.
Conference reassembled, and listened with profound attention, to an impressive discourse from President Joseph Smith, commemorative of the decease of , Esq., late of this , and an honorable, worthy, useful, and esteemed member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He spoke of the importance of our understanding the reasons and causes of our exposure to the vicissitudes of life, and of death; and the designs and purposes of God, in our coming into the world, our sufferings here, and our departure hence—that it is but reasonable to suppose that God would reveal something in reference to the matter—the ignorance of the world in reference to their true condition, and relation. Reading the experience of others, or the revelations given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things, can only be obtained by experience in these things, through the ordinance of God set forth for that purpose. He remarked that the disappointment of hopes and expectations at the resurrection, would be indescribably dreadful. That the organization of the spiritual and heavenly worlds, and of spiritual and heavenly beings, was agreeably to the most perfect order and harmony—that their limits and bounds were fixed irrevocably, and voluntarily subscribed to by themselves—subscribed to upon the earth—hence the importance of embracing and subscribing to principles of eternal truth. He assured the saints that truth in reference to these matters, can, and may be known, through the revelations of God in the way of his ordinances, and in answer to prayer. The Hebrew church “came unto the spirits of just men made perfect, and unto an innumerable company of angels, unto God the Father of all, and to Jesus Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant;” but what they learned, has not been, and could not have been written. What object was gained by this communication with the spirits of the just, &c.? It was the established order of the kingdom of God—the keys of power and knowledge were with them to communicate to the saints—hence the importance of understanding the distinction between the spirits of the just, and angels. Spirits can only be revealed in flaming fire, or glory. Angels have advanced farther—their light and glory being tabernacled, and hence appear in bodily shape.
Concerning brother , he remarked, that it should appear strange that so good and so great a man was hated. The deceased ought never to have had an enemy. But so it was, wherever light shone, it stirred up darkness. Truth and error, good and evil, cannot be reconciled. had been a most intimate friend. He had annointed him to the Patriarchal power—to receive the keys of knowledge, and power, by revelation to himself. He had had revelations concerning his departure, and had gone to a more important work—of opening up a more effectual door for the dead. The spirits of the just are exalted to a greater and more glorious work—hence they are blessed in departing hence. Enveloped in flaming fire, they are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings and motions, and are often pained therewith.
President Smith concluded with exhortations to the church to renew their exertions to [p. 331] forward the work of the , and in walking before the Lord in soberness and righteousness.
Such a faint outline of the discourse of President Joseph Smith, which was delivered with his usual feeling and pathos; and was listened to with the most profound and eager attention by the multitude, who hung upon his instructions, anxious to learn and pursue the path of eternal life.
After singing by the choir, and prayer by the President, Conference adjourned sine die, with the benediction of the President.
JOSEPH SMITH, President.
, Clerk. [p. 332]