General Church Officers, May–August 1842

The following charts identify the general leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, local church leadership in , Illinois, and the officers of other relevant organizations between 1 May and 31 August 1842. Because leadership in some organizations shifted significantly during this period, a few of the charts provide a snapshot of the leadership on specific dates rather than representing all the changes over the course of the period.
First Presidency
Throughout the period from May through August 1842, JS served as of the church, with and serving as his counselors and with serving as associate president. Hyrum Smith had been a counselor in the presidency, but shortly after he succeeded his father as patriarch in 1840, a January 1841 revelation indicated that William Law should take his place in the presidency and that Smith should have the “blessing and glory, and honor and priesthood and gifts of the priesthood, that once were put upon . . . .” Cowdery had received the keys of the priesthood in connection with JS, had been sustained as “second elder of this church” on 6 April 1830, and had served in the church’s presidency from December 1834 to April 1838 under the titles “assistant President” and “assistant councillor.” The January 1841 revelation that called Hyrum Smith as church patriarch also identified him as “a prophet and a seer and a revelator,” and Hyrum continued to serve in the presidency. Later church historians applied the term “associate president” to Hyrum Smith’s unusual position. Although this title was not used during his lifetime, it seems to accurately describe his role in relation to JS. Due to Rigdon’s prolonged illness, had been appointed as a temporary assistant president in April 1841. Bennett was removed from this position when church leaders disfellowshipped him on 11 May 1842.
1 May–11 May 1842 11 May–31 August 1842
Joseph Smith, president Joseph Smith, president
, associate president , associate president
, counselor , counselor
, counselor , counselor
, assistant president
was appointed of the church in 1834 and served in that position until his death in September 1840. Prior to his death, Smith ordained his son as his successor. In January 1841, JS dictated a revelation that appointed to the presidency so that Hyrum Smith could “take the office of priesthood and patriarch, which was appointed unto him by his father by blessing and also by right.” That same revelation appointed him, as patriarch, to hold the sealing power and to be “a prophet and a seer and a revelator unto my church as well as my servant Joseph.” Hyrum Smith functioned in this office for the remainder of his life.
1 May–31 August 1842
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
When the was originally organized in 1835, the group included the first six men on the lists below. By December 1841, the other six members of the original quorum had died or were disaffected. The final six men on the first list joined the quorum between December 1838 and April 1841 to replace those members. In summer 1842, difficulties arose between and JS as rumors spread that JS had proposed marriage to Pratt’s wife, , while Pratt was serving a mission in . These difficulties led to a four-day meeting between Pratt and a council consisting of the three fellow apostles living in . On 20 August, after Pratt refused to “recall his sayings against Joseph,” the council concluded that he should be “cut off” from the church, and they ordained in his stead.
1 May–20 August 1842 20–31 August 1842
, president , president
Presidents of the Seventy
Three of were organized in 1835 and 1836, but by 1837 all seventies were included in one quorum. Unlike most quorums in the church, which were presided over by a presidency consisting of one president and two counselors, the Quorums of the Seventy were presided over by seven presidents. Throughout the period from May through August 1842, the same seven men served as presidents of the Seventy. The order in which they are listed below reflects the order in which they are mentioned in a January 1841 revelation regarding the church in .
1 May–31 August 1842
  1. 1

    Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 18, [5]; Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 15 Dec. 1840; Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:95].  

  2. 2

    Doctrine and Covenants 2:1, 1835 ed. [D&C 20:3]; Account of Meetings, Revelation, and Blessing, 5–6 Dec. 1834; Minutes, 3 Sept. 1837.  

  3. 3

    See Mouritsen, “Office of Associate President,” 34–49.  

    Mouritsen, Robert Glen. “The Office of Associate President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University 1972.

  4. 4

    Minutes, 7–11 Apr. 1841.  

  5. 5

    Notice, 11 May 1842; see also Letter to James Sloan, 17 May 1842.  

  6. 6

    Historical Introduction to Blessing from Joseph Smith Sr., 9 Dec. 1834; Patriarchal Blessings, 1:9.  

    Patriarchal Blessings, 1833–. CHL. CR 500 2.

  7. 7

    Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 18, [5]; Fielding, Journal, Mar. 1840–Feb. 1841, 89.  

    Fielding, Joseph. Journals, 1837–1859. CHL. MS 1567.

  8. 8

    Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:91, 94].  

  9. 9

    Minutes, Discourse, and Blessings, 14–15 Feb. 1835; Minutes and Discourse, 2 May 1835.  

  10. 10

    John F. Boynton, Luke Johnson, Lyman Johnson, William E. McLellin, and Thomas B. Marsh were excommunicated or removed from office between December 1837 and March 1839; David W. Patten was mortally wounded during a skirmish at Crooked River on 25 October 1838. (John Smith and Clarissa Smith, Kirtland, OH, to George A. Smith, Shinnston, VA, 1 Jan. 1838, George A. Smith, Papers, CHL; Minutes, 13 Apr. 1838; JS, Journal, 11 May 1838; “Extracts of the Minutes of Conferences,” Times and Seasons, Nov. 1839, 1:15; JS History, vol. B-1, 839.)  

    Smith, George Albert. Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  11. 11

    John E. Page and John Taylor were ordained apostles on 19 December 1838. Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith were ordained on 26 April 1839. Willard Richards and Lyman Wight were ordained the eleventh and twelfth members of the quorum in April 1840 and April 1841, respectively. (Revelation, 8 July 1838–A [D&C 118:6]; Minute Book 2, 19 Dec. 1838; Woodruff, Journal, 26 Apr. 1839 and 14 Apr. 1840; “From England,” Times and Seasons, June 1840, 1:119; Minutes, 7–11 Apr. 1841.)  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  12. 12

    See John C. Bennett, Carthage, IL, 2 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 15 July 1842, [2]; Jacob B. Backenstos, Affidavit, Hancock Co., IL, 28 July 1842, JS Office Papers, CHL; Stephen H. Goddard, Nauvoo, IL, to Orson Pratt, 23 July 1842, in Affidavits and Certificates (Nauvoo, IL: 1842), copy at CHL; and “Testimony of Mrs. Goddard,” in Affidavits and Certificates (Nauvoo, IL: 1842), copy at CHL.  

    Sangamo Journal. Springfield, IL. 1831–1847.

    Affidavits and Certificates, Disproving the Statements and Affidavits Contained in John C. Bennett’s Letters. Nauvoo Aug. 31, 1842. [Nauvoo, IL: 1842]. Copy at CHL.

  13. 13

    Woodruff, Journal, 10 Aug.–18 Sept. 1842; Historian’s Office, Brigham Young History Drafts, 63–64. In January 1843, JS labeled the proceedings illegal and Pratt regained his membership in the Quorum of the Twelve, though JS also upheld Lyman’s ordination. (Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Minutes, 20 Jan. 1843; JS, Journal, 20 Jan. 1843.)  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

    Historian’s Office. Brigham Young History Drafts, 1856–1858. CHL. CR 100 475, box 1, fd. 5.

    Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Minutes, 1840–1844. CHL.

  14. 14

    Record of Seventies, bk. A, 3–17.  

    Record of Seventies / First Council of the Seventy. “Book of Records,” 1837–1843. Bk. A. In First Council of the Seventy, Records, 1837–1885. CHL. CR 3 51, box 1, fd. 1.

  15. 15

    Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:138].