Part 2: 5 December 1835–7 February 1836

As JS continued to prepare church leaders in , Ohio, to receive an of divine power in the nearly completed , jealousy and accusations of inequality persisted among some members of the . In a 15 December 1835 letter to JS, accused of unfairly restricting Hyde’s credit at the temple while allowing JS’s younger brother, , to accrue substantial debt. A number of documents in this part also relate to a mid-December confrontation between JS and William. On 17 December, tension between the brothers erupted into violence during a session of the Kirtland debating school. The fight, which left JS unable to “sit down, or rise up, without help,” and subsequent events culminated in ecclesiastical charges against William Smith and a disciplinary hearing before the church presidency and other leaders.
JS lamented the divisions that existed among the Twelve and within his own family, and his 1 January 1836 journal entry expressed hope that the Saints would “come forth like gold seven times tried in the fire, being made perfect throug[h] sufferings, and temptations, and the blessings of heaven and earth multiplyed upon our heads.” The new year did in fact usher in a period of relative calm for JS. In the weeks after reconciling with , JS juggled various ecclesiastical responsibilities, including solemnizing several marriages and giving blessings to two men who had participated in the expedition. During the second week of January, JS also participated in a three-day feast for the poor, hosted by and his wife, . In addition to attending to church duties, JS devoted significant time to studying the Hebrew language. On 4 January, he organized a , which his peers asked him to lead until the school committee was able to identify and hire a trained teacher. On 26 January, a Hebrew scholar named arrived in and began teaching the school, which included JS as a pupil.
In mid-January, JS met with the presidency and other leaders of the church to “take into concideration the subject of the .” This “grand council”—consisting of the church presidency, the presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the and of and Missouri—voted on various administrative changes, including filling vacant leadership positions, and appointed JS, , , , and as a committee to draft rules of conduct for the . On 15 January, the committee presented their proposals—which stressed order and reverence while in the House of the Lord—to the grand council, which approved the rules. The next day, JS and other members of the presidency met with the Twelve, who had requested an opportunity to air unresolved grievances. After listening to each of the men speak, JS acknowledged their concerns and asked forgiveness for sometimes speaking too harshly and injuring their feelings. It appears that the meeting largely resolved their differences; as JS’s journal records, the men “took each others by the hand in confirmation of our covenant and their was a perfect unison of feeling on this occasion, and our hearts overflowed with blessings, which we pronounced upon eachothers heads.”
The spirit of unity continued into the following week. On 21 January, JS introduced to the presidency and other select men a new ritual in which they and perfumed their bodies and then each other with pure oil, all in preparation for the solemn assembly and endowment of power. After JS received blessings and prophecies from and the presidency, he and several others reported that they saw a vision of God and the heavens and that angelic hosts ministered to them. In the week following this heavenly manifestation, JS and the presidency continued to organize the church’s officers and prepare them to receive the “holy anointing.”
  1. 1

    Letter from Orson Hyde, 15 Dec. 1835.  

  2. 2

    Tension had been building between the two brothers for nearly six weeks. (See JS, Journal, 29 Oct. 1835; Minutes, 29 Oct. 1835; and Letter from William Smith, 18 Dec. 1835.)  

  3. 3

    Letter to William Smith, ca. 18 Dec. 1835; Charges against William Smith Preferred to the Church Presidency, 29 Dec. 1835; Minutes, 2 Jan. 1836.  

  4. 4

    JS, Journal, 1 Jan. 1836.  

  5. 5

    Historical Introduction to Marriage Certificate for William Cahoon and Nancy Gibbs, 18 Jan. 1836; Blessing to Lorenzo Barnes, 3 Jan. 1836; Blessing to Alvin Winegar, 7 Feb. 1836.  

  6. 6

    Historical Introduction to Note from Newel K. Whitney, 9 Jan. 1836.  

  7. 7

    JS, Journal, 4 and 26 Jan. 1836.  

  8. 8

    JS, Journal, 12 Jan. 1836.  

  9. 9

    Minutes, 13 Jan. 1836; Rules and Regulations, 14 Jan. 1836; Minutes, 15 Jan. 1836.  

  10. 10

    Minutes, 16 Jan. 1836.  

  11. 11

    Historical Introduction to Visions, 21 Jan. 1836 [D&C 137]. The House of the Lord in Kirtland was dedicated on 27 March 1836; three days later, JS and a group of approximately three hundred men met in a solemn assembly, where they participated in ordinances and experienced spiritual manifestations that they regarded as the long-promised endowment of power. (Minutes and Prayer of Dedication, 27 Mar. 1836 [D&C 109]; Minutes, 30 Mar. 1836.)  

  12. 12

    Historical Introduction to Visions, 21 Jan. 1836 [D&C 137].  

  13. 13

    Kirtland Elders Quorum, “Record,” 25 Jan. 1836.  

    Kirtland Elders Quorum. “A Record of the First Quorurum of Elders Belonging to the Church of Christ: In Kirtland Geauga Co. Ohio,” 1836–1838, 1840–1841. CCLA.