Minutes, , Geauga Co., OH, 13 Jan. 1836. Featured version copied [between ca. 4 Apr. and ca. 16 May 1836] in Minute Book 1, pp. 200–203; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 1.
On Tuesday, 12 January 1836, JS invited the and other leaders to meet at ten o’clock the next morning “to take into concideration the subject of the .” Several changes had been made to the church’s administrative structure in the previous thirteen months because of deaths, disciplinary removal, and the creation of two new governing bodies: the and the First Quorum of the . Formally filling all vacancies in church councils and quorums was a key part of the church’s preparation for the anticipated solemn assembly in the in , Ohio.
Several men were serving simultaneously in two or more church governing offices prior to the 13 January 1836 meeting. For instance, and had held positions in both the and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since February 1835. Likewise, , , and had been serving since early December 1834 as assistant presidents in the church’s presidency in addition to their positions on the Kirtland high council and Joseph Smith Sr.’s role as church . It appears that after this 13 January grand council, men ordained to the no longer held multiple offices.
The 13 January grand council meeting became the first in a series of meetings preparatory to the solemn assembly and the promised of power in the . The grand council consisted of the presidencies of and , the Quorum of the Twelve, and the high councils and of Kirtland and Missouri. JS’s journal notes that “the presidency of the Seventy were also present, and many more of the of the church of the latterday Saints.” At this meeting, the grand council further organized the church’s leadership structure, continued setting the quorums of the priesthood in order, ordained several men to priesthood offices, and established a committee to draft rules of conduct for use in the nearly finished House of the Lord. Supplementing the official minutes presented here, JS’s journal records that the meeting also featured blessings and prayers for the sick. JS’s journal also notes his optimism and joy following the meeting: “This has been one of the best days that I ever spent, there has been an entire unison of feeling expressed in all our proceedings this day, and the Spirit of the God of Israel has rested upon us in mighty power, and it has been good for us to be here, in this heavenly place in Christ Jesus, and altho much fatiegued with the labours of the day, yet my spiritual reward has been verry great indeed.”
There are two extant accounts of the 13 January meeting, both based on the official minutes that recorded at the meeting, probably on loose paper. copied the minutes into Minute Book 1 sometime in the spring of 1836, and penned an alternate account in JS’s journal sometime shortly after the meeting took place. Because Minute Book 1 represents the official record of meetings on church governance in , the minutes as written into that record are featured here. Significant differences between the featured text and JS’s journal are noted.
The grand council met this day in the attic story of the , consisting of the following Authoroties, (viz.) Presidents. , , , , , Joseph Smith Junr and . Also the , The of and a part of the high council of
The and his counsellors, also the and one Counsellor and one to be appointed instead of now belonging to the Presidency.
Council opened by prayer of . J. Smith Junr. presiding. was nominated by the as a counsellor to fill the vacancy in his occasioned by the elevation of to the presidency. The move was seconded and carried by a unanimous vote of all [p. 200]
The Whitmers and William W. Phelps constituted the presidency of Missouri, or Zion. Some of the men in these various offices were unable to attend the meeting. Oliver Cowdery was one of those absent leaders; he did not return from Newark, Licking County, Ohio, until the following day. (JS, Journal, 13 Jan. 1836; Cowdery, Diary, 11–14 Jan. 1836.)