General Conference Minutes, , Adams Co., IL, 4–5 May 1839; handwriting of ; four pages; Historian’s Office, General Church Minutes, CHL. Includes docket.
Two leaves measuring 9¾ × 7¾ inches (25 × 20 cm). The top left corner of the first page bears an embossed seal with the profile of a man. Above and to the left of the seal, added a “3”, indicating these minutes were the third of four sets of minutes that Mulholland recorded and numbered in 1839. It appears that the document was folded and filed with the minutes of a meeting on 6 May 1839 in , Illinois. A docket written by reads: “May 4. 1839 | Minutes of Conference”. Bullock worked in the Church Historian’s Office between 1842 and 1856, and he likely filed the minutes during that period, suggesting the document has been in continuous institutional custody since at least 1856. The minutes were placed in the General Church Minutes collection with other loose church minutes created by the general church scribe and other clerks affiliated with the Church Historian’s Office.
Historian’s Office. General Church Minutes, 1839–1877. CHL
On 4–5 May 1839, JS presided over a general held near , Illinois. He had recently escaped from incarceration in , and this general conference was the first meeting he attended in which the full membership of the church in was present. The conference consisted of three sessions, held on Saturday midday, Sunday morning, and Sunday afternoon at the Presbyterian campground approximately two miles north of Quincy.
The first session began with an emotional address by JS. Following his remarks, important issues were brought before the body of the church regarding operations, leadership, and settlement. The minutes featured here record the resolutions adopted by the assembled Saints in the Saturday and Sunday morning sessions, approving the church’s recent purchase of land in and appointing new ecclesiastical leaders. The members also resolved that a committee should collect libelous reports and that a delegation should submit affidavits to the federal government in to seek redress for the persecution and losses church members experienced in . Additional resolutions included sanctioning the meeting that the held in , Missouri, on 26 April 1839 and the intended mission of the quorum to Europe. The congregation also decided to suspend and from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles but to allow them to speak at the next general conference of the church to address their conduct in Missouri in 1838.
Two additional resolutions concerned , Ohio. was directed to oversee the and manage church affairs there, and Saints in the eastern were instructed to migrate to Kirtland. The majority of church members had moved from Kirtland to by summer 1838, but some church members remained in Kirtland. At the start of that year, church leaders had expressed their intention to retain land in Kirtland for Saints moving from the eastern United States, and this intention was supported in the May 1839 general conference.
During the final session of the conference, on Sunday afternoon, the and apostles provided instruction that is not included in the extant minutes. Before the conference was adjourned, the congregation was reminded that the next general conference would be held in October 1839 in , Illinois, signaling the impending move of the church to newly purchased land in the vicinity. The minutes were recorded by , the appointed clerk for the conference.
the purchase lately made for the , in the , as also the agency thereof.
4th Resolved, That be appointed to go to and take the Charge and oversight of the and preside over the general affairs of the Church in that place.
5th Resolved That the advice of this conference to the Brethren living in the Eastern States is, for them to move to and the vicinity thereof, and again settle that place as a of . <provided that they may feel so inclined, in preference to their moving further west>
6th Resolved, That be to <take> the place of , as one of the .
7th Resolved that this are entirely satisfied with and do give their Sanction to the proceedings of the conference of the twelve and their friends, held on the at Missouri, on Friday the 26th April last.
8th Resolved That, they <we> also sanction the act of the held same date at same place, in cutting off from the commun[io]n of said church, certain persons mentioned in the minutes thereof.
9th Resolved that , and be allowed the privilege of appearing personally before the next general conference of the church to give an account of their conduct, and that in the mean time, they be both suspended from exercising the functions [p. ]
Granger acted as an agent for JS and Rigdon in September 1837, and after the two men departed Kirtland in January 1838, Granger worked with William Marks to manage and settle outstanding debts. In July 1838, Granger was officially appointed to be an agent for the church and to resolve the church’s financial obligations in Ohio. He oversaw the sale of various properties and succeeded in paying off some of the church’s debt. This 4 May 1839 resolution gave Granger additional responsibilities over the church in Kirtland, and on 6 May, JS provided Granger with a signed certificate to take with him to Kirtland to indicate his position and authority there. (Authorization for Oliver Granger, 6 May 1839; see also JS History, vol. B-1, 837; and Geauga Co., OH, Deed Record, 1795–1921, vol. 25, pp. 552–553, 2 Sept. 1837; pp. 661–665, 28 and 29 Mar. 1838; 26 and 30 Apr. 1838; vol. 26, p. 477, 16 Oct. 1838, microfilm 20,241; vol. 30, p. 175, 24 Feb. 1838, microfilm 20,242, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)
Before the 26 April 1839 meeting at the temple lot in Far West, the apostles and other priesthood officers held a meeting in the home of Samuel Clark, during which they excommunicated thirty-one people. (Kimball, “History,” 102; Historian’s Office, General Church Minutes, 26 Apr. 1839.)
Kimball, Heber C. “History of Heber Chase Kimball by His Own Dictation,” ca. 1842–1856. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box 2.
Historian’s Office. General Church Minutes, 1839–1877. CHL