On 6 April 1838, JS presided over and took the minutes for a meeting in , Missouri, to commemorate the anniversary of the church’s founding, to appoint new officers, and to perform . By 3 March 1838, when the scheduled this meeting, members of the council knew that JS had departed , Ohio, for Far West, and they probably expected that he would arrive before the meeting. The Zion had been removed in early February 1838. , who had been an assistant president, had also been removed from his positions as church historian and clerk. The church in , therefore, required not only a new presidency but also a new historian and a new clerk. A written agenda for the meeting indicates that a plan for filling vacancies had been made. In the 6 April meeting, the Saints approved the recently appointed pro tempore presidency, two new historians, and two new clerks. These appointments completed the basic organizational structure of the church in Missouri, likely preparing the way for the business to be conducted in the church conference held the following two days. According to ’s abbreviated minutes in the “Scriptory Book,” this meeting was “a Conf. of the authorities of the Assembled at their first quarterly Conference in the City of Far West.” However, according to the official minutes of both the 6 April meeting and the 7–8 April meeting, published in the July issue of the Elders’ Journal, the 6 April meeting was not part of the quarterly conference. Nevertheless, the 6 April meeting included church business that was related to the conference that followed.
The 6 April meeting was planned to begin at 9:00 a.m. The meeting agenda states that the “doors [would] be opened” at that time and that a sexton would be appointed as a “door keeper,” indicating that the meeting was held indoors. The meeting proceeded as outlined in the agenda. An hour-long intermission is noted in the middle of the meeting, suggesting the meeting adjourned for a midday meal and then extended into the afternoon. The first session concerned the new appointments, and the second session was devoted to ordinances: the of the Lord’s Supper and the blessing of children. Minutes of the meeting were taken by , who had taken minutes at recent high council meetings and was appointed the clerk of the church during this 6 April meeting. The minutes conclude with JS’s name and his designation as “president,” which may refer to his office in the church or his role in presiding over the meeting. JS’s name as it appears in the extant minutes may represent his signature in the original minutes or in a fair copy, or Robinson may have added JS’s name to the minutes because JS was the meeting’s presiding authority. A fair copy of Robinson’s original minutes was probably used by a typesetter to prepare the version of the minutes published in the July issue of the church’s newspaper at the time, the Elders’ Journal.
This reference is to the First Presidency: JS, Rigdon, and Hyrum Smith. However, Hyrum Smith was still traveling from Kirtland and did not arrive until late May. (Hyrum Smith, Commerce, IL, to “the Saints Scattered Abroad,” Dec. 1839, in Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:21.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
The Latter-day Saints used the term the sacrament to refer only to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, or communion.a The church’s foundational “Articles and Covenants” stipulated that “every member of this church of Christ having children, are to bring them unto the elders before the church who are to lay hands on them in the name of the Lord, and bless them in the name of Christ.”b