General Conference of the Church, Minutes, , Hancock Co., IL, 7–11 Apr. 1841. Featured version published in “Minutes of the General Conference of the Church,” Times and Seasons, 15 Apr. 1841, vol. 2, no. 12, 386–388. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
From Wednesday, 7 April, through Sunday, 11 April 1841, JS presided over a general of the in , Illinois. The conference convened the day after a celebration commemorating the eleventh anniversary of the founding of the church. This 6 April celebration, which featured the laying of the cornerstones of the Nauvoo and a parade of the , was attended by thousands of men and women. While some members of the church considered the cornerstone ceremony to be part of the conference itself, the business portion of the conference began at ten o’clock in the morning on Wednesday, 7 April 1841, as the minutes featured here attest.
Due to inclement weather Friday through Sunday, most of the conference took place Wednesday and Thursday. During the conference, was added as an assistant president in the to relieve the ailing , and was unanimously selected, or sustained, to replace the deceased in the . In addition, sermons on the recently revealed doctrine of for the dead were delivered at the conference, along with instructions related to building the temple.
, the clerk for the conference, presumably took rough minutes during the meeting and later prepared them for publication. No original minutes are extant, but a polished version of the minutes was published in the 15 April 1841 issue of the Times and Seasons.
See Benediction, 6 Apr. 1841. A newspaper from nearby Warsaw, Illinois, reported that the anniversary celebration was attended by “about 7000 or 8000, some say as high as 12,000.” The church’s newspaper reported that there were “probably not less than ten thousand persons present.” (“The Mormons,” Western World [Warsaw, IL], 7 Apr. 1841, ; “Celebration of the Aniversary of the Church,” Times and Seasons, 15 Apr. 1841, 2:376.)
Western World. Warsaw, IL. 1840–1841.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Pres’t. Smith likewise followed on the same subject, threw considerable light on the doctrine which had been investigated.
The choir then sung a hymn, and after prayer by , it was moved that adjourn until to morrow morning at 10 o’clock.
Friday Morning, conference met pursuant to adjournment.
The reported, that they had investigated the conduct of the persons who had been objected to, and that they had rejected and .
Leave was then given for Elder , to make a few remarks to the qu[o]rums respecting the charges prefered against him; after speaking; on motion, resolved, that continue his standing in the .
Resolved, that as , has not appeared to answer the charges prefered against him, that his be taken from him.
Pres’r. J. Smith made some observations respecting the duty of the several quorums, in sending their members into the vineyard, and also stated, that labor on the would be as acceptable to the Lord as preaching in the world.
Pres’t. Smith then stated that it was necessary that some one should be appointed to collect funds for building the .
On motion resolved that , , , , , , Jahiel Savage, and , be appointed to travel and collect funds for the same.
A Hymn was then sung by the choir and prayer by Pres’t. .
Pres’t. J. Smith then stated that he should resign the meeting to the of the , and the president of the Quorum.
The were called upon to address the assembly, first took the stand and spoke at length on the imporiance of building the , and called upon the the saints to assist them in their great undertakings.
Elder spoke in continuation, and made some very appropriate remarks. The conference adjourned for one hour.
Conference met pursuant to adjournment. spoke on the same subject.
Elder then came forward and addressed the meeting at considerble length.
The read a letter from Elder in , to Pres’t. Joseph Smith which gave an account of the prosperity of the work of the Lord in that land.
On motion resolved that conference adjourned till to morrow morning at 10 o’clock.
Friday April 9th: the weather being so wet and cold, the conference did not meet.
Saturday, the weather was unfavorable consequently no business was transacted.
Sunday morning. The conference again met, was called upon to preach. He spake on the subject of the literal fulfillment of prophesy.
made some observations on for the remission of sins. A Hymn was sung by the choir. Conference adjourned for one hour.
Conference met pursuant to adjournment and was addressed by the of the Stake, who stated the situation of the poor who had to be supported and called upon the saints to assist in relieving the necessities of widow and fatherless.
Elder made some observations on the subject.
Pres’t. Joseph Smith then addressed the assembly and stated, that in consequence of the severety of the weather, the saints had not received as much instruction as he desired and that some things would have to be laid over until the next conference—as there were many who wished to be baptized, they would now go to the water and give opportunity to any who wished to be baptized of doing so. The procession was then organized and proceeded down to the water.
After the baptism were over—on motion resolved, that the conference adjourn to the 1st of October next
At a 7 April meeting of the Nauvoohigh council, an objection was made against James Foster, one of the presidents of the quorums of the Seventy, because of “his lack of faith and stability in the gospel; and dishonesty in his temporal deal[ings] with his brethren.” (Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 7 Apr. 1841.)
Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1839–1845. CHL. LR 3102 22.