From 6 to 8 April 1842, a “Special of the ” was held in , Illinois; JS presided and gave discourses, and conference clerk took minutes. In previous years the April conference was labeled a “general conference,” but JS decreed on 3 October 1841 that no further general conferences would be held until the Nauvoo was completed. A general notice about the conference, published in the Times and Seasons, suggests all church members were expected to attend. On 6 April 1842, before the conference started, JS met with members of the to provide “instructions how to organize & adjourn the special conference.” JS did not attend the first day of the conference because of illness.
The most pressing business of the conference was ’s report on why he had not yet joined on their mission to Europe and Palestine. Hyde and Page had mostly remained together from April 1840—when they were appointed to serve a mission—to the end of summer 1840, raising money for their voyage. Hyde then left Page in and traveled to and to obtain additional funds. In early 1841 Hyde and Page were chastised in the church newspaper for delaying their mission, and in response Hyde departed across the Atlantic. Page intended to eventually meet Hyde in , but church leaders instructed him to return to . At JS’s request Page reported on his travels, attributing his delay primarily to Hyde’s appropriation of their shared funds and the difficulty of raising additional money. JS censured Page but stated that the church would retain him in full fellowship. Those at the conference ratified this decision and voted to send Page to , where he had recently proselytized.
Other conference business included instruction by , , and , who emphasized the importance of a well-organized and disciplined . , Hyrum Smith, , , , and preached additional discourses. JS also preached multiple times, seeking to quell rumors regarding polygamy and providing instruction on the use of the baptismal font.
On the final day of the conference, individuals were for the dead and for health in the temple font. Additionally, , , , , , , and 275 men as . Woodruff commented that “more Elders were ordain[ed] on this occasion than were ever ordained in the Church of Latter Day Saints in one day before.” JS closed the conference with a benediction.
’s minutes of the conference were published in the 15 April 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons.
stand by each other even unto death, and not separate unless to go a few miles to preach a sermon; that all monies should go into one purse, and it did so. in Indiana first said he would go to visit Br. [Lenox] Knight, and that should stay and preach, he assented, and he went and returned to Indianapolis. had a mare given him on account of both, then took the mare, went on, and left his luggage with ; while away he sold the mare for $40, and received $60 more as a donation from the man to whom he sold the mare, he returned, they preached in and received a handsome contribution, preached 16 miles off and raised a , went to , revised the Missouri Persecutions, got 2000 copies printed, and paid for them, and took part of them with him and left a large box full and about 150 loose copies with . started for purposing to visit churches on the way: he left $23.31. returned to , and Milton, and sold books, with the intention of following as soon as practicable; but he stayed a day or two too long, and the river closed by the frost, from one to two weeks earlier than usual; told him that it was possible they might be from one to two years before they would leave , as it would take upwards of $1000 each to take them to and back, that it would be slow gleaning in , and assigned this as a reason for not immediately following , thinking that he would be sure of seeing him in the spring.
accused himself of not using better economy in proceeding on his journey; there came out a piece in the paper stating the displeasure of the Lord respecting and , he sat down and wrote a piece to put in the paper acknowledging the justice of the charge, but wisdom prevented its being published, preached about Washington &c., gathered funds for the mission, in Westchester and in . raised funds on behalf of the mission, by applauding ’s talents, wisdom &c, but they were disappointed in him when they saw him, he raised funds for the mission, the most liberal was in ; he intended to sail on the 25th of July, but the brethren said that if he would remain two weeks they would raise funds for him, they found that it would take longer, and he decided to stay a month, he then received a command through a letter from to an official character in , requesting him to return; he wrote to ascertain the reason but did not get an answer, he was then called in by Pres’t. J. Smith, and . would often renew the covenant between them to never part with each other in that mission. had no blame to attach to ; he supposed that he had done right but if he had been in his place he would have tarried for him until the spring.
The reports of his having apostatized &c. returned even from this place to . Many reproved him for leaving for .
Pres’t. J. Smith then arose and stated that it was wrong to make the covenant referred to by him; that it created a lack of confidence for two men to covenant to reveal all acts of secrecy or otherwise to each other—and showed a little grannyism. He said that no two men when they agreed to go together ought to separate, that the prophets of old would not and quoted the circumstance of Elijah and Elisha iii Kings 2 chap. when about to go to Gilgal, also when about to go to Jericho, and to Jordan, that Elisha could not get clear of Elijah, that he clung to his garment until he was taken to heaven and that should have stuck by , and he might have gone to , that there is nothing very bad in it, but by the experience let us profit; again, the Lord made use of as a scape-goat to procure funds for .
When returns we will reconsider the matter, and perhaps send them back to , we will fellowship until comes, and we will then weld them together and make them one. A vote was then put, and carried that we hold in full fellowship.
Voted, that be sent to . Sung a hymn—Adjourned for one hour and a half, at one o’clock.
Met agreeable to adjournment.—Sung a hymn—Prayer by .
called to know if there were any present of the rough and weak things, who wished to be , and go [p. 762]
Knight was a Latter-day Saint physician living in Indiana. (Heber C. Kimball, Pleasant Garden, IN, to Vilate Murray Kimball, 24 Oct. 1839, photocopy, Heber C. and Vilate Murray Kimball, Letters, CHL; Cady, Indiana Annual Register, 136.)
Kimball, Heber C., and Vilate Murray Kimball. Letters, 1837–1847. Heber C. Kimball, Correspondence and Memorandum Book, 1837–1864. Photocopy. CHL.
Cady, C. W. The Indiana Annual Register and Pocket Manual, Revised and Corrected for the Year 1846. . . . Indianapolis: Samuel Turner, 1846.
The place “16 miles off” was likely Milton, Ohio. According to a July 1840 letter from Page (as summarized in the Times and Seasons), “he was then in Milton, preaching and baptizing, he had baptized six in that place” and had scheduled six more baptisms for 15 July 1840. (Ebenezer Robinson, Cincinnati, OH, 16 July 1840, in Times and Seasons, Aug. 1840, 1:156.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Page might have intended to travel from Dayton to Pittsburgh on the Great Miami River, a tributary of the Ohio River. He likely expected the river to close sometime in December. According to an early American steamboat directory, the Ohio River froze for “six or eight weeks,” and then the ice broke up in February, rendering the river “open for navigation.” In March 1838 the chief engineer of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad reported that “the navigation of the Ohio River opens always by the 1st of March, and generally by the middle of February.” (Lloyd, Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, 50–51; Documents Submitted by the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company, 12; see also Roberts, Practical Views on the Proposed Improvement of the Ohio River, 48–49.)
Lloyd, James T. Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, and Disasters on the Western Waters, Containing the History of the First Application of Steam, as a Motive Power. . . . Cincinnati: James T. Lloyd, 1856.
Documents Submitted by the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company, in Behalf of Their Application to the Legislature of Virginia. Richmond, VA: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, 1838.
Roberts, W. Milnor. Practical Views on the Proposed Improvement of the Ohio River. Philadelphia: Journal of the Franklin Institute, 1857.
According to JS’s journal, Page explained that “the cause of his Seperation from Elder Hyde. in his mission to Jerusalem. [was] first a covenant to communicate to each other all secrets.” (JS, Journal, 7 Apr. 1842.)
The term grannyism has not been located in any contemporary dictionaries. A nineteenth-century Presbyterian source used the term to describe youth who “yield to a tame helplessness and inertness of character . . . [and] seem to think it a great hardship to be thrown on their own resources, and often evince great reluctance to make any effort to help themselves along in their education.” (Smith, Old Redstone, 126.)
Smith, Joseph (1796–1858). Old Redstone; or, Historical Sketches of Western Presbyterianism, Its Early Ministers, Its Perilous Times, and Its First Records. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo, 1854.
JS’s reference to Page as a scapegoat seems to refer to the fact that while Page was never able to make the journey, Hyde obtained sufficient funds partly based on the promise of Page’s oratory skills. (Letter from John E. Page, 1 Sept. 1841.)