, Minutes, [, Jackson Co., MO, ca. 1 May 1832]. Featured version, titled “Minutes of a meeting of the United Firm,” copied [between ca. 6 Apr. and 19 June 1838] in Minute Book 2, p. 26; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 2.
Having traveled to in April in accordance with instructions in a March 1832 revelation, JS held several to organize the “Literary and Merchantile establishments” of the church. At a 26 April 1832 council, a revelation instructed JS and eight others to “be bound together by a bond & Covennant that cannot be broken in your several Stewartships to manage the literary & Mercantile concerns & the both in the Land of & in the Land of .” The next day, participants in this same council named the Missouri branch of this organization , and the Kirtland, Ohio, branch, They also appointed and to prepare a binding agreement for members of the firm. Two days later, those designated in a November 1831 revelation as “ over the revelations,” men who were also among the nine mentioned in the 26 April revelation, held a council discussing future church publications and calling themselves the “.” With these three entities in place—Gilbert, Whitney & Co.; N. K. Whitney & Co.; and the Literary Firm—a meeting of “the ” was held. Eight of the nine men appointed as members of the firm in the 26 April revelation were present at this meeting; , who had not come to Missouri, was absent, while , counselor to JS but not one of those mentioned in the 26 April revelation, attended. Although the minutes of this meeting are not entirely clear, the participants at the meeting apparently established the United Firm as an umbrella organization to govern the three aforementioned entities. At the meeting, the firm designated Sidney Gilbert and as its agents and authorized N. K. Whitney & Co. to obtain a $15,000 loan, apparently to provide funding for the firm.
The exact date of this meeting of the is unclear. , as “Clerk of ,” would have made the original record of the meeting, but that record is no longer extant. In 1838, copied the minutes into Minute Book 2 without supplying a date. A later JS history records two meetings in immediate succession that appear to be the meetings of the Literary Firm and the United Firm. The United Firm meeting is referenced second in the history, which suggests that this meeting occurred after the council of the Literary Firm. The minutes of the Literary Firm council are dated 30 April, though the JS history dates the Literary Firm meeting as 1 May. The United Firm meeting may have occurred directly after the Literary Firm meeting on 30 April, or it could have occurred on 1 May. If the United Firm meeting did take place on 1 May, the compilers of the JS history may have confused the two meetings and used the 1 May date for the meeting of the Literary Firm by mistake. In any case, the meeting of the United Firm probably happened on one of those two days.
This designation probably references a March 1831 revelation that assigned Whitmer to “write & keep a regulal [regular] history & assist my servent Joseph in Transcribing all things which shall be given him.” On 9 April 1831, Whitmer “was appointed to keep the Church record & history by the voice of ten Elders.” (Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–B [D&C 47:1]; Minute Book 2, 9 Apr. 1831.)
Gause’s name was not included in the 26 April 1832 revelation designating the membership of the United Firm, and no other records indicate he was ever made a member. The parenthetical notation of Gause denying the faith was added after Cowdery made his original record; Gause was not excommunicated from the church until 3 December 1832. (See Historical Introduction to Minutes, 30 Apr. 1832; and JS, Journal, 3 Dec. 1832.)