Ordination and Blessing of Cyrus Smalling, 30 June 1835
JS, , and , and Blessing of , , Geauga Co., OH, 30 June 1835. Featured version copied 21 Dec. 1835 in Patriarchal Blessing Book 1, pp. 24–25; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information on Patriarchal Blessing Book 1, see the source note for Blessing from Joseph Smith Sr., 9 Dec. 1834.
On 30 June 1835, JS, , and to the “apostleship of the first .” As with other ordination blessings given to members of the Seventy, Smalling’s blessing instructed him to preach throughout the world, specifically stating that he would preach in Europe and testify before “bishops, archbishops and lord bishops, and even the pope himself.” Unique to this ordination is JS’s declaration of Smalling’s Abrahamic lineage; JS both identified the branch of the scattered to which Smalling belonged and also offered him a direct connection to the promises given to the Israelites in the Old Testament. At the time, none of the other contemporary ordinations of seventies or and only a small number of given by included such statements. Following the ordination, Smalling served as a seventy, presided over a church in during fall 1836, and served as a substitute on the in 1836 and 1837. Soon thereafter, however, he became disaffected from the church and was excommunicated in late 1837.The Patriarchal Blessing Book 1 copy of ’s ordination blessing, featured here, does not include Smalling’s name. The recipient’s name was erased throughout this blessing and in the 24 June patriarchal blessing that immediately precedes it in the volume. The name was removed from both blessings by knife erasure, in which the top layer of paper was physically scraped away. A similar erasure appears in the alphabetical index at the front of the volume where Smalling’s name would have appeared. However, Smalling can be positively identified as the recipient of the ordination and patriarchal blessings because of ’s clerk records. In an account book where he kept track of the blessings he recorded, Cowdery listed the blessings of , Cyrus Smalling, and Marcellus M. McKoun in succession. In Patriarchal Blessing Book 1, Morley’s blessing precedes the nameless blessings, and McKoun’s blessing follows them, indicating that Smalling was the recipient whose name was erased.The erasure of ’s name from Patriarchal Blessing Book 1 likely occurred following his excommunication and may have been done by Smalling himself, who had the volume in his possession for two years. It is unclear how Smalling obtained the book, but later swore before JS that Smalling stole it, apparently sometime between summer 1837 and 7 May 1838. An 1843 affidavit used in the issuing of a warrant to reclaim the book places the date of the theft around August 1837. However, the custodial history recorded by and indicates it was stolen at the time left , Ohio, for , which, according to , occurred on 7 May 1838. If Smalling erased his own name from the record during the time he had it in his possession, he may have done so as part of an attempt to more fully disassociate himself from the church. He publicly disavowed the church a few years later and provided a scathing report of church finances and the for E. G. Lee’s 1841 The Mormons, or, Knavery Exposed.The patriarchal blessing given by to and his wife, Ruth, was recorded by in Patriarchal Blessing Book 1 on 19 December 1835. Two days later, on 21 December, Cowdery recorded this ordination blessing in the volume.
McLellin, William E. Journal, 18 July–20 Nov. 1831. William E. McLellin, Papers, 1831–1836, 1877–1878. CHL. MS 13538, box 1, fd. 1. Also available as Jan Shipps and John W. Welch, eds., The Journals of William E. McLellin, 1831–1836 (Provo, UT: BYU Studies; Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994).
Kirtland Elders’ Certificates / Kirtland Elders Quorum. “Record of Certificates of Membership and Ordinations of the First Members and Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Dating from March 21st 1836 to June 18th 1838 Kirtland Geauga Co. Ohio,” 1836–1838. CHL. CR 100 401.
Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.
Smith, George Albert. Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322.
Cowdery, Oliver. “Account Book of Writing,” 1835–1836. CHL. MS 2314.
Patriarchal Blessings, 1833–. CHL. CR 500 2.
Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.
Smith, George Albert, and Wilford Woodruff. Statement, 1859. CHL. MS 4159.
Patriarchal Blessings, 1833–. CHL. CR 500 2.
Historian’s Office, Journal, 1844–2012. CHL. CR 100 1.
Lee, E. G. The Mormons; or, Knavery Exposed, Giving an Account of the Discovery of the Golden Plates. . . . Frankford, PA: By the author, 1841.