Report of the First Presidency to the Church, circa 7 April 1841
[JS, , and ], Report, to the , , Hancock Co., IL, ca. 7 Apr. 1841. Featured version published in “Report of the First Presidency,” Times and Seasons, 15 Apr. 1841, vol. 2, no. 12, 384–386. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
At the beginning of a general of the that commenced on 7 April 1841 in , Illinois, read this report from JS and his counselors in the . The report, describing the state of the church, followed the model of a report read at the previous general conference, held in early October 1840. The April report detailed the growth of the church and encouraged the Saints to gather to Nauvoo. It highlighted progress on construction of the , the First Presidency’s optimistic promises for the city’s growth, and the need for church members to provide financial aid and physical labor to support the growth of Nauvoo.
served as the scribe for the First Presidency’s original report, which is apparently no longer extant. A copy of the original was published in the 15 April 1841 issue of the Times and Seasons in accordance with a resolution of the conference that called for the report’s publication. That version, featured here, is the only known contemporaneous account of the report. No date was given for the creation of the report, but because it was prepared for the April 1841 general conference and delivered by Thompson on 7 April, it was likely created either on 7 April 1841 or in the days before.
heavenly command; numerous habitations of the saints thickly studding the flowery and wide spread prairies of ; temples for the worship of our God erecting in various parts; and great peace resting upon Israel.
We would call the attention of the saints more particularly to the erection of the , for on its speedy erection great blessings depend. The zeal which is manifested by the saints in this is indeed praise worthy, and we hope will be imitated by the saints in the various and of the church, and that those who cannot contribute labor, will bring their gold and their silver, their brass, and their iron, with the pine tree and box tree, to beautify the same.
We are glad to hear of the organization of the different in this , and hope that the organization will be attended to in every stake and branch of the church, for the Almighty is a lover of order and good government.
From the faith and enterprise of the saints generally, we feel greatly encouraged, and cheerfully attend to the important duties devolving upon us, knowing that we not only have the approval of Heaven, but that our efforts for the establishing of and the spread of truth, are cheerfully seconded by the thousands of Israel.
In conclusion we would say, brethren, be faithful; let your love and moderation be known unto all men; be patient; be mindful to observe all the commandments of your heavenly Father; and the God of all grace shall blesss you, even so, Amen.
In their 15 January 1841 proclamation, JS and the First Presidency encouraged the Saints to gather in Nauvoo. They quoted from Psalm 50, which notes that God called for the Saints to gather “together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Proclamation, 15 Jan. 1841; Psalm 50:5.)
See Isaiah 60:13, 17. This scriptural allusion from the First Presidency emphasized the church’s need for tithing to complete important building projects in Nauvoo. On 1 February 1841 the Times and Seasons printed Elias Higbee’s letter about the importance of building the temple and the necessity of sacrifice and tithing to do so. Higbee encouraged the Saints to be generous and not to love money or possessions above God; he called for “those who live at a distance, who cannot put in work” on the building, to instead “send in their tithing speedily, so that the work may be accomplished speedily.” (Elias Higbee, “Ecclesiastical,” Times and Seasons, 1 Feb. 1841, 2:296; see also Phebe Carter Woodruff, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, to Wilford Woodruff, Manchester, England, 6–19 Oct. 1840, Wilford Woodruff, Collection, CHL.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Woodruff, Wilford. Collection, 1831–1905. Digital scans. CHL. Originals in private possession.