leaders from and gathered in , Ohio, on 13 January 1836 to form a grand council. That council appointed JS, , , , and to write a set of rules “for the regulation of the in times of worship.”
On 27 December 1832, JS had dictated a revelation that commanded church members to build a religious structure for educational purposes as well as for worship. By mid-January 1836, the was nearly finished. As interior rooms were completed, church leaders and members began to use them for administrative, religious, and educational activities, even before the formal dedication of the building.
With the already being used, the grand council discussed the need to establish rules for use of and conduct in the building, particularly during times of worship. On 14 January 1836, the committee appointed by the grand council met in the to draft these rules of conduct. The committee presented these rules and regulations to the grand council in a meeting in the attic of the House of the Lord on 15 January 1836. After reading the rules, the grand council vigorously debated them before ultimately approving them.
There are two extant versions of these rules and regulations: one in Minute Book 1 and one in JS’s journal. While Minute Book 1 is the official record, the minutes that contain the rules are misdated to 12 January 1836 and are combined with a shortened version of the minutes dated 13 January 1836. Those minutes were entered into Minute Book 1 in May 1837 and appear to be copied from the version in JS’s journal, which recorded soon after the grand council approved the rules and regulations. Therefore, the version from JS’s journal appears to be closer to the original document and is featured here. The Minute Book 1 version contains a few variations in text and punctuation; significant differences are noted.
Angell, Truman O. Autobiography, 1884. CHL. MS 12334. Also available in Archie Leon Brown and Charlene L. Hathaway, 141 Years of Mormon Heritage: Rawsons, Browns, Angells—Pioneers (Oakland, CA: By the authors, 1973), 119–135.
1st— It is according to the rules and regulations of all regular and legal organized bodies to have a president to keep order.—
2ond— The body thus organized are under obligation to be in subjection to that authority—
3d— When a congregation assembles in this they shall submit to the following rules, that due respect may be paid to the order of the worship—viz.
1st— no man shall be interupted who is appointed to speak by the of the , by any disorderly person or persons in the congregation, by whispering by laughing by talking by menacing Jestures by getting up and running out in a disorderly manner or by offering indignity to the manner of worship or the religion or to any officer of said church while officiating in his office in any wise whatever by any display of ill manners or ill breeding from old or young rich or poor male or female bond or free black or white believer or unbeliever and if any of the above insults are offered such measures will be taken as are lawful to punish the aggressor or aggressors and eject them out of the
2ond— An insult offered to the presidency <presiding> of said Church, shall be concidered an insult to the whole [p. 111]
At the previous day’s meeting of the grand council, a measure was unanimously approved that no whispering would be allowed and that only after requesting and obtaining permission would anyone be permitted to speak aloud in church councils or assemblies. (Minutes, 13 Jan. 1836.)