Memorandum, 2 October 1841

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

The following was copied from a memorandum which was made upon the accasion of which it treats.
“The Corner Stone of the , in which the following records, were deposited, was laid by Joseph Smith, the of the , to wit:—
A Printed copy of the ‘Book of Mormon’
A Revelation, given January 19th 1841
The “Times & Seasons”, containing the charter of the
A Journal of .
The Memorial of to the Senate of the .
A Book of Covenants
No. 35 of the “Times & Seasons”
The original Manuscript of the “Book of Mormon”.
The Persecution of the Church, in the State of , published in the Times & Seasons.
The Holy Bible—
Silver Coin, to wit
1 Half Dollar
1 Quarter Dollar
2 Dimes— 2 Half Dimes—
and
1 Cop[p]er Coin.
Deposited on the 2nd October 1841 [p. 220]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    For more on the history of the Nauvoo House, see Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124]; and Agreement with William Law, 26 Apr. 1841.  

  2. 2

    The Willard Richards version contains a slightly different opening statement: “The corner stone of the Nauvoo House was laid by President Joseph Smith. on the 2d. of October 1841. (At the commencement of the Last General conference of the church. in Nauvoo. previous to the finishing of the Temple,) And the following articles were deposited therein by the president.” (JS, Journal, 29 Dec. 1841.)  

  3. 3

    The Book of Mormon had been published in 1830 (Palmyra, New York), 1837 (Kirtland, Ohio), 1840 (Nauvoo, Illinois), and 1841 (Liverpool, England).  

  4. 4

    Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124]. Among other things, this revelation gave the injunction to build the Nauvoo House and instructions for building the Nauvoo temple. The water-damaged manuscript of the revelation, which was later retrieved from the cornerstone, also contained a brief revelation dated 20 March 1841, authorizing William Allred and Henry Miller to be stock agents for the Nauvoo House Association. The last page of the manuscript contained a note recording that JS laid the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House; the note was probably written on 2 October 1841 just prior to depositing the document in the cornerstone. (See Revelation, 20 Mar. 1841; JS, Journal, 29 Dec. 1841; and Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841, Revelations Collections, CHL [D&C 124].)  

    The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Carefully Selected from the Revelations of God. Compiled by Joseph Smith. 2nd ed. Nauvoo, IL: John Taylor, 1844. Selections also available in Robin Scott Jensen, Richard E. Turley Jr., Riley M. Lorimer, eds., Revelations and Translations, Volume 2: Published Revelations. Vol. 2 of the Revelations and Translations series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, and Richard Lyman Bushman (Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2011).Revelations Collection, 1831–ca. 1844, 1847, 1861, ca. 1876. CHL. MS 4583.

  5. 5

    “Charter for the Nauvoo House,” Times and Seasons, 1 Apr. 1841, 2:370–371. The charter for the Nauvoo House, which was passed by the Illinois State Legislature in February 1841, appeared in the 1 April 1841 issue of the Times and Seasons. (See also Agreement with William Law, 26 Apr. 1841.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  6. 6

    Robert B. Thompson, Journal of Heber C. Kimball, an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Nauvoo, IL: Robinson and Smith, 1840). This sixty-page pamphlet gives an account of Kimball’s first mission to England. It was dictated by Kimball to Thompson and was published in 1840 while Kimball was on his second mission to England. The Times and Seasons ran an advertisement notifying its readers that Kimball’s journal provided details of “the commencement of the work of the Lord in Great Britain.” Thompson noted in a preface that “a perusal of the Journal of Elder Heber C. Kimball would be a source of comfort to the saints” and that “the Elders of Israel would do well to copy the example, and I hope they will be able to receive some instructions from a perusal of this work, particularly those, who may visit Great Britain, which may be of some value to them.” (“Just Published,” Times and Seasons, 1 Jan. 1841, 2:271; Thompson, Journal of Heber C. Kimball, iii, vi–vii.)  

    Thompson, Robert B. Journal of Heber C. Kimball an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Nauvoo, IL: Robinson and Smith, 1840.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  7. 7

    Lyman Wight, Petition to “the Honorable Senate of the United States,” ca. 1839, CHL; see also Lyman Wight, Petition to the President of the United States, ca. 1839, Martin Van Buren Correspondence, photocopy, CHL. Lyman Wight wrote this memorial detailing the atrocities committed against Latter-day Saints in Missouri in accordance with JS’s request that the Saints gather “a knowledge of all the facts and suffering and abuses put upon them by the people of this state [Missouri].” (Letter to the Church and Edward Partridge, ca. 22 Mar. 1839 [D&C 123:1].)  

    Wight, Lyman. Petition to “the Honorable Senate of the United States,” ca. 1839. CHL.

    Van Buren, Martin. Correspondence, 1839–1844. Photocopy. CHL.

  8. 8

    The Willard Richards version clarifies that this book was “A Book of Doctrine & Covenants.— 1st. Edition.” (JS, Journal, 29 Dec. 1841; Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints: Carefully Selected from the Revelations of God [Kirtland, OH: F. G. Williams, 1835]; see also Minutes, 17 Aug. 1835; Doctrine and Covenants, 1835; and Foote, Autobiography, 2 Oct. 1841, 57.)  

    Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints: Carefully Selected from the Revelations of God. Compiled by Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams. Kirtland, OH: F. G. Williams, 1835.

    Foote, Warren. Autobiography, not before 1903. Warren Foote, Papers, 1837–1941. CHL. MS 1123, fd. 1.

  9. 9

    Nameplate, Times and Seasons, 1 Oct. 1841, 2:551. This was the most recent issue of the Times and Seasons, printed just a day earlier. Among other items, the issue contained Orson Hyde’s 15 June 1841 letter from Europe, various letters to the editor, a Nauvoo city ordinance on religious societies, and reprints of articles refuting falsehoods about the church. (See Letter from Orson Hyde, 15 June 1841; and Minutes, 1 Mar. 1841.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  10. 10

    Some observers later noted the significance of including that manuscript. Frederick Kesler wrote that he saw “the prophet Joseph Smith Hide up the manuscript of the Book of Mormon I stood nearby heard and saw what was done on that important occation.” Warren Foote later wrote, “I was standing very near the corner stone, when Joseph Smith came up with the manuscrip of the Book of Mormon, and said that he wanted to put that in there, as he had had trouble enough with it.” Another observer, John Brown, wrote that JS said the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon had been “a great deal of trouble to preserve” and that he stated, “I now deliver it up to the Lord and will not have the care of it any longer.” (Kesler, Diary, 4 Oct. 1878; Foote, Autobiography, 2 Oct. 1841, 57; John Brown, Pleasant Grove, Utah Territory, to John Taylor, 20 Dec. 1879, First Presidency [John Taylor] Correspondence, CHL.)  

    Kesler, Frederick. Diary, 1877–1881. Frederick Kesler, Papers, 1829–1985. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

    Foote, Warren. Autobiography, not before 1903. Warren Foote, Papers, 1837–1941. CHL. MS 1123, fd. 1.

    Brown, John. Letter, Pleasant Grove, Utah Territory, to John Taylor, 20 Dec. 1879. Copy. First Presidency (John Taylor) Correspondence, 1877–1887. CHL. CR 1 180, box 3, fd. 6.

  11. 11

    This history was published as a series of articles in issues 2–12 of the first volume of the Times and Seasons, which ran from December 1839 through October 1840. A damaged fragment from volume 1, issue 4—later retrieved from the cornerstone—confirms that at least some of those issues were deposited in the cornerstone. (Fragments from the Cornerstone of the Nauvoo House, CHL; see also “A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” Dec. 1839–Oct. 1840.)  

    Fragments from the Cornerstone of the Nauvoo House, ca. 1829–1841. CHL.

  12. 12

    Extant fragments later retrieved from the cornerstone contain chapters 16–28 of Isaiah, Nehemiah, 2 Samuel, and other books of the Old Testament from a King James Version of the Bible. (Bible Pages from the Cornerstone of Nauvoo House, CHL.)  

    Bible Pages from the Cornerstone of Nauvoo House, no date. CHL.

  13. 13

    United States silver coins of the late 1830s and early 1840s are known as Seated Liberty coins. The Seated Liberty obverse design for all denominations consists of a neoclassical-inspired goddess Liberty, facing to her right, bearing a flowing dress and seated on a rock. She holds a liberty pole in her left hand, while her right hand rests upon a shield inscribed with the word “LIBERTY.” For dimes and half dimes, the reverse shows a wreath design around words naming the denomination of the coin. For quarters, half dollars, and dollars, the reverse features a shield-bearing eagle holding an olive branch in its right talons and arrows in its left talons. Above the eagle, around the rim, are the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”; the coin denomination appears below the eagle. (Evans, Illustrated History of the United States Mint, 81–89; Yeoman, Guide Book of United States Coins, 138, 146, 162, 192, 214; see also Hazard, Short History of United States Coinage, 3–7; and Nussbaum, “Law of the Dollar,” 1064–1067.)  

    Evans, George G., ed. Illustrated History of the United States Mint, with a Complete Description of American Coinage, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time. . . . Rev. ed. Philadelphia: George G. Evans, 1885.

    Yeoman, Richard S. A Guide Book of United States Coins, 2010. 63rd ed. Atlanta: Whitman Publishing, 2009.

    Hazard, Rowland. A Short History of United States Coinage, Together with Some Statistical Tables Showing the Failure of the Attempt to Establish a Double Standard and Illustrating the Silver Question. Wakefield, RI: Times Print, 1896.

    Nussbaum, Arthur. “The Law of the Dollar.” Columbia Law Review 37, no. 7 (Nov. 1937): 1057–1091.

  14. 14

    There were two United States copper coins in production in the early 1840s: a coronet large cent and a braided half cent. The large cent contains a left-facing, classical Liberty head in the center of the obverse, surrounded by thirteen six-point stars. The figure has curled, flowing hair swept back into a bun, with a coronet displaying the word “LIBERTY” worn above the forehead. The reverse displays the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” as a nearly complete circle, with another circle formed by a laurel branch with berries, the ends tied by a ribbon. The center is inscribed with the words “ONE CENT,” each word on a separate line. The braided half cent contains a left-facing, classical Liberty head in the center of the obverse, surrounded by thirteen six-point stars and the date. The figure has curled, flowing hair swept in rope-like braids into a bun tied by beaded cords, with a coronet displaying the word “LIBERTY” worn above the forehead. The reverse displays the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” as a nearly complete circle, with another circle formed by a laurel branch with berries, the ends tied by a ribbon. In the center is “HALF CENT,” each word on a separate line. (Yeoman, Guide Book of United States Coins, 92, 105–106.)  

    Yeoman, Richard S. A Guide Book of United States Coins, 2010. 63rd ed. Atlanta: Whitman Publishing, 2009.