Minutes, 14 September 1835

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Minutes of a of the Presidency held Sept. 14th 1835.
It was decided that as the laborer is worthy of his hire whenever President is called upon to pronounce patriarchal blessings upon the church he be paid for his time at the rate of ten dollars per week, and his expenses found. It was further decided that President be appointed and hereafter serve as scribe to attend blessing meetings. and that he receive for his services at the same ratio, having his expenses borne also. [p. 107]
It was further decided that President be appointed and that he act hereafter as recorder for the church. It was further decided that Sister proceed to make a selection of sacred hymns, according to the revilation, and that President be appointed to revise and arrange them for printing.
Clerk [p. 108]


  1. 1

    See Luke 10:7; Revelation, Sept. 1830–F [D&C 31:5]; Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:79]; and Revelation, 25 Nov. 1834 [D&C 106:3].  

  2. 2

    The average monthly wage for white-collar labor was $33.71 in the Northeast and $34.56 in the Midwest. In this context, the $10.00 per week salary (roughly $40.00 per month) was generous, especially since Joseph Smith Sr.’s duties certainly did not demand full-time hours. (Margo, Wages and Labor Markets, 69, 74–75, tables 3A.7, 3A.12, 3A.13.)  

    Margo, Robert A. Wages and Labor Markets in the United States,1820–1860. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

  3. 3

    Oliver Cowdery had served as scribe for most of the previous blessings later recorded in Patriarchal Blessing Book 1. Though the council appointed Williams to serve as scribe, Patriarchal Blessing Book 1 shows that he did so for only a portion of the blessings given by Joseph Smith Sr. in the following months. (Patriarchal Blessings, 1:8, 28, 30, 39.)  

    Patriarchal Blessings, 1833–. CHL. CR 500 2.

  4. 4

    Accounts of blessing meetings during the tenure of Joseph Smith Sr. followed a fairly consistent format. Whether a large gathering or small family affair, they opened and closed with songs and prayer and often featured remarks by Smith. Sometimes lasting the whole day, these meetings also included the performance of additional ordinances, such as blessings of healing or comfort, and were often followed by a communal meal. Calling a number of families together at a time in homes of church members, or later in the completed House of the Lord in Kirtland, allowed Smith to administer blessings more efficiently and reduced travel demands. (See Ames, Autobiography, 13 Mar. 1834, [11]; Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, 9–11, 46; Huntington, “Resurrection of My Mother,” 345–346; Rogers, Reminiscences and Diary, 7; “Biographical Sketch of the Life of Luman Andros Shurtliff,” 28; and JS, Journal, 29 Dec. 1835 and 7 Jan. 1836.)  

    Ames, Ira. Autobiography and Journal, 1858. CHL. MS 6055.

    Snow, Eliza R. Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1884.

    Huntington, Oliver B. “Resurrection of My Mother.” Young Woman’s Journal 5, no. 7 (Apr. 1894): 345–347.

    Rollins, James H. Reminiscences, 1896, 1898. Typescript. CHL. MS 2393.

  5. 5

    This is the first usage of the title “recorder” in extant records. Cowdery had previously served as the primary scribe for JS, having been called in April 1829 to “write” for JS, and was later appointed to “keep the Church record and Conference Minutes.” After Cowdery left to preach to the American Indians, John Whitmer was formally called to replace him in March 1831. Whitmer was also directed to undertake the writing of a church history. Though duties for Cowdery and others often overlapped, a scribe generally recorded revelations, translations, correspondence, and journal entries; a clerk kept official minutes of conferences, councils, and other meetings; and a recorder created or certified official institutional documents. (Revelation, Apr. 1829–D [D&C 9:4]; Minutes, 9 June 1830; Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–B [D&C 47].)  

  6. 6

    See Revelation, July 1830–C [D&C 25].  

  7. 7

    Although Phelps originally received this assignment in 1832, it was apparently renewed prior to this 14 September meeting, because on 11 September 1835, he wrote to his wife that he was “now revising hymns for a hymn Book.” (William W. Phelps, Kirtland, OH, to Sally Waterman Phelps, Liberty, MO, 11 Sept. 1835, William W. Phelps, Papers, BYU.)  

    Phelps, William W. Papers, 1835–1865. BYU.