Minutes, 26 July 1838

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

July 26th 1838 This day the , , & , to met to take into concideration, the disposing of the publick properties in the hands of the , in , for the people of have commenced liberally to agreeably to the revelations, and commandments of the Great I am of their surpluss properties &c.
It was agreed that the first presidency keep all their properties, that they can dispose of to their advantage and support, and the remainder be put into the hands of the Bishop or Bishops, agreeably to the commandments, and revelations,
1st. Mooved seconded & carried unanymously, That the first presidency shall have their expences defrayed in going to , and also returning therefrom That the pay one half, and the the other half
2nd. Mooved seconded & carried unanymously— that all the traveling expences of the first presidency, shall be defrayed in traveling at any time or place [p. 59]
3rd. Mooved seconded & carried unanymously That the be authorized to pay orders coming from the east inasmuch as they will liberally, but this to be done under the inspection of the
4th That the first presidency shall have the prerogative to say to the Bishop whose orders, shall or may be paid by him in this place or in his Jurisdiction. carried unanymously
5th. Mooved seconded and carried That the receive all consecrations, east, west, & south, who are not in the Jurisdiction of a Bishop of any other .
6th Mooved & carried, that we use our influence to put a stop to the selling of Liquior in the City or in our midst, That our streets may not be filled with drunkeness and that we use our influence to bring down the price of provisions.—
7th. Mooved, seconded & carried unanymously that br. , be requested to draw up a petition to remove the county seat to [p. 60]


  1. 1

    The “Bishops Court” consisted of the bishop and his counselors. (See Revelation, 8 July 1838–D [D&C 120].)  

  2. 2

    This name for Deity, taken from Exodus 3:14, also appears in several of JS’s early revelations. (See Revelation, Sept. 1830–A [D&C 29:1]; Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:1]; and Revelation, 5 Jan. 1831 [D&C 39:1].)  

  3. 3

    A month earlier, Vinson Knight was appointed the pro tempore bishop at Adam-ondi-Ahman, Missouri. Bishop Newel K. Whitney, still residing in Kirtland, Ohio, was expected to move to Missouri and act as a bishop there. (Minutes, 28 June 1838; Revelation, 8 July 1838–E [D&C 117:11].)  

  4. 4

    JS, his counselors in the First Presidency, and Robinson visited Adam-ondi-Ahman repeatedly during the previous two months. (JS, Journal, 18 May–5 June 1838; Minutes, 28 June 1838; John Smith, Journal, 28 June 1838; JS History, vol. B-1, 804; see also Swartzell, Mormonism Exposed, 9–25.)  

    Smith, John (1781-1854). Journal, 1833–1841. John Smith, Papers, 1833-1854. CHL. MS 1326, box 1, fd. 1.

    Swartzell, William. Mormonism Exposed, Being a Journal of a Residence in Missouri from the 28th of May to the 20th of August, 1838, Together with an Appendix, Containing the Revelation concerning the Golden Bible, with Numerous Extracts from the ‘Book of Covenants,’ &c., &c. Pekin, OH: By the author, 1840.

  5. 5

    Many Latter-day Saints emigrating from Kirtland entrusted church leaders remaining there with the proceeds from selling the Saints’ properties. In return, these Saints received pay orders written by William Marks on behalf of JS and Sidney Rigdon that stated the value of the Saints’ donations. Upon arriving in Missouri, the Saints presented the pay orders to Bishop Edward Partridge to request repayment in money or property. (Corrill, Brief History, 27; Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 14–15, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA; Pay Order to Edward Partridge for William Smith, 21 Feb. 1838; see also Receipt from Timothy Clark, Oct. 1838; and Receipt from Sarah Burt Beman, 26 Jan. 1839.)  

    Peck, Reed. Letter, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

  6. 6

    See Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:33].  

  7. 7

    A month earlier, a stake was organized to the north at Adam-ondi-Ahman, with Vinson Knight as the pro tempore bishop. De Witt, the other stake planned in Missouri, had not been organized. (Minutes, 28 June 1838; Letter to Stephen Post, 17 Sept. 1838; R. Peck to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 20–21; Rockwood, Journal, 14 Oct. 1838.)  

    Peck, Reed. Letter, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

    Rockwood, Albert Perry. Journal Entries, Oct. 1838–Jan. 1839. Photocopy. CHL. MS 2606.

  8. 8

    The “Word of Wisdom,” the church’s revealed dietary code, proscribed “strong drink.” In the reorganization conference held in Far West in November 1837, the congregation voted that they would not support “Stores and Shops selling spirituous liquors, Tea, Coffee or Tobacco.” On 23 June 1838, the high council in Far West appointed a committee to visit local tavern keepers to ensure that they were keeping “good orderly houses, and have no drinking, swearing, gambling, and debauchery carried on therein.” (Revelation, 27 Feb. 1833 [D&C 89:5]; Minutes, 7 Nov. 1837; Minute Book 2, 23 June 1838.)  

  9. 9

    The church’s original communitarian plans in Missouri included a store that also functioned as a storehouse to help provision the Latter-day Saints.a Prices on the frontier could be significantly higher than elsewhere in the United States. In Missouri, according to historian Jeff Bremer, “almost all goods [were] sold at two to three times eastern prices.”b Three days before this meeting, Reynolds Cahoon wrote from Far West to Newel K. Whitney in Kirtland with suggestions of what kinds of goods Whitney should bring to Missouri since it was possible to “transport them much Cheaper than you can git them hear.” Cahoon’s list included furniture, stoves, livestock, and plows, among other items.c  

    Berrett, LaMar C., ed. Sacred Places: A Comprehensive Guide to Early LDS Historical Sites. 6 vols. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999–2007.

    Bremer, Jeff. A Store Almost in Sight: The Economic Transformation of Missouri from the Louisiana Purchase to the Civil War. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2014.

    Cahoon, Reynolds, and Edward Partridge. Letter, Far West, MO, to Newel K. Whitney, Kirtland Mills, OH, 23 and 24 July 1838. CHL.

    (aSee Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:8–10]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:24, 37]; and Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:47–48.bBremer, Store Almost in Sight, 155.cReynolds Cahoon, Far West, MO, to Newel K. Whitney, Kirtland, OH, 23 July 1838, CHL; see also Editorial, Elders’ Journal, July 1838, 34.)
  10. 10

    This decision was reaffirmed within two weeks.a The legislation that organized Caldwell County in December 1836 included measures for establishing a seat of justice in April 1837.b It is not known whether these measures were followed. However, Far West served as the county’s de facto if not official seat of justice because the town was the place where county justices Elias Higbee and William W. Phelps operated, where the office of county clerk John Cleminson was located, and where the circuit court was held a few days after this 26 July meeting.c The Latter-day Saints in Caldwell County, and apparently other Missourians as well, considered Far West the county seat.d  

    Laws of the State of Missouri, Passed at the First Session of the Ninth General Assembly, Begun and Held at the City of Jefferson, on Monday, the Twenty-First Day of November, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Six. 2nd ed. St. Louis: Chambers and Knapp, 1841.

    Robinson, George W. Papers, 1838. CHL.

    Phelps, William W. Commissions, 1837–1838. CHL.

    Greene, John P. Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons or Latter Day Saints, from the State of Missouri, under the “Exterminating Order.” By John P. Greene, an Authorized Representative of the Mormons. Cincinnati: R. P. Brooks, 1839.

    An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Caldwell County, Missouri. Compiled, Drawn and Published from Personal Examinations and Surveys. Philadelphia: Edwards Brothers, 1876.

    History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri, Written and Compiled from the Most Authentic Official and Private Sources. . . . St. Louis: National Historical Co., 1886.

    (aJS, Journal, 6 Aug. 1838.bAn Act to Organize the Counties of Caldwell and Daviess [29 Dec. 1836], Laws of the State of Missouri [1836–1837], pp. 46–47, sec. 3; see also An Act for Organizing Counties Hereafter Established [9 Dec. 1836], Laws of the State of Missouri [1836–1837], pp. 38–39, secs. 1–4; and An Act to Establish Judicial Circuits, and to Prescribe the Times and Places of Holding Courts [21 Jan. 1837], Laws of the State of Missouri [1836–1837], p. 57, sec. 23.cPetitions for Habeas Corpus to Elias Higbee, Aug. 1838, George W. Robinson, Papers, CHL; Certificate of William W. Phelps’s Oath of Office, 4 Apr. 1838, William W. Phelps Commissions, CHL; JS, Journal, 30–31 July 1838.dEditorial, Elders’ Journal, July 1838, 33; see also Greene, Facts relative to the Expulsion, 18; Illustrated Historical Atlas of Caldwell County, Missouri, 8, 10; and History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri, 121, 259.)