Minutes, 7–8 April 1838

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Agreeable to a resolution of the , assembled at , on Saturday the 3rd of March 1838, the general authorities of the church met, to hold the first quarterly conference of the , at on the 7th of April 1838. J. Smith jr, , , , and took the stand; after which the several , the high council, the , the the , the , the , the , and , were organized by their Presidents.
President J. Smith jr. made some remarks, also gave some instruction respecting the order of the day. The conference was then opened by singing, “O God our hope in ages past” and prayer by President .— Also a hymn was sung “how firm a foundation”. After which, President J. Smith, Jr. arose and addressed the congregation at considerable length, on some important items.— continued the subject for a length of time, after which, on motion, the meeting adjourned for the space of twenty minutes.
Pursuant to adjournment the conference convened, and opened by prayer by who also made a few remarks respecting the . He spake of , , , , , and , as being men of God, whom he could reccommend with cheerful confidence. He spake somewhat doubtful of from something which he had heard respecting his faith in the work. He also spake of , , , and as being men whom he could not reccommend to the conference.
President , then represented the high council. The report was favorable. He stated that the seats of , , and was vacant in consequence of their having moved away so far that they could not attend the council.
then nominated to fill the seat of who was received unanimously.
He then nominafed , to fill the seat of , who was received unanimously.
Also , to fill that of , who was received unanimously— The presidency then ordained him to the office of high priest.
On motion the Conference adjourned to the 8th at 9 o’clock A M.
Sunday April the 8th;—— Pursuant to adjournment the Conference convened, and opened by singing and prayer by President .
President Joseph Smith Jr. made a few remarks respecting the Who was followed by , who gave a short history of his travels to and .
President , who is the president of the high priests in ; represented his quorum; he read the names of those who belonged to his quorum, the principal part of which were in good standing.
The seventies were represented, by presidents , and .
The quorum of Elders were represented by president Harvey Green— Their number was 124, in good standing.
President Joseph Smith Jr, next made a few remarks on the , giving the reason of its coming forth, saying it should be observed. On motion, the Conference adjourned for one hour.
The Conference convened, agreeable to adjournment, and opened by singing and prayer, after which , represented the , and his council,— He gave an account of the incomes and outgoes of Church property which had passed through his hands.
It was then motioned and seconded, and carrried that the first presidency be appointed to sign the of the of the church— After which on motion, the Conference adjourned until the first Friday in July next.
, Clerk. [p. 47]


  1. 1

    A written resolution from the conference referred to the meeting as “a general Conference of the ordained members.” (Resolution, ca. 8 Apr. 1838.)  

  2. 2

    The men who “took the stand” were the available members of the First Presidency and the pro tempore Zion presidency. Whereas Rigdon had arrived in Far West, JS’s other counselor, Hyrum Smith, had not yet arrived from Kirtland. Marsh, Patten, and Young had been appointed to the presidency of the church in Zion the previous day. (Hyrum Smith, Commerce, IL, to “the Saints Scattered Abroad,” Dec. 1839, in Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:21; O’Driscoll, Hyrum Smith, 167–170; Minutes, 6 Apr. 1838.)  

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

    O'Driscoll, Jeffrey S. Hyrum Smith: A Life of Integrity. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003.

  3. 3

    Hymn 86, Collection of Sacred Hymns, 116–117.  

  4. 4

    Hymn 82, Collection of Sacred Hymns, 111–112.  

  5. 5

    A month later, when McLellin was tried in a church disciplinary council in Far West, he stated that he “had no confidence in the heads of the Church, beleiving they had transgressed, and got out of the way, and consequently he left of[f] praying and keeping the commandments of God.” In the September 1837 reorganization meeting in Kirtland, Luke Johnson, Lyman Johnson, and John F. Boynton were rejected as members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and were apparently disfellowshipped. On that occasion, Rigdon explained “the starting point or cause of all the difficulty,” cautioning the elders against “leaving their calling to persue any occupation derogatory to that calling, assuring them that if persued, God would let them run themselves into difficulties.” Boynton, who was present, “attributed his difficulties & conduct to the failure of the bank”—the Kirtland Safety Society—“stating that the bank he understood was instituted by the will & revilations of God, & he had been told that it never would fail let men do what they pleased.” A week after the September reorganization meeting, Boynton and the Johnsons “made confession to the Church,” and it was “voted that they be received into the fellowship of the Saints and retain their office of Apostleship.” However, after further problems, Luke Johnson and Boynton were excommunicated in December 1837. They joined with other leading dissenters to organize a new church in January 1838, which publicly denounced JS. In April 1838, a church trial was held for Lyman Johnson on charges of speaking against JS and other church leaders, failing to attend church meetings, violating the church’s dietary code, committing fraudulent business dealings, instigating lawsuits against church members, and other offenses. He was removed from office and excommunicated. (JS, Journal, 11 May 1838; Minutes, 3 Sept. 1837; Minute Book 1, 10 Sept. 1837; John Smith and Clarissa Lyman Smith, Kirtland, OH, to George A. Smith, Shinnston, VA, 1 Jan. 1838, George Albert Smith, Papers, CHL; Letter to Wilford Woodruff, ca. 18 June 1838; Minutes, 13 Apr. 1838.)  

    Smith, George Albert. Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322.

  6. 6

    On 24 March 1838, the high council decided that council members unable to attend council meetings were to “resign their seats and let others fill them who will be able to attend punctually.” Groves and Wight had moved to Daviess County, Missouri, and Beebe had moved to Clinton County, Missouri. (Minutes, 24 Mar. 1838; Elisha Groves, “An Account of the Life of Elisha Hurd Groves,” 4, Obituary Notices and Biographies, CHL; JS, Journal, 18 May–1 June 1838; Calvin Beebe, Affidavit, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, 28 Oct. 1839, Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845, CHL.)  

    Obituary Notices and Biographies, 1854–1877. CHL. MS 4760.

    Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845. CHL. MS 2703.

  7. 7

    Carter had served as the president of the high council in Kirtland and more recently as a substitute for Groves in the Zion high council. (Minute Book 1, 9 Sept. 1837; Minute Book 2, 10 Mar. 1838; Minutes, 15 Mar. 1838; Minutes, 24 Mar. 1838.)  

  8. 8

    Greene had served as a member of the high council in Kirtland. (Minutes, 13 Jan. 1836.)  

  9. 9

    Harris had recently substituted for Wight in the Zion high council. (Minute Book 2, 1 and 5 Aug. 1837; 10 and 17 Mar. 1838; Minutes, 15 Mar. 1838; Minutes, 24 Mar. 1838.)  

  10. 10

    The Kirtland Safety Society, often called the Kirtland Bank, collapsed in 1837, causing financial losses for the Mormon community in Kirtland, adding to the strain already felt from the financial panic of 1837. Because of these circumstances, along with doubts and resentment toward JS, some members became disaffected from the church. (Notice, ca. Late Aug. 1837; Introduction to Part 6: 20 Apr.–14 Sept. 1837; see also Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, chaps. 33–34.)  

    Staker, Mark L. Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2009.

  11. 11

    Young served two missions in 1837 to transact church business. (Historian’s Office, Brigham Young History Drafts, 11–14; see also Richards, Journal, 13 Mar.–19 May and 11–12 June 1837.)  

    Historian’s Office. Brigham Young History Drafts, 1856–1858. CHL. CR 100 475, box 1, fd. 5.

    Richards, Willard. Journals, 1836–1853. Willard Richards, Papers, 1821–1854. CHL. MS 1490, boxes 1–2.

  12. 12

    The “word of wisdom”—the revelation containing the church’s dietary code—proscribed the ingestion of distilled liquors, wine, coffee, tea, and tobacco. (See Revelation, 27 Feb. 1833 [D&C 89].)  

  13. 13

    Failure to observe the “word of wisdom” was one reason the members of the Zion presidency were removed from office in February 1838. (See Letter from Thomas B. Marsh, 15 Feb. 1838.)  

  14. 14

    That is, the Aaronic order of priesthood offices, which Partridge presided over. (Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:25–30]; Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:13–15].)  

  15. 15

    Between January and March, Partridge sold almost one hundred acres of land in Jackson County, Missouri, possibly to help fund land purchases and urgent settlement needs in Caldwell County, Missouri. Partridge also allotted land in the Far West plot, including to JS, Rigdon, and Hyrum Smith. These transactions may have been among those reported at this time. (Jackson Co., MO, Deed Records, 1827–1909, vol. F, pp. 107–108, 10 Jan. 1838; p. 109, 2 Feb. 1838; p. 110, 9 Mar. 1838, microfilm 1,017,980, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Minute Book 2, 3 Mar. 1838.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  16. 16

    Resolution, ca. 8 Apr. 1838.  

  17. 17

    The church’s founding “Articles and Covenants” instructed the elders of the church to meet in conference quarterly. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830; see also Revelation Book 1, p. 56 [D&C 20:61].)