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License for Christian Whitmer, 9 June 1830

A License

A document certifying an individual’s office in the church and authorizing him “to perform the duty of his calling.” The “Articles and Covenants” of the church implied that only elders could issue licenses; individuals ordained by a priest to an office in...

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Liberty Power & Authority1

The title of the license, “A License Liberty Power & Authority,” reflects other contemporary legal language, including that found in the New York laws for incorporating religious societies. (An Act to Provide for the Incorporation of Religious Societies [5 Apr. 1813], Laws of the State of New-York [1813], vol. 2, pp. 212–219; see also An Act Supplementary to the Act, Entitled “An Act to Provide for the Incorporation of Religious Societies,” Passed April 5th, 1813 [12 Apr. 1822], Laws of the State of New-York [1822], chap. 187, p. 187.)  


Given to Christian Whitmer

18 Jan. 1798–27 Nov. 1835. Shoemaker. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Married Anna (Anne) Schott, 22 Feb. 1825, at Seneca Co., New York. Ensign in New York militia, 1825. Constable of Fayette, Seneca Co., 1828–1829. Member...

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signifying & proveing that he is a Teacher

Generally, one who instructs, but also an ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The Book of Mormon explained that teachers were to be ordained “to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end...

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of this Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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established & regularly organized in these last days A D 1830 on the 6th day of April All of which has been done by the will of God the Father according to his holy calling & the gift & power of the Holy Ghost agreeable to the revelations of Jesus Christ given to Joseph Smith Jun the first Elder

Presiding officers of the church; also, leading elders of the church. A December 1832 revelation directed the first elders, or “first labourers,” to preach the gospel and instructed them to create a school to prepare for their ministry. A June 1834 revelation...

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of the Church signifying that he has been baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

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& received into the Church according to the Articles & Covenants of the Church & ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

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under the hand of Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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who is an Apostle of our Lord an Elder of the Church
Signed by (Joseph Smith Jr first Elder
(Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
Second Elder
Given to the Bearer in Confrence

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

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held in Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

More Info
Seneca County NY June 9th 1830 [p. [1]]
A License

A document certifying an individual’s office in the church and authorizing him “to perform the duty of his calling.” The “Articles and Covenants” of the church implied that only elders could issue licenses; individuals ordained by a priest to an office in...

View Glossary
Liberty Power & Authority1

The title of the license, “A License Liberty Power & Authority,” reflects other contemporary legal language, including that found in the New York laws for incorporating religious societies. (An Act to Provide for the Incorporation of Religious Societies [5 Apr. 1813], Laws of the State of New-York [1813], vol. 2, pp. 212–219; see also An Act Supplementary to the Act, Entitled “An Act to Provide for the Incorporation of Religious Societies,” Passed April 5th, 1813 [12 Apr. 1822], Laws of the State of New-York [1822], chap. 187, p. 187.)  


Given to Christian Whitmer

18 Jan. 1798–27 Nov. 1835. Shoemaker. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Married Anna (Anne) Schott, 22 Feb. 1825, at Seneca Co., New York. Ensign in New York militia, 1825. Constable of Fayette, Seneca Co., 1828–1829. Member...

View Full Bio
signifying & proveing that he is a  Teacher

Generally, one who instructs, but also an ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The Book of Mormon explained that teachers were to be ordained “to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end...

View Glossary
of this Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
established & regularly organized  in these last days A D 1830 on the 6th day of April All  of which has been done by the will of God the Father according  to his holy calling & the gift & power of the Holy Ghost agreeable  to the revelations of Jesus Christ given to Joseph Smith Jun the  first Elder

Presiding officers of the church; also, leading elders of the church. A December 1832 revelation directed the first elders, or “first labourers,” to preach the gospel and instructed them to create a school to prepare for their ministry. A June 1834 revelation...

View Glossary
of the Church signifying that he has been baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

View Glossary
&  received into the Church according to the Articles & Covenants of the  Church & ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

View Glossary
under the hand of Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
who is an  Apostle of our Lord an Elder of the Church
Signed by (Joseph Smith Jr first Elder
(Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
2

TEXT: A thick black ink smudge is found below Oliver Cowdery’s signature, running about the length of his name. Cowdery presumably made the smudge to ensure that no other signatures were added below his.  


Second Elder
Given to the Bearer in Confrence

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

View Glossary
held in  Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

More Info
Seneca County NY June 9th 1830 [p. [1]]
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Christian Whitmer

18 Jan. 1798–27 Nov. 1835. Shoemaker. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Married Anna (Anne) Schott, 22 Feb. 1825, at Seneca Co., New York. Ensign in New York militia, 1825. Constable of Fayette, Seneca Co., 1828–1829. Member...

View Full Bio
was one of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon and was baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

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shortly after the organization of the church on 6 April 1830.1

Testimony of Eight Witnesses, Late June 1829; for more information on priesthood licenses, see Historical Introduction to License for John Whitmer, 9 June 1830.  


This document is a license

A document certifying an individual’s office in the church and authorizing him “to perform the duty of his calling.” The “Articles and Covenants” of the church implied that only elders could issue licenses; individuals ordained by a priest to an office in...

View Glossary
“signifying & proveing” that he held the office of teacher

Generally, one who instructs, but also an ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The Book of Mormon explained that teachers were to be ordained “to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end...

View Glossary
in the newly formed Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
. Whitmer was ordained to this office before the first conference

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

View Glossary
of the church and received a license at that gathering, as did several other priesthood

Power or authority of God. The priesthood was conferred through the laying on of hands upon adult male members of the church in good standing; no specialized training was required. Priesthood officers held responsibility for administering the sacrament of...

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officers.2

See Historical Introduction to Minutes, 9 June 1830.  


The Book of Mormon described the duties of a teacher in terms similar to those of a priest

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. In the Book of Mormon, priests were described as those who baptized, administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church,” and taught “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” A June 1829 revelation directed...

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; likewise, “Articles of the Church of Christ,” a June 1829 document prepared by Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
, listed the same duties for teachers and priests.3

Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 575 [Moroni 3:3]; “Articles of the Church of Christ,” June 1829.  


However, “Articles and Covenants,” the document unanimously approved by the church at the 9 June 1830 conference, stated that priests were authorized to “baptize, and administer the sacrament

Primarily referred to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, as opposed to other religious sacraments. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed “that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord...

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,” while teachers were not. The primary responsibility of teachers was “to watch over the church always.”4

Facts