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Minutes, 30 April 1832

Minutes of a Council

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

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of the litterary Firm

The branch of the United Firm responsible for church publications. In November 1831, a revelation appointed JS, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Sidney Rigdon, and William W. Phelps as “stewards over the revelations & commandments.” In March 1832...

View Glossary
, Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

More Info
April 30. 1832.
Present
Joseph Smith jr. President

An organized body of leaders over priesthood quorums and other ecclesiastical organizations. A November 1831 revelation first described the office of president over the high priesthood and the church as a whole. By 1832, JS and two counselors constituted ...

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,1

This title probably refers to JS’s role as president of the high priesthood. The revelation appointing the “stewards” of the revelations provided no hierarchy for the Literary Firm. (See Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70].)  


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
Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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Jesse Gause

Ca. 1784–ca. Sept. 1836. Schoolteacher. Born at East Marlborough, Chester Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Gause (Goss) and Mary Beverly. Joined Society of Friends (Quakers), 1806. Moved to Fayette Co., Pennsylvania, 1808; to Chester Co., 1811; and to Wilmington...

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, one of the President’s counsellors.2

It is possible that the identification of Gause as one of JS’s counselors was added at a later time. Because Gause was apparently excommunicated within a few months of this meeting, the position he had held in the church may have been added to the record for the benefit of later readers to whom he would be increasingly unfamiliar.a Minutes of other meetings copied by Ebenezer Robinson include such redactive identifications.b However, the explicit designation of Gause as one of JS’s counselors may have been included in the original minutes because church members in Missouri at the time were unfamiliar with Gause, who had apparently only recently been baptized in Ohio.c For example, John Whitmer described Gause as “one Jesse Gause” in the historical record he was keeping, which suggests that church members were unfamiliar with Gause.d It is also possible that Gause was designated as a counselor in the original minutes because he attended the meeting in that capacity. There is no record that Gause was ever appointed to the Literary Firm. In contrast, Rigdon, who was previously appointed as one of the “stewards” of the revelations, is listed in attendance but not designated as one of JS’s counselors. Gause may also have been standing in for Martin Harris, who was one of the stewards over the revelations.e A 20 March 1832 revelation indicated that Harris should not travel to Missouri with JS in the spring of 1832.f  


aJS, Journal, 3 Dec. 1832.

bSee, for example, Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831.

cJennings, “Consequential Counselor,” 198–199.

dWhitmer, History, 38.

eRevelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70:1–3]; Revelation, 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82:11].

fSee Revelation, 20 Mar. 1832.

ordered by the council that three thousand copies of the book of Commandments be printed the first edition.3

In a January 1832 letter to JS, Cowdery reported that the plan to print ten thousand copies would require twice “the amount of the first mentioned Ream[s].” This calculation probably factored into the firm’s new plan for a reduced print run of the “first edition,” while allowing for the prospect of one or more subsequent editions. (Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 28 Jan. 1832.)  


[p. 25]
Minutes of a Council

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

View Glossary
of the litterary Firm

The branch of the United Firm responsible for church publications. In November 1831, a revelation appointed JS, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Sidney Rigdon, and William W. Phelps as “stewards over the revelations & commandments.” In March 1832...

View Glossary
, Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

More Info
April 30. 1832.
Present
Joseph Smith jr. President

An organized body of leaders over priesthood quorums and other ecclesiastical organizations. A November 1831 revelation first described the office of president over the high priesthood and the church as a whole. By 1832, JS and two counselors constituted ...

View Glossary
,1

This title probably refers to JS’s role as president of the high priesthood. The revelation appointing the “stewards” of the revelations provided no hierarchy for the Literary Firm. (See Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70].)  


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
Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

View Full Bio
William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

View Full Bio
John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

View Full Bio
Jesse Gause

Ca. 1784–ca. Sept. 1836. Schoolteacher. Born at East Marlborough, Chester Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Gause (Goss) and Mary Beverly. Joined Society of Friends (Quakers), 1806. Moved to Fayette Co., Pennsylvania, 1808; to Chester Co., 1811; and to Wilmington...

View Full Bio
, one of the President’s counsellors.2

It is possible that the identification of Gause as one of JS’s counselors was added at a later time. Because Gause was apparently excommunicated within a few months of this meeting, the position he had held in the church may have been added to the record for the benefit of later readers to whom he would be increasingly unfamiliar.a Minutes of other meetings copied by Ebenezer Robinson include such redactive identifications.b However, the explicit designation of Gause as one of JS’s counselors may have been included in the original minutes because church members in Missouri at the time were unfamiliar with Gause, who had apparently only recently been baptized in Ohio.c For example, John Whitmer described Gause as “one Jesse Gause” in the historical record he was keeping, which suggests that church members were unfamiliar with Gause.d It is also possible that Gause was designated as a counselor in the original minutes because he attended the meeting in that capacity. There is no record that Gause was ever appointed to the Literary Firm. In contrast, Rigdon, who was previously appointed as one of the “stewards” of the revelations, is listed in attendance but not designated as one of JS’s counselors. Gause may also have been standing in for Martin Harris, who was one of the stewards over the revelations.e A 20 March 1832 revelation indicated that Harris should not travel to Missouri with JS in the spring of 1832.f  


aJS, Journal, 3 Dec. 1832.

bSee, for example, Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831.

cJennings, “Consequential Counselor,” 198–199.

dWhitmer, History, 38.

eRevelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70:1–3]; Revelation, 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82:11].

fSee Revelation, 20 Mar. 1832.

ordered by the council that three thousand copies of the book of Commandments  be printed the first edition.3

In a January 1832 letter to JS, Cowdery reported that the plan to print ten thousand copies would require twice “the amount of the first mentioned Ream[s].” This calculation probably factored into the firm’s new plan for a reduced print run of the “first edition,” while allowing for the prospect of one or more subsequent editions. (Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 28 Jan. 1832.)  


[p. 25]
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On 30 April 1832, JS and others who were designated as “stewards

One who managed property and goods under the law of consecration; also someone given a specific ecclesiastical responsibility. According to the “Laws of the Church of Christ,” members of the church were to make donations to the bishop, who would record the...

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over the revelations”1

Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70:3].  


gathered in Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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, Jackson County, Missouri, for the first recorded meeting of the Literary Firm

The branch of the United Firm responsible for church publications. In November 1831, a revelation appointed JS, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Sidney Rigdon, and William W. Phelps as “stewards over the revelations & commandments.” In March 1832...

View Glossary
. The roots of this new firm reached back to late 1831 in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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. At a series of conferences

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 Hiram

Area settled by immigrants from Pennsylvania and New England, ca. 1802. Located in northeastern Ohio about twenty-five miles southeast of Kirtland. Population in 1830 about 500. Population in 1840 about 1,100. JS lived in township at home of John and Alice...

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, Ohio, in November 1831, church leaders decided to publish JS’s revelations in a compilation titled the Book of Commandments and to have ten thousand copies of the book printed. They instructed 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
and John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

View Full Bio
to take manuscript copies of the revelations to Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, where William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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was establishing the church’s printing works.2 On 12 November 1831, a revelation instructed JS, Cowdery, Whitmer, Phelps, Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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, and Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

View Full Bio
to be “stewards over the revelations & commandments

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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” and “to manage them & the concerns thereof.”3

Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70]. At a conference held the same day, JS, Cowdery, Whitmer, and Rigdon were appointed to manage the revelations. (Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831.)  


After JS and other Ohio leaders traveled to Missouri, a 26 April 1832 revelation instructed three groups of individuals to join themselves together in the management of these “stewartships.” The three groups included those responsible for publishing the church’s revelations; those responsible for maintaining the church stores in Independence and Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio; and the two bishops

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

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in charge of the church’s temporal affairs.4
After spending 28–29 April visiting church members in Kaw Township

Settlement by whites commenced after treaty with Osage Indians, 1825. One of three original townships organized in Jackson Co., 22 May 1827. Bordered by Missouri River on north side and Big Blue River on east and south sides; western boundary was state line...

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, Missouri,5

JS History, vol. A-1, 213.  


JS returned to Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

More Info
, and on 30 April6

The minutes of the Literary Firm meeting bear a 30 April date. A later JS history recounts, however, that the meeting was held 1 May. A United Firm meeting that followed the meeting of the Literary Firm may have been held on 1 May, and in his history JS may have confused the date of the United Firm meeting with the date of the Literary Firm meeting. (JS History, vol. A-1, 214.)  


he presided over the first known meeting of the Literary Firm.7

The minutes of 30 April 1832 are the first known instance in which the appointed stewards were referred to as the Literary Firm. Since Whitmer and Cowdery left for Independence soon after the November 1831 conferences ended, and since this April trip was the first time JS and Rigdon traveled to Missouri after those conferences, the firm likely did not meet before this meeting.  


The firm apparently had a broader scope than just supervising the production of the Book of Commandments; the minutes also discuss the possible publication of an almanac and the preparation of a hymnal. As clerk of the meeting, 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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recorded the minutes. In 1838, Ebenezer Robinson

25 May 1816–11 Mar. 1891. Printer, editor, publisher. Born at Floyd (near Rome), Oneida Co., New York. Son of Nathan Robinson and Mary Brown. Moved to Utica, Oneida Co., ca. 1831, and learned printing trade at Utica Observer. Moved to Ravenna, Portage Co....

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copied the minutes into Minute Book 2.

Facts