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History, 1834–1836

Perhaps, an arrangement of this kind in a former day would have occasioned some unpleasant reflections, in the minds of many, and at an earlier period, in this church, others to have forsaken the cause, in consequence of weakness, and unfaithfulness; but that the leaders of the church should wait so long before stepping forward according to the manifestation of the Spirit, deserved a reproof. And that the church should be chastened, for their uncultivated manner of salutation, is also just. But to proceed with the account of the interview.
After addressing the throne of mercy, President Smith laid hands upon High Counsellor 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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, and ordained him to the Presidency of the High priesthood in the Church, saying:
Brother, In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who was crucified for the sins of the world, that we through the virtue of his blood might come to the Father, I lay my hands upon thy head, and ordain thee a President of the high and holy priesthood, to assist in presiding over the Church, and bearing the keys of this kingdom— which priesthood is after the order of Melchizedek— which is after the order of the Son of God— And now, O Father, wilt thou bless this thy servant with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding— give him, by the Holy Spirit, a correct understanding of thy doctrine, laws, and will— Commune with him from on high— let him hear thy voice, and receive the ministring of the holy angels— deliver him from temptation, and the power of darkness— deliver him from evil, and from those who may seek his destruction,— be his shield, his buckler, and his great reward— endow him with power from on high, that he may write, preach, and proclaim the gospel to his fellowmen in demonstration of the Spirit and of power— may his feet never slide— may his heart never feint— may his faith never fail. Bestow upon him the blessings of his fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and of Joseph— Prolong his life to a good old age, and bring him in peace to his end, and to rejoice with thy saints, even the sanctified, in the celestial kingdom; for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Presidents 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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, and Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, confirmed the ordinance and blessings by the laying on of hands and prayer, after which each were blessed with the same blessings and prayer.
Much light was communicated to our minds, and we were instructed into the order of the Church of the saints, and how they ought to conduct in respecting and reverencing each other. The praise of men, or the honor of this world, is of no benefit; but if a man is respected in his calling, and considered to be a man of righteousness, the truth may have an influence, many times, by which means they may teach the gospel with success, and lead men into the kingdom of heaven. [p. 19]
Perhaps, an arrangement of this kind in a former day would have occasioned  some unpleasant reflections, in the minds of many, and at an early <earlier> period, in  this church, others to have forsaken the cause, in consequence of weakness, and unfaith fulness; but that the leaders of the church should wait so long before stepping forward  according <to> the manifestation of the Spirit, deserved a reproof. And that the  church should be chastened, for their uncultivated manner of salutation, is  also just. But to proceed with the account of the interview.
After addressing the throne of mercy,14

See Hebrews 4:16.  


President Smith laid hands up on High Counsellor 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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, and ordained him to the Presidency of the High  priesthood in the Church, saying:
Brother, In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who was crucified for  the sins of the world, that we through the virtue of his blood might come to the  Father,15

See Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 12:1, 1835 ed. [D&C 38:4].  


I lay my hands upon thy head, and ordain thee a President of the high and  holy priesthood, to assist in presiding over the Chu[r]ch, and bearing the keys of this king dom—16

See Matthew 16:19; Revelation, 15 Mar. 1832, in Doctrine and Covenants 79:1, 1835 ed. [D&C 81:2]; and Revelation, 8 Mar. 1833, in Doctrine and Covenants 84:1–3, 1835 ed. [D&C 90:1–6].  


which priesthood is after the or der of Melchizedek— which is after the order of the Son of God—17

See Psalm 110:4; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 260 [Alma 13:18]; and Vision, 16 Feb. 1832, in Doctrine and Covenants 91:5, 1835 ed. [D&C 76:57].  


And now, O Father, wilt thou bless this thy servant  with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding— give him, by the Holy Spirit,  a correct understanding of thy doctrine, laws, and will— Commune with  him from on high— let him hear thy voice, and receive the ministries ministring  of the holy angels— deliver him from temptation, and the power of  darkness— deliver him from evil,18

See Matthew 6:13.  


and from those who may seek his destruction, — be his shield, his buckler, and his great reward—19

See Genesis 15:1; Psalm 91:4; and Revelation, 7 Dec. 1830, in Doctrine and Covenants 11:4, 1835 ed. [D&C 35:14].  


endow him with power from on  high,20

See Luke 24:49; Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 12:7, 1835 ed. [D&C 38:32]; Revelation, Feb. 1831–A, in Doctrine and Covenants 14:4, 1835 ed. [D&C 43:15–16]; and Revelation, 22 June 1834, in Doctrine and Covenants 102:10, 1844 ed. [D&C 105:33].  


that he may write, preach, and proclaim the gospel to his fellowmen in dem onstration of the Spirit and of power—21

Cowdery had a special calling to be a preacher and teacher to the church. (See Revelation, Sept. 1830–B, in Doctrine and Covenants 51:1–2, 1835 ed. [D&C 28:1–4].)  


may his feet never slide— may his  heart never feint— may his faith never fail. Bestow upon him the bles sings of his fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and of Joseph— Prolong his  life to a good old age, and bring him in peace to his end, and to rejoice with  thy saints, even the sanctified, in the celestial kingdom;22

See 1 Corinthians 15:40–41; Vision, 16 Feb. 1832, in Doctrine and Covenants 91:5, 1835 ed. [D&C 76:50–70]; and Revelation, 27 and 28 Dec. 1832, in Doctrine and Covenants 7:4–5, 1835 ed. [D&C 88:17–22].  


for thine is the  kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.23

See Matthew 6:13; and Revelation, 30 Oct. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 24:1, 1835 ed. [D&C 65:6].  


Presidents 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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, and Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

View Full Bio
, confirmed the ordinance and bles sings by the laying on of hands and prayer, after which each were blessed  with the same blessings and prayer.
Much light was communicated to our minds, and we were instructed into  the order of the Church of the saints, and how they ought to conduct in re specting and reverencing each other. The praise of men, or the honor of this world,  is of no benefit; but if a man is respected in his calling, and considered to be  a man of righteousness, the truth may have an influence, many times, by which  means they may teach the gospel with success, and lead men into the kingdom  of heaven. [p. 19]
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JS’s 1834–1836 history is a composite historical record consisting of genealogical tables, journal-like entries, and transcripts of newspaper articles. It shifts abruptly in format from one unfinished section to the next. The order of handwriting in the history roughly matches that found in the 1835–1836 journal, and like the journal, the history passed from 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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to Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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to Warren Parrish

10 Jan. 1803–3 Jan. 1877. Clergyman, gardener. Born in New York. Son of John Parrish and Ruth Farr. Married first Elizabeth (Betsey) Patten of Westmoreland Co., New Hampshire, ca. 1822. Lived at Alexandria, Jefferson Co., New York, 1830. Purchased land at...

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to Warren Cowdery

17 Oct. 1788–23 Feb. 1851. Physician, druggist, farmer, editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Married Patience Simonds, 22 Sept. 1814, in Pawlet, Rutland Co. Moved to Freedom, Cattaraugus Co., New York, 1816...

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. Finally, it returned to Parrish. The purpose for which the record was created is unclear, as is the rationale for its differing formats. At the beginning, the 1834–1836 history may have had as much to do with Oliver Cowdery, its first scribe, as with JS. Cowdery was serving at the time as scribe for JS’s first 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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journal. He had transformed that journal into a jointly authored document by writing in the first person plural, making both himself and JS the protagonists. Cowdery made his final entry in the first Ohio journal 5 December 1834, the day he was ordained an assistant president to JS in the general church presidency and placed ahead of JS’s other assistants. He may have begun the 1834–1836 history in response to his new appointment.
The new record was begun in a massive blank book. 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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left the first twelve pages blank, possibly for a title page and other introductory material to be written later. He then inscribed columns and headings on the next eight pages to reserve them for the genealogies of the four members of the new church presidency. On the following page, he began an entry dated 5 December 1834, the same date as his last entry in JS’s first 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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journal.
Just as 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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converted JS’s first 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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journal into a JS-Cowdery journal, he may have conceived of the 1834–1836 history as a record for all four members of the church presidency. Cowdery’s entry for 5 December 1834 provided a lengthier and more formal account of his elevation to the church presidency than did JS’s first Ohio journal. Regardless of its purpose, however, the daily log was discontinued after two entries.
The next section of the history, begun months later, is a transcript 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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’s series of eight letters on church history published in the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate between October 1834 and October 1835. Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, who began the transcription, may have begun working under Cowdery’s direction, but by 29 October 1835 JS had assumed effective control of the document. JS’s journal entry of that date, which notes his employment of Warren Parrish

10 Jan. 1803–3 Jan. 1877. Clergyman, gardener. Born in New York. Son of John Parrish and Ruth Farr. Married first Elizabeth (Betsey) Patten of Westmoreland Co., New Hampshire, ca. 1822. Lived at Alexandria, Jefferson Co., New York, 1830. Purchased land at...

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as his scribe, also records that Parrish “commenced writing in my journal a history of my life, concluding President Cowdery 2d letter to W. 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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, which president Williams had begun.”1

JS, Journal, 29 Oct. 1835; see also entry for 29 Oct. 1835 herein. In this case, “my journal” refers to JS’s 1834–1836 history, which JS also called his “large journal.”  


The final section of JS’s history, transcribed by Warren Cowdery

17 Oct. 1788–23 Feb. 1851. Physician, druggist, farmer, editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Married Patience Simonds, 22 Sept. 1814, in Pawlet, Rutland Co. Moved to Freedom, Cattaraugus Co., New York, 1816...

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and Warren Parrish

10 Jan. 1803–3 Jan. 1877. Clergyman, gardener. Born in New York. Son of John Parrish and Ruth Farr. Married first Elizabeth (Betsey) Patten of Westmoreland Co., New Hampshire, ca. 1822. Lived at Alexandria, Jefferson Co., New York, 1830. Purchased land at...

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, is a revised version of JS’s daily journal entries from late September 1835 to late January 1836.2 Warren Cowdery explained that the intention was to provide a “faithful narration of every important item in his every-day-occurrences.”3

JS History, 1834–1836, 105.  


The revised entries continue to 18 January 1836. Warren Parrish, the final scribe to write in JS’s 1834–1836 history, may have ceased his work in order to embark on a proselytizing mission. However, the reasons for JS’s discontinuing the history entirely are not known.
Further information about the different sections of the 1834–1836 history may be found in intratextual notes preceding each section.
As noted above, the first section of the history includes initial work to compile genealogical data for each member of the church presidency. In an 1832 letter to church leaders in 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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, JS outlined the contents of the church history to be kept by 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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. In addition to an account of “all things that transpire in Zion,” JS instructed that the record include the names of those who had formally consecrated their property and received church land. At the second coming of Jesus Christ, he wrote, this record would be used to reward “the Saints whose names are found and the names of their fathers and of their children enroled in the Book of the Law of God.”4

JS, Kirtland, OH, to William W. Phelps, [Independence, MO], 27 Nov. 1832, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 1, 3.  


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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apparently followed this model when he began this new historical record in early December 1834. He reserved the pages at the beginning of the history to record family information for JS, himself, 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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, and Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, the four members of the general church presidency as designated on 5 December 1834. Inscribing headings to eight pages, Cowdery intended to prepare two genealogical tables for each of the four presidents, one to identify wife and children and the second to identify parents and siblings. The left column lists births and marriages; the column on the right was reserved for deaths. That Cowdery did not create or even leave room for similar tables for the two assistant presidents appointed on 6 December 1834 suggests that he inscribed both the tables and the entry for 5 December between the 5 and 6 December meetings.

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