License for Joseph Smith Sr., 9 June 1830

The newly founded Church of Christ followed the standard nineteenth-century Christian church practice of issuing certificates and licenses as public proclamations of affiliation and ordination. The term “liberty” in the license implied not only permission to preach but also competence in preaching.
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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drafted this license, designated “A License Liberty Power & Authority” at Fayette Township

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...

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, New York, for Joseph Smith Sr.

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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on 9 June 1830, at the time of the church’s first conference. It was signed by JS and Oliver Cowdery, who served as first and second elders of the church. The license identified Joseph Smith Sr. as a priest.