31835

License for William Smith, 5 October 1831

Images of this item © Community of Christ and licensed to the Joseph Smith Papers Project. Inquiries about high-resolution images of this item for scholarly use should be directed to the Community of Christ Library-Archives, Independence, Missouri.
This is to Certify that William Smith

13 Mar. 1811–13 Nov. 1893. Farmer, newspaper editor. Born at Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, 1811; to Norwich, Windsor Co., 1813; and to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816...

View Full Bio
has been received in 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
according to the Articles & Covenants of this Church1

According to the Articles and Covenants, individuals were received into the church after humbling themselves, expressing desire for baptism, and “com[ing] forth with a broken heart & a contrite spirit” to witness “unto the Church that they truly repent of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Christ having a determination to serve him unto the end.” If they also “manifest[ed] by their works that they have received the gift of Christ unto the remision of their sins,” they were “received unto baptism into the church of Christ.” (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:37].)  


& 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
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
under the hand of Joseph Smith jr. this therefore authorizes him to act as a teacher in this church according to the articles & Covenants2

See Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:53–59].  


given at Hyram

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...

More Info
Oct. 5th. 18313

In 1883, William Smith made what he called “a correct transcript from the original” license in his reminiscences, but his transcript contains some errors. Although the wording of the copied license largely matches the original, Smith wrote “given at Hyrum’s, Oct, 5th 1830.” He also designated Whitmer and JS as “Leaders” rather than “Elders.” (Smith, William Smith on Mormonism, 18.)  


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
{Elders
Joseph Smith Jr.
[p. [1]]
This is to Certify that William Smith

13 Mar. 1811–13 Nov. 1893. Farmer, newspaper editor. Born at Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, 1811; to Norwich, Windsor Co., 1813; and to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816...

View Full Bio
has been received  in 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
according to the Articles & Covenants  of this Church1

According to the Articles and Covenants, individuals were received into the church after humbling themselves, expressing desire for baptism, and “com[ing] forth with a broken heart & a contrite spirit” to witness “unto the Church that they truly repent of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Christ having a determination to serve him unto the end.” If they also “manifest[ed] by their works that they have received the gift of Christ unto the remision of their sins,” they were “received unto baptism into the church of Christ.” (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:37].)  


& 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
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
under the hand of Joseph Smith jr.  this therefore authorizes him to act as a teacher in this church accord ing to the articles & Covenants2

See Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:53–59].  


given at Hyram

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...

More Info
Oct. 5th. 18313

In 1883, William Smith made what he called “a correct transcript from the original” license in his reminiscences, but his transcript contains some errors. Although the wording of the copied license largely matches the original, Smith wrote “given at Hyrum’s, Oct, 5th 1830.” He also designated Whitmer and JS as “Leaders” rather than “Elders.” (Smith, William Smith on Mormonism, 18.)  


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
{Elders
Joseph Smith Jr.
[p. [1]]
Next
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
and JS issued 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
’s 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
to William Smith

13 Mar. 1811–13 Nov. 1893. Farmer, newspaper editor. Born at Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, 1811; to Norwich, Windsor Co., 1813; and to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816...

View Full Bio
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...

More Info
, Ohio, on 5 October 1831. The license was issued in accordance with the “Articles and Covenants” of the church, which directed that 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...

View Glossary
or teacher receive a license from an elder

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
, “which shall authorize him to perform the duty of his calling.”1

Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:64]. If a priest or a teacher was ordained to his office by a priest, he was to receive a certificate at the time of ordination that he would then show to an elder in order to receive his license.  


This practice also helped fulfill an injunction in a February 1831 revelation that no one should “go forth to preach my gospel or to build up my church” unless “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
by some one that hath authority & it is known to the church that he hath authority & have been regularly ordained by the leaders of the church.”2

Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:11].  


William Smith

13 Mar. 1811–13 Nov. 1893. Farmer, newspaper editor. Born at Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, 1811; to Norwich, Windsor Co., 1813; and to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816...

View Full Bio
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
by at least 3 June 1831.3

The minutes of a conference held circa 3–4 June 1831 in Kirtland, Ohio, list William Smith as one of the teachers in attendance. Smith himself recollected in 1883 that he became a teacher around October 1830. In her history, Lucy Mack Smith implied that William was already a teacher when JS relocated to Kirtland early in 1831. (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; Smith, William Smith on Mormonism, 17–18; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 11, [2].)  


The issuance of the license in October may have been necessary because, as Smith later remembered, he was “exclusively engaged in the business of my office” at that time. This involvement included “attending the numerous conferences and visiting the branches

An ecclesiastical organization of church members in a particular locale. A branch was generally smaller than a stake or a conference. Branches were also referred to as churches, as in “the Church of Shalersville.” In general, a branch was led by a presiding...

View Glossary
to see that the members were all faithful and that there was no quarreling, or backbiting among the brethren.”4

Smith, William Smith on Mormonism, 20.  


It is possible, though less likely, that Smith obtained a license at the time of his ordination and received this 5 October 1831 license as a replacement or renewal of the original.
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
, who was assigned to historical and clerical responsibilities, wrote out the license, which he and JS signed as elders.5

Whitmer was called in a March 1831 revelation to “write & keep a regulal [regular] history & assist my servent Joseph in Transcribing all things which shall be given him.” He was appointed in an April 1831 conference to “keep the Church record & history.” (Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–B [D&C 47:1]; Minute Book 2, 9 Apr. 1831.)  


Facts