2478591

Minutes, 22–23 January 1833

Zebedee Coltrin

7 Sept. 1804–21 July 1887. Born at Ovid, Seneca Co., New York. Son of John Coltrin and Sarah Graham. Member of Methodist church. Married first Julia Ann Jennings, Oct. 1828. Baptized into LDS church by Solomon Hancock, 9 Jan. 1831, at Strongsville, Cuyahoga...

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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...

View Full Bio
Samuel H Smith

13 Mar. 1808–30 July 1844. Farmer, logger, scribe, builder, tavern operator. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, by Mar. 1810; to Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, 1811...

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John Murdock

15 July 1792–23 Dec. 1871. Farmer. Born at Kortright, Delaware Co., New York. Son of John Murdock Sr. and Eleanor Riggs. Joined Lutheran Dutch Church, ca. 1817, then Presbyterian Seceder Church shortly after. Moved to Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ca. 1819....

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Lyman Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

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Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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Ezra Thair Thayer

14 Oct. 1791–6 Sept. 1862. Farmer, gardener, builder. Born in New York. Married Elizabeth Frank. Lived at Bloomfield, Ontario Co., New York, 1820. Lived at Farmington, Ontario Co., 1830. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt and confirmed by JS, fall...

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;3

Of the twelve high priests listed here, ten were present when JS dictated the 27–28 December 1832 revelation directing that the school of the prophets be established. Only Coltrin and Johnson were not in attendance. (Minutes, 27–28 Dec. 1832.)  


Elders

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
, Levy Levi Hancock

7 Apr. 1803–10 June 1882. Born at Springfield, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Thomas Hancock III and Amy Ward. Baptized into LDS church, 16 Nov. 1830, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Clarissa Reed, 20 Mar. 1831. Served mission to Missouri with ...

View Full Bio
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
——
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
opened with prayer by the President, after prayer the President spake in an unknown Tongue he was followed by Br Zebede Coltrin

7 Sept. 1804–21 July 1887. Born at Ovid, Seneca Co., New York. Son of John Coltrin and Sarah Graham. Member of Methodist church. Married first Julia Ann Jennings, Oct. 1828. Baptized into LDS church by Solomon Hancock, 9 Jan. 1831, at Strongsville, Cuyahoga...

View Full Bio
4

Coltrin’s journal entry for this meeting states that “much useful instruction was obtaind by the gift and power of the holy spirit and also the gift of tongues and the interpretation thereof.” (Coltrin, Diary and Notebook, 24 Jan. 1833.)  


and he by Bro 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...

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after this the gift was poured out in a miraculous manner until all the Elders obtained the gift together with several of the members of the Church

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
both male & female Great and glorious were the divine manifestation of the Holy Spirit, Praises were sang to God & the Lamb besides much speaking & praying all in tongues. The conference adjourned at a late hour in the night to meet next morning at 9 oclock closed with prayer by the President
Wednesday Janry 23d Meet agreeable to adjournment. Conference opened with Prayer by the President and after much speaking praying and singing, all done in Tongues proceded to washing hands faces & feet

An ordinance following the pattern set by Jesus in the New Testament, symbolizing unity and bestowing purification and spiritual power. At the first meeting of the School of the Prophets in January 1833, JS washed the feet of the elders present and pronounced...

View Glossary
5

John 13 recounts that when Christ first attempted to wash Peter’s feet, Peter objected. After Christ told Peter, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me,” Peter responded, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus then replied, “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.” As part of his Bible revision, JS changed that answer sometime in February or March 1832 to read, “He that has washed his hands and his head needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.” (John 13:6–10; New Testament Revision 2, part 2, p. 117 [Joseph Smith Translation, John 13:10].)  


in the name of the Lord as commanded of God6

The 27–28 December 1832 revelation instructed the “first labourers, in this last kingdom” to “purify your, hearts, and clean your hands, and your feet, before me, that I may make you clean, that I may testify unto your father, and your God, and my God, that you, are clean, from the blood of this, wicked generation.” (Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:74].)  


each one washing his own after which the president guirded himself with a towel and again washed the feet of all the Elders wiping them with the towel, his father

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...

View Full Bio
presenting himself the President asked of him a blessing before he would wash his feet which he obtained by the laying on of his fathers hands

A practice in which individuals place their hands upon a person to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, ordain to an office or calling, or confer other power, authority, or blessings, often as part of an ordinance. The Book of Mormon explained that ecclesiastical...

View Glossary
, pronouncing upon his head that he should continue in his Priests office untill Christ come7

It is unclear why Joseph Smith Sr. used this specific language or what it meant. Perhaps it referred to JS’s role as a high priest or his role as president of the high priesthood. (See Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; see also “History of Orson Pratt,” 11, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL; and Minutes, 26–27 Apr. 1832.)  


——
at the close of which scene Br F 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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being moved upon by the Holy Ghost washed the feet of the President as a token of his [p. 7]

Sidney Rigdon handwriting ends; Frederick G. Williams begins.  


Zebedee Coltrin

7 Sept. 1804–21 July 1887. Born at Ovid, Seneca Co., New York. Son of John Coltrin and Sarah Graham. Member of Methodist church. Married first Julia Ann Jennings, Oct. 1828. Baptized into LDS church by Solomon Hancock, 9 Jan. 1831, at Strongsville, Cuyahoga...

View Full Bio
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...

View Full Bio
Samuel H Smith

13 Mar. 1808–30 July 1844. Farmer, logger, scribe, builder, tavern operator. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, by Mar. 1810; to Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, 1811...

View Full Bio
 John Murdock

15 July 1792–23 Dec. 1871. Farmer. Born at Kortright, Delaware Co., New York. Son of John Murdock Sr. and Eleanor Riggs. Joined Lutheran Dutch Church, ca. 1817, then Presbyterian Seceder Church shortly after. Moved to Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ca. 1819....

View Full Bio
Lyman Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

View Full Bio
Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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Ezra Thair [Thayer]

14 Oct. 1791–6 Sept. 1862. Farmer, gardener, builder. Born in New York. Married Elizabeth Frank. Lived at Bloomfield, Ontario Co., New York, 1820. Lived at Farmington, Ontario Co., 1830. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt and confirmed by JS, fall...

View Full Bio
;3

Of the twelve high priests listed here, ten were present when JS dictated the 27–28 December 1832 revelation directing that the school of the prophets be established. Only Coltrin and Johnson were not in attendance. (Minutes, 27–28 Dec. 1832.)  


 Elders

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
, Levy [Levi] Hancock

7 Apr. 1803–10 June 1882. Born at Springfield, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Thomas Hancock III and Amy Ward. Baptized into LDS church, 16 Nov. 1830, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Clarissa Reed, 20 Mar. 1831. Served mission to Missouri with ...

View Full Bio
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
——
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
opened with prayer by the President, after  prayer the President spake in an unknown Tongue  he was followed by Br Zebede Coltrin

7 Sept. 1804–21 July 1887. Born at Ovid, Seneca Co., New York. Son of John Coltrin and Sarah Graham. Member of Methodist church. Married first Julia Ann Jennings, Oct. 1828. Baptized into LDS church by Solomon Hancock, 9 Jan. 1831, at Strongsville, Cuyahoga...

View Full Bio
4

Coltrin’s journal entry for this meeting states that “much useful instruction was obtaind by the gift and power of the holy spirit and also the gift of tongues and the interpretation thereof.” (Coltrin, Diary and Notebook, 24 Jan. 1833.)  


and he by  Bro 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
after this the gift was poured  out in a miraculous manner until all the Elders  obtained the gift together with several of the  members of the Church

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
both male & female  Great and glorious were the divine manifestation  of the Holy Spirit, Praises were sang to God & the  Lamb besides much speaking & praying all in  tongues. The conference adjourned at a late hour  in the night to meet next morning at 9 oclock  closed by with prayer by the President
Wednesday Janry 23d Meet agreeable to adjourn ment. Conference opened with Prayer by  the President and after much speaking  praying and singing, all done in Tongues  proceded to washing hands faces & feet

An ordinance following the pattern set by Jesus in the New Testament, symbolizing unity and bestowing purification and spiritual power. At the first meeting of the School of the Prophets in January 1833, JS washed the feet of the elders present and pronounced...

View Glossary
5

John 13 recounts that when Christ first attempted to wash Peter’s feet, Peter objected. After Christ told Peter, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me,” Peter responded, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus then replied, “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.” As part of his Bible revision, JS changed that answer sometime in February or March 1832 to read, “He that has washed his hands and his head needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.” (John 13:6–10; New Testament Revision 2, part 2, p. 117 [Joseph Smith Translation, John 13:10].)  


in the  name of the Lord as commanded by of God6

The 27–28 December 1832 revelation instructed the “first labourers, in this last kingdom” to “purify your, hearts, and clean your hands, and your feet, before me, that I may make you clean, that I may testify unto your father, and your God, and my God, that you, are clean, from the blood of this, wicked generation.” (Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:74].)  


 each one washing his own after which the  president guirded himself with a towel and  again washed the feet of all the Elders wiping them  with the towel, his father

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...

View Full Bio
presenting himself  the President asked of him a blessing before he  would wash his feet which he obtained by  the laying on of his fathers hands

A practice in which individuals place their hands upon a person to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, ordain to an office or calling, or confer other power, authority, or blessings, often as part of an ordinance. The Book of Mormon explained that ecclesiastical...

View Glossary
, pronouncing  upon his head that he should continue in his  Priests office untill Christ come7

It is unclear why Joseph Smith Sr. used this specific language or what it meant. Perhaps it referred to JS’s role as a high priest or his role as president of the high priesthood. (See Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; see also “History of Orson Pratt,” 11, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL; and Minutes, 26–27 Apr. 1832.)  


——
at the close of which scene Br F 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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 being moved upon by the Holy Ghost washed  the feet of the President as a token of his [p. 7]
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According to the index of Minute Book 1, a 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 high priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests. The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church. However, the Book of Mormon also discussed...

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met in 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, on 22–23 January 1833 “to organize the scholl [school] of th[e] prophets

A term occasionally used to refer to a Protestant seminary; specifically used by JS to refer to a school to prepare elders of the church for their ministry. A December 1832 revelation directed JS and the elders of the church in Kirtland, Ohio, to establish...

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.”1

Minute Book 1, Index, [1].  


A 27–28 December 1832 revelation had commanded the “first labourers” of the church to “assembl yourselves together, and organize yourselves, and prepare yourselves, and sanc[t]ify yourselves.” The revelation commanded these “labourers” to “clean your hands, and your feet, before me” so that they could be “clean, from the blood of this, wicked generation” and then to establish a school where they could be instructed in both secular and spiritual matters—a school that JS called a “school for the Prophets.”2 Schools of the prophets, which trained ministerial candidates prior to the assumption of their duties as clergymen, had been part of the colonial and early American religious landscape since the arrival of the Puritans in the 1630s. Institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth were generally understood to be “schools of the prophets” in that one of their primary functions was to train a qualified clergy. Private schools of the prophets emerged in the 1740s as part of the reform spirit associated with the First Great Awakening and continued into the early nineteenth century.3

Darowski, “Schools of the Prophets,” 1–13.  


According to the 27–28 December 1832 revelation, the School of the Prophets was necessary for the men of the school to “be prepared, in all things when I shall send you again, to magnify the calling, whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which, I have commissioned you.” It was also essential so that the men could be better qualified “to go forth among the gentiles

Those who were not members of the House of Israel. More specifically, members of the church identified gentiles as those whose lineage was not of the Jews or Lamanites (understood to be the American Indians in JS’s day). Certain prophecies indicated that ...

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, for the last time.”4

Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:80, 84].  


In accordance with these instructions, twelve high priests, two elders

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
, and other members of the church, including women, gathered on 22 January 1833 in an upstairs room of Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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’s white store

In Apr. 1826, Whitney purchased quarter-acre lot on northeast corner of Chardon and Chillicothe roads and built two-story, 1500-square-foot, white store. Mercantile store also functioned as Kirtland Mills post office. Whitney met JS at store, 4 Feb. 1831....

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, where JS was living. The conference continued the next day, though it is likely, given the “washing hands faces & feet” that took place on the second day, that only the men listed at the beginning of the minutes were present on that day.
Although the index to Minute Book 1 states that the purpose of the conference was to organize the school, the minutes do not provide details about any kind of formal establishment. Instead, the minutes indicate that the conference was mainly concerned with the sanctification required by the 27–28 December 1832 revelation—perhaps as a necessary precursor to any actual teaching or learning. The participants present on the first day experienced the gifts of speaking in and interpreting tongues. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon refer to speaking in tongues as one of the manifestations of God’s Spirit. A March 1831 revelation also states that “it is given to some to speak with tongues & to another it is given the interpretation of tongues.”5

Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–A [D&C 46:24–25].  


The practice, however, was not common in other religious denominations in the United States

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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at the time, although it was sometimes exhibited at slave revivals in the early nineteenth century and was occasionally manifested in the Shaker community.6

Stein, Shaker Experience in America, 105, 167, 171–172; see also Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 20–23.  


Although 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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church members had experienced this gift in 1830 and 1831 before JS’s arrival, it largely disappeared 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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after a June 1831 conference at which JS “identified some of the ecstatic manifestations” of church members as “ungodly.”7

Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 175.  


However, at a meeting in November 1832, as a later history of JS explains, “Brother Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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, and John P. Greene

3 Sept. 1793–10 Sept. 1844. Farmer, shoemaker, printer, publisher. Born at Herkimer, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of John Coddington Greene and Anna Chapman. Married first Rhoda Young, 11 Feb. 1813. Moved to Aurelius, Cayuga Co., New York, 1814; to Brownsville...

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spoke in Tongues, which was the first time I had heard this Gift among the brethren, others also spoke, and I received the Gift myself.”8

JS History, vol. A-1, addenda, 2nA; see also Historian’s Office, Brigham Young History Drafts, 4; and Esplin, “Emergence of Brigham Young,” 92–94.  


Just two months later, the gift resurfaced in this 22–23 January 1833 meeting. According to the later history, JS “rejoiced . . . at the return of these long absent blessings to the assembly of the Saints.”9

JS History, vol. A-1, 270.  


On the second day of the conference, after another episode of speaking in tongues, JS washed the hands, faces, and feet of those present, following the biblical precedent found in John 13:4–17. Such a ceremony was not unknown at the time. The practice came to colonial America with radical Reformation groups, such as Mennonites and the Church of the Brethren, in the 1600s and 1700s. Once in America, other groups, including some Baptists, adopted the practice, viewing the ritual as an act of humility.10

“Footwashing,” in Mennonite Encyclopedia, 347; Grow, “‘Clean from the Blood of This Generation,’” 132.  


Reformed Baptists following Alexander Campbell

12 Sept. 1788–4 Mar. 1866. Teacher, minister, magazine publisher, college president. Born near Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Ireland. Son of Thomas Campbell and Jane Corneigle. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland, 1808. Immigrated to Buffalo ...

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also may have instituted something similar in meetings held in the vicinity of 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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in the late 1820s.11

Reuben Harmon, a longtime resident of Kirtland, stated in 1884 that he had witnessed “the washing of feet” when “Mr. [Sidney] Rigdon was preaching in Mentor.” It is unclear from the statement whether the ceremony occurred in Rigdon’s Mentor church, or whether it happened in a reformed Baptist congregation on Isaac Morley’s farm in Kirtland. (Kelley and Braden, Public Discussion of the Issues, 393.)  


In 1832, as part of his Bible revision, JS revised the John 13 account of Jesus washing the apostles’ feet to state that the ceremony “was the costom of the Jews under their law: wherefore, Jesus done this that the law might be fulfilled.”12

New Testament Revision 2, part 2, p. 117 [Joseph Smith Translation, John 13:10]; see also Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 69.  


Samuel Smith

13 Mar. 1808–30 July 1844. Farmer, logger, scribe, builder, tavern operator. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, by Mar. 1810; to Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, 1811...

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, who was present at the January 1833 conference, explained that the ceremony served as “a testimony” that the “garments” of those so washed “were clean from the blood of this generation.”13

Samuel Smith, Diary, 10 Dec. 1832.  


According to Zebedee Coltrin

7 Sept. 1804–21 July 1887. Born at Ovid, Seneca Co., New York. Son of John Coltrin and Sarah Graham. Member of Methodist church. Married first Julia Ann Jennings, Oct. 1828. Baptized into LDS church by Solomon Hancock, 9 Jan. 1831, at Strongsville, Cuyahoga...

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, another conference participant, the washing of the feet was the defining ceremony in the establishment of the School of the Prophets. “The school was organized,” he recorded in his journal, “by assembling together and the washing of the deciples feet.”14

Coltrin, Diary and Notebook, 24 Jan. 1833.  


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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acted as clerk of the conference and recorded minutes of the meeting. He 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...

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later copied the minutes into Minute Book 1.

Facts