2478591

Minutes, 22–23 January 1833

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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January 22d 1833
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...

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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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convened in the coucel council room1

Brigham Young, who did not attend this conference, later explained that the room where the school of the prophets met was “a small room over Joseph Smith’s kitchen” in Newel K. Whitney’s white store. The room was approximately eleven feet by fourteen feet. In this room, Young declared, “the prophet received revelations” and “instructed his brethren.” (Brigham Young, Discourse, 8 Feb. 1868, in George D. Watt, Discourse Shorthand Notes, 8 Feb. 1868, George D. Watt, Papers, as transcribed by LaJean Purcell Carruth, copy in editors’ possession; Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 8 Feb. 1868, 12:158.)  


high priests present Joseph Smith Jun 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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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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cheif scribe and high counceler 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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assistant scribe and counceler2

This designation of Rigdon as “cheif scribe and high counceler” and Williams as “assistant scribe and counceler” may have reflected a hierarchy in their counselorship and scribal positions. When JS called Rigdon and Jesse Gause (whom Williams replaced) as counselors, he referred to them only as “my councillers” without any hierarchical designation. JS may have instituted a graduated structure after calling Williams to replace Gause as counselor. Williams apparently accepted this designation, because he referred to himself as “assistent scribe and counceller” in revelations he copied into Revelation Book 2 around this same time. (Note, 8 Mar. 1832; Revelation, 6 Dec. 1832 [D&C 86]; Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:1–126].)  


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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Bishop

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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Hiram Hyrum Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

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Bishops counceler

A governing body comprising a bishop and his counselors. The bishop’s council was charged with overseeing the temporal affairs of the church, administering goods under the law of consecration, and assisting the poor. The bishop’s council had authority to ...

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[p. 6]

Frederick G. Williams handwriting begins.  


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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January 2th 22d

Frederick G. Williams handwriting ends; Sidney Rigdon begins.  


1833
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 pr[i]ests

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...

View Glossary
convened at <in> the coucel [council]  room1

Brigham Young, who did not attend this conference, later explained that the room where the school of the prophets met was “a small room over Joseph Smith’s kitchen” in Newel K. Whitney’s white store. The room was approximately eleven feet by fourteen feet. In this room, Young declared, “the prophet received revelations” and “instructed his brethren.” (Brigham Young, Discourse, 8 Feb. 1868, in George D. Watt, Discourse Shorthand Notes, 8 Feb. 1868, George D. Watt, Papers, as transcribed by LaJean Purcell Carruth, copy in editors’ possession; Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 8 Feb. 1868, 12:158.)  


high pr[i]ests p[r]esent Joseph Smith Jun 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
 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
cheif scribe and high counceler 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...

View Full Bio
assistant scribe and counceler2

This designation of Rigdon as “cheif scribe and high counceler” and Williams as “assistant scribe and counceler” may have reflected a hierarchy in their counselorship and scribal positions. When JS called Rigdon and Jesse Gause (whom Williams replaced) as counselors, he referred to them only as “my councillers” without any hierarchical designation. JS may have instituted a graduated structure after calling Williams to replace Gause as counselor. Williams apparently accepted this designation, because he referred to himself as “assistent scribe and counceller” in revelations he copied into Revelation Book 2 around this same time. (Note, 8 Mar. 1832; Revelation, 6 Dec. 1832 [D&C 86]; Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:1–126].)  


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...

View Full Bio
Bishop

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...

View Glossary
Hiram [Hyrum] Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

View Full Bio
Bishops counceler

A governing body comprising a bishop and his counselors. The bishop’s council was charged with overseeing the temporal affairs of the church, administering goods under the law of consecration, and assisting the poor. The bishop’s council had authority to ...

View Glossary
[p. 6]
Next
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...

View Glossary
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...

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, 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