31838

Minutes, 25–26 October 1831

Adjournment moved for by the moderator until evening.
The Clerk

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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begged the privilege of laying before the 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
in the evening the necessity of sending certain 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
to visit the Churches

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
and obtain means for the support of br. Joseph Smith jr. & those appointed to assist him in writing & copying the fulness of the Scriptures, as was concluded upon in a conference held 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...

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, Oct. 11. 1831. Conference adjourned, Prayer by br. Wm. E Mc.lellin

18 Jan. 1806–14 Mar. 1883. Schoolteacher, physician, publisher. Born at Smith Co., Tennessee. Son of Charles McLellin and Sarah (a Cherokee Indian). Married first Cynthia Ann, 30 July 1829. Wife died, by summer 1831. Baptized into LDS church by Hyrum Smith...

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.
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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Clerk of Conference.
Conference commenced according to adjournment opened by singing, prayer by br. 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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, singing again.
Brs. 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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Simeon Carter

7 June 1794–3 Feb. 1869. Farmer. Born at Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Carter and Johanna Sims. Moved to Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1810. Married Lydia Kenyon, 2 Dec. 1818, at Benson. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, by ...

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, Emer Harris

29 May 1781–28 Nov. 1869. Carpenter, scribe, sawmill operator, blacksmith. Born at Cambridge, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s Landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married...

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& 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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were appointed & 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...

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, agreeably to a motion of the Clerk

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 visit the churches agreeably to the Conference of Oct. 11. 1831.25

As clerk of the conference, Cowdery apparently issued letters of recommendation to those appointed to travel to the different churches. According to Harris’s letter, those so appointed were “to go two by two to visit the churches, set them in order, explain the mysteries of the Kingdom unto them, and also obtain whatever they should feel free to give for the support of the families of Bro. Joseph and his scribes, while they are employed in translating, writing and copying the fulness of the Sacred Scriptures.” (Letter of Recommendation for Emer Harris, in Historian’s Office, Journal History of the Church, 26 Oct. 1831.)  


Br. 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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said it was the privilege of those Elders present to be ordained to the High Priesthood

The authority and power held by certain officers in the church. The Book of Mormon referred to the high priesthood as God’s “holy order, which was after the order of his Son,” and indicated that Melchizedek, a biblical figure, was a high priest “after this...

View Glossary
, telling them that if they then should doubt God would withdraw his Spirit from them.
The following Elders were then called seated & ordained by the Clerk

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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, Viz: David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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Peter Whitmer jr.

27 Sept. 1809–22 Sept. 1836. Tailor. Born at Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Among six...

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Silvester Smith

25 Mar. 1806–22 Feb. 1880. Farmer, carpenter, lawyer, realtor. Born at Tyringham, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Chileab Smith and Nancy Marshall. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, ca. 1815. Married Elizabeth Frank, 27 Dec. 1827, likely in Chautauque...

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Luke Johnson

3 Nov. 1807–8 Dec. 1861. Farmer, teacher, doctor. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Lived at Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, when baptized into LDS church by JS, 10 May 1831. Ordained a priest by Christian Whitmer...

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Burr Riggs

17 Apr. 1811–1860. Botanist, physician. Born in Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Riggs and Susan Picher. Baptized into LDS church and ordained an elder, before 3 June 1831. Ordained a high priest, 25 Oct. 1831, in Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio...

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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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, Daniel Stanton

28 May 1795–26 Oct. 1872. Farmer, carpenter. Born in Manlius, Onondaga Co., New York. Son of Amos Stanton and Elizabeth Wyman. Moved to Pompey, Onondaga Co., by 1800. Married Clarinda Graves, 16 Mar. 1816. Moved to Mayfield, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, by 1820. Moved...

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Joseph Brockenbury

18 Jan. 1788–7 Jan. 1832. Born in Lincolnshire, England. Emigrated to U.S., before 1818. Married Elizabeth Davis Goldsmith, ca. 1818. Moved to Newton Township (later in New York City), Kings Co., New York, by Nov. 1820. Moved to New London Township, Huron...

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William E Mclellen

18 Jan. 1806–14 Mar. 1883. Schoolteacher, physician, publisher. Born at Smith Co., Tennessee. Son of Charles McLellin and Sarah (a Cherokee Indian). Married first Cynthia Ann, 30 July 1829. Wife died, by summer 1831. Baptized into LDS church by Hyrum Smith...

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, Major N Ashley, Stephen Burnett

15 Dec. 1813–14 Feb. 1885. Farmer, tavernkeeper, patent medicine salesman, nurseryman. Born in Trumbull Co., Ohio. Son of Serenus Burnett and Jane Burnes (Burnside). Moved to Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1815. Baptized into LDS church by John Murdock, 21 Nov. 1830...

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, Edmund Durfee

3 Oct. 1788–15 Nov. 1845. Farmer, miller. Born in Tiverton, Newport Co., Rhode Island. Son of Perry Durfee and Annie Salisbury. Moved with grandparents to Broadalbin, Montgomery Co., New York, 1801. Married Magdalena Pickle, ca. 1810. Moved to Lenox, Madison...

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Levi Jackman

28 July 1797–23 July 1876. Carpenter, wainwright. Born at Vershire, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Moses French Jackman and Elizabeth Carr. Moved to Batavia, Genesee Co., New York, 1810. Married first Angeline Myers Brady, 13 Nov. 1817, at Alexander, Genesee...

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, Emer Harris

29 May 1781–28 Nov. 1869. Carpenter, scribe, sawmill operator, blacksmith. Born at Cambridge, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s Landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married...

View Full Bio
, 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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,26

These fifteen individuals are listed in the same order here as in the elders’ roster at the beginning of the minutes. Only two men from that roster, Joel Johnson and Sylvester Parker, are not listed as having been ordained to the high priesthood on this occasion. Since the minutes say that “it was the privilege of those Elders present to be ordained to the High Priesthood,” Johnson and Parker may not have been in attendance at the evening’s reconvening of the conference. The minutes also explain, however, that several were “indifferen[t]” to being ordained, raising the possibility that Johnson and Parker may have declined to be ordained. McLellin recorded in his journal his thoughts about being “ordained to the High-Priesthood of the Holy order of God”: “Though I felt unworthy, I was ordained and took upon me the high responsibility of that office.” (McLellin, Journal, 25–26 Oct. 1831.)  


several brethren were then called by the Clerk

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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who were desirous to preach the gospel.
Br Joseph Smith Jr, was appointed to examine these brethren, presenting themselves for ordination,27

Nearly four decades later, McLellin recounted that JS “asked if we were willing to take upon us the office? I arose and said that I was willing to do anything that was the will of God, but I did not understand the duties of the office, and asked an explanation. Br. Joseph said we were to take upon us the office, and it would explain its duties.” (William E. McLellin, Independence, MO, to D. H. Bays, Lafayette, KS, 24 May 1870, Saints’ Herald, 15 Sept. 1870, 553.)  


after prayer said that he had a testimony that each had one tallent and if after being ordained they should hide it God would take it from them;28

See Matthew 25:14–30; and Revelation, 8 Aug. 1831 [D&C 60:2, 13].  


exhorted them to pray continually in meekness. Said that those who had been previously ordained Priests

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
would be ordained Elders, & the others would be ordained Priests; the clerk

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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then by appointment ordained br 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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and brs Calvin Stoddard

7 Sept. 1801–19 Nov. 1836. Farmer. Born at Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York. Son of Silas Stoddard and Bathsheba Sheffield. Lived at Ontario Co., 1810. Married Sophronia Smith, 30 Dec. 1827, at Palmyra. Resident of Macedon, Wayne Co., New York, June 1830. Proselytized...

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, Ezekiel Rider

1 Mar. 1787–8 Oct. 1843. Manufacturer, joiner. Born in Poultney, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of Mary. Moved to Sudbury, Rutland Co., by 16 Sept. 1798. Married Sarah (Sally) Hitchcock, 16 Feb. 1809, in Sharon, Schoharie Co., New York. Moved to Sharon, by Aug...

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, William Scobey, Uziel Stephens, 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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William Cahoon

7 Nov. 1813–6 Apr. 1893. Shoemaker, carpenter, joiner. Born at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Son of Reynolds Cahoon and Thirza Stiles. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, 16 Oct. 1830, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained a priest by Oliver...

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, Albert Jackman, Stephen Strong, Calves Willson, Lumon Luman Gibbs

14 Mar. 1788–11 Jan 1873. Basket maker. Born in Vermont. Married Philena, 1 Jan. 1810, at Ferrisburgh, Addison Co., Vermont. Served in War of 1812. Baptized into LDS church. Ordained a priest by Oliver Cowdery, 25 Oct. 1831. Tended horses of Latter-day Saint...

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, Eleazer Willis Michael B. Welton Gideon Carter

1798–25 Oct. 1838. Born at Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Carter and Johanna Sims. Moved to Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1810. Married first Hilah (Hilda) Burwell, 1822. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, 1831. Baptized into ...

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Priests.29

McLellin wrote in his journal that “a number of others present were ordained to the lesser Priest-Hood,” using “lesser Priest-Hood” to refer to the office of priest. (McLellin, Journal, 25–26 Oct. 1831.)  


Conference adjourned until 8 o’clock A.M. on 26th.
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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Ck. of Con.
Conference Convened according to adjournment opened by singing “go on ye pilgrims,”30

This hymn, also known as “A Crumb for the Pilgrims,” was written by Benjamin Cleaveland (1733–1811), a Baptist deacon. (Hicks, Mormonism and Music, 11; “Reviews of Recent Theological Literature,” 164.)  


prayer by br. David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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[p. 14]
Adjournment moved for by the moderator until evening.
The Clerk

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...

View Full Bio
begged the privilege of laying before the 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
in the  evening the necessity of sending certain 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
to visit the Churches

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
and obtain  means for the support of br. Joseph Smith jr. & those appointed to assist him in  writing & copying the fulness of the Scriptures, as was concluded upon in a conference  held 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...

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, Oct. 11. 1831. Conference adjourned, Prayer by br. Wm. E Mc.lellin

18 Jan. 1806–14 Mar. 1883. Schoolteacher, physician, publisher. Born at Smith Co., Tennessee. Son of Charles McLellin and Sarah (a Cherokee Indian). Married first Cynthia Ann, 30 July 1829. Wife died, by summer 1831. Baptized into LDS church by Hyrum Smith...

View Full Bio
.
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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Clerk of Conference.
Conference commenced according to adjournment opened by singing, prayer by  br. 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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, singing again.
Brs. 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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Simeon Carter

7 June 1794–3 Feb. 1869. Farmer. Born at Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Carter and Johanna Sims. Moved to Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1810. Married Lydia Kenyon, 2 Dec. 1818, at Benson. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, by ...

View Full Bio
, Emer Harris

29 May 1781–28 Nov. 1869. Carpenter, scribe, sawmill operator, blacksmith. Born at Cambridge, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s Landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married...

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& 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
were appointed &  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
, agreeably to a motion of the Clerk

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...

View Full Bio
, to visit the churches agreeably to the  Conference of Oct. 11. 1831.25

As clerk of the conference, Cowdery apparently issued letters of recommendation to those appointed to travel to the different churches. According to Harris’s letter, those so appointed were “to go two by two to visit the churches, set them in order, explain the mysteries of the Kingdom unto them, and also obtain whatever they should feel free to give for the support of the families of Bro. Joseph and his scribes, while they are employed in translating, writing and copying the fulness of the Sacred Scriptures.” (Letter of Recommendation for Emer Harris, in Historian’s Office, Journal History of the Church, 26 Oct. 1831.)  


Br. 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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said it was the privilege of those Elders present  to be ordained to the High Priesthood

The authority and power held by certain officers in the church. The Book of Mormon referred to the high priesthood as God’s “holy order, which was after the order of his Son,” and indicated that Melchizedek, a biblical figure, was a high priest “after this...

View Glossary
, telling them that if they then should doubt God  would withdraw his Spirit from them.
The following Elders were then called seated & ordained by the Clerk

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...

View Full Bio
, Viz:  David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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Peter Whitmer jr.

27 Sept. 1809–22 Sept. 1836. Tailor. Born at Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Among six...

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Silvester Smith

25 Mar. 1806–22 Feb. 1880. Farmer, carpenter, lawyer, realtor. Born at Tyringham, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Chileab Smith and Nancy Marshall. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, ca. 1815. Married Elizabeth Frank, 27 Dec. 1827, likely in Chautauque...

View Full Bio
Luke Johnson

3 Nov. 1807–8 Dec. 1861. Farmer, teacher, doctor. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Lived at Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, when baptized into LDS church by JS, 10 May 1831. Ordained a priest by Christian Whitmer...

View Full Bio
Burr  Riggs

17 Apr. 1811–1860. Botanist, physician. Born in Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Riggs and Susan Picher. Baptized into LDS church and ordained an elder, before 3 June 1831. Ordained a high priest, 25 Oct. 1831, in Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio...

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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, Daniel Stanton

28 May 1795–26 Oct. 1872. Farmer, carpenter. Born in Manlius, Onondaga Co., New York. Son of Amos Stanton and Elizabeth Wyman. Moved to Pompey, Onondaga Co., by 1800. Married Clarinda Graves, 16 Mar. 1816. Moved to Mayfield, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, by 1820. Moved...

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Joseph Brockenbury

18 Jan. 1788–7 Jan. 1832. Born in Lincolnshire, England. Emigrated to U.S., before 1818. Married Elizabeth Davis Goldsmith, ca. 1818. Moved to Newton Township (later in New York City), Kings Co., New York, by Nov. 1820. Moved to New London Township, Huron...

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William E  Mclellen

18 Jan. 1806–14 Mar. 1883. Schoolteacher, physician, publisher. Born at Smith Co., Tennessee. Son of Charles McLellin and Sarah (a Cherokee Indian). Married first Cynthia Ann, 30 July 1829. Wife died, by summer 1831. Baptized into LDS church by Hyrum Smith...

View Full Bio
, Major N Ashley, Stephen Burnett

15 Dec. 1813–14 Feb. 1885. Farmer, tavernkeeper, patent medicine salesman, nurseryman. Born in Trumbull Co., Ohio. Son of Serenus Burnett and Jane Burnes (Burnside). Moved to Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1815. Baptized into LDS church by John Murdock, 21 Nov. 1830...

View Full Bio
, Edmund Durfee

3 Oct. 1788–15 Nov. 1845. Farmer, miller. Born in Tiverton, Newport Co., Rhode Island. Son of Perry Durfee and Annie Salisbury. Moved with grandparents to Broadalbin, Montgomery Co., New York, 1801. Married Magdalena Pickle, ca. 1810. Moved to Lenox, Madison...

View Full Bio
 Levi Jackman

28 July 1797–23 July 1876. Carpenter, wainwright. Born at Vershire, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Moses French Jackman and Elizabeth Carr. Moved to Batavia, Genesee Co., New York, 1810. Married first Angeline Myers Brady, 13 Nov. 1817, at Alexander, Genesee...

View Full Bio
, Emer Harris

29 May 1781–28 Nov. 1869. Carpenter, scribe, sawmill operator, blacksmith. Born at Cambridge, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s Landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married...

View Full Bio
, 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
,26

These fifteen individuals are listed in the same order here as in the elders’ roster at the beginning of the minutes. Only two men from that roster, Joel Johnson and Sylvester Parker, are not listed as having been ordained to the high priesthood on this occasion. Since the minutes say that “it was the privilege of those Elders present to be ordained to the High Priesthood,” Johnson and Parker may not have been in attendance at the evening’s reconvening of the conference. The minutes also explain, however, that several were “indifferen[t]” to being ordained, raising the possibility that Johnson and Parker may have declined to be ordained. McLellin recorded in his journal his thoughts about being “ordained to the High-Priesthood of the Holy order of God”: “Though I felt unworthy, I was ordained and took upon me the high responsibility of that office.” (McLellin, Journal, 25–26 Oct. 1831.)  


several brethren were  then called by the Clerk

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...

View Full Bio
who were desirous to preach the gospel.
Br Joseph Smith Jr, was appointed to examine these brethren, presenting them selves for ordination,27

Nearly four decades later, McLellin recounted that JS “asked if we were willing to take upon us the office? I arose and said that I was willing to do anything that was the will of God, but I did not understand the duties of the office, and asked an explanation. Br. Joseph said we were to take upon us the office, and it would explain its duties.” (William E. McLellin, Independence, MO, to D. H. Bays, Lafayette, KS, 24 May 1870, Saints’ Herald, 15 Sept. 1870, 553.)  


after prayer said that he had a testimony that each had one  tallent and if after being ordained they should hide it God would take it  from them;28

See Matthew 25:14–30; and Revelation, 8 Aug. 1831 [D&C 60:2, 13].  


exhorted them to pray continually in meekness. Said that those who had  been previously ordained Priests

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...

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would be ordained Elders, & the others would be  ordained Priests; the clerk

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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then by appointment ordained br 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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and  brs Calvin Stod[d]ard

7 Sept. 1801–19 Nov. 1836. Farmer. Born at Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York. Son of Silas Stoddard and Bathsheba Sheffield. Lived at Ontario Co., 1810. Married Sophronia Smith, 30 Dec. 1827, at Palmyra. Resident of Macedon, Wayne Co., New York, June 1830. Proselytized...

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, Ezekiel Rider

1 Mar. 1787–8 Oct. 1843. Manufacturer, joiner. Born in Poultney, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of Mary. Moved to Sudbury, Rutland Co., by 16 Sept. 1798. Married Sarah (Sally) Hitchcock, 16 Feb. 1809, in Sharon, Schoharie Co., New York. Moved to Sharon, by Aug...

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, William Scobey, Uziel Stephens, 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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 William Cahoon

7 Nov. 1813–6 Apr. 1893. Shoemaker, carpenter, joiner. Born at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Son of Reynolds Cahoon and Thirza Stiles. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, 16 Oct. 1830, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained a priest by Oliver...

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, Albert Jackman, Stephen Strong, Calves Willson, Lumon [Luman]  Gibbs

14 Mar. 1788–11 Jan 1873. Basket maker. Born in Vermont. Married Philena, 1 Jan. 1810, at Ferrisburgh, Addison Co., Vermont. Served in War of 1812. Baptized into LDS church. Ordained a priest by Oliver Cowdery, 25 Oct. 1831. Tended horses of Latter-day Saint...

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, Eleazer Willis Michael B. Welton Gideon Carter

1798–25 Oct. 1838. Born at Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Carter and Johanna Sims. Moved to Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1810. Married first Hilah (Hilda) Burwell, 1822. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, 1831. Baptized into ...

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Priests.29

McLellin wrote in his journal that “a number of others present were ordained to the lesser Priest-Hood,” using “lesser Priest-Hood” to refer to the office of priest. (McLellin, Journal, 25–26 Oct. 1831.)  


Conference adjourned until 8 o’clock A.M. on 26th.
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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Ck. of Con.
Conference Convened according to adjournment opened by singing “go on ye pilgrims,”30

This hymn, also known as “A Crumb for the Pilgrims,” was written by Benjamin Cleaveland (1733–1811), a Baptist deacon. (Hicks, Mormonism and Music, 11; “Reviews of Recent Theological Literature,” 164.)  


 prayer by br. David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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[p. 14]
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On 25–26 October 1831, the church held a general 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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in Serenus Burnett’s house in Orange

Located about five miles south of Kirtland Township. Area settled, 1815. Organized 1820. Population in 1830 about 300. Population in 1838 about 800. Sixty-five Latter-day Saints lived in township, by Nov. 1830. Joseph and Julia Murdock, twins adopted by JS...

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, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The participants included twelve men who had previously been 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...

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to the high priesthood

The authority and power held by certain officers in the church. The Book of Mormon referred to the high priesthood as God’s “holy order, which was after the order of his Son,” and indicated that Melchizedek, a biblical figure, was a high priest “after this...

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, seventeen 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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, four priests

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...

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, three teachers

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...

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, four deacons

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The “Articles and Covenants” directed deacons to assist teachers in their duties. Deacons were also to “warn, expound, exhort, and teach and invite all to come unto Christ.” Although deacons did not have the authority...

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, and according to a later JS history, “a large congregation” of additional members of the church.1

JS History, vol. A-1, 156. Although the minutes list four priests in attendance, John Whitmer wrote that five priests were present. (Whitmer, History, 38.)  


The business of the conference included ordinations to various offices, preaching by some of the participants, and the sharing of testimonies of the Book of Mormon.2

McLellin, Journal, 25–26 Oct. 1831; Whitmer, History, 38; “History of Luke Johnson,” 3, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL. Luke Johnson’s history states that the eleven witnesses to the Book of Mormon, “with uplifted hands, bore their solemn testimony to the truth of that book; as did also the Prophet Joseph.” Although the conference clearly included testimonies of the Book of Mormon, and although many of the eleven witnesses who attested to the existence of the gold plates were present, the minutes of the conference do not reflect the particular event Johnson describes. Of the eleven, neither Christian Whitmer, who held the office of elder, nor Hiram Page, who held the office of teacher, was present at the commencement of the conference when the names of attending priesthood officers were recorded. There is no indication that Jacob Whitmer, another of the eleven witnesses, attended. (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; Minutes, 6 Sept. 1831.)  


JS himself declined during the meeting to give details of “the coming forth” of the Book of Mormon. The conference also provided new converts a chance to meet JS and other prominent elders. William E. McLellin

18 Jan. 1806–14 Mar. 1883. Schoolteacher, physician, publisher. Born at Smith Co., Tennessee. Son of Charles McLellin and Sarah (a Cherokee Indian). Married first Cynthia Ann, 30 July 1829. Wife died, by summer 1831. Baptized into LDS church by Hyrum Smith...

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, for example, wrote in his journal that he “first saw brother Joseph the Seer, also brothers 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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, 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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& 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 a great many other Elders” at the conference.3

McLellin, Journal, 25–26 Oct. 1831. Joel Johnson also recounted that he first saw JS at the conference. (Johnson, Autobiography, 2.)  


Many of those present publicly declared their commitment to the church and to God, which, according to McLellin, provided “much spiritual edification & comfort.”4

McLellin, Journal, 25–26 Oct. 1831.  


Joel Johnson

23 Mar. 1802–24 Sept. 1882. Miller, farmer, merchant. Born at Grafton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Ezekiel Johnson and Julia Hills. Moved to Newport, Campbell Co., Kentucky, 1813. Moved to Pomfret, Chautauque Co., New York, 1815. Baptized into Baptist...

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recounted that he “received much instruction and was highly edified and blessed of the Lord during the conference.”5

Johnson, Reminiscenses and Journals, vol. 1, p. 16.  


This was the first general conference since members of the church had been ordained to the high priesthood in June 1831,6 and it provided an opportunity for JS and 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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to offer instruction concerning the power of that priesthood. Minutes of the June 1831 meeting do not provide much information about what was said to those ordained to the high priesthood, making it difficult to assess how the ordination was understood at that time. But 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 ...

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, who was present at the June conference, later recalled a conversation he had in January 1832 with Lyman Wight

9 May 1796–31 Mar. 1858. Farmer. Born at Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Levi Wight Jr. and Sarah Corbin. Served in War of 1812. Married Harriet Benton, 5 Jan. 1823, at Henrietta, Monroe Co., New York. Moved to Warrensville, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ...

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, who ordained several individuals to the high priesthood at the June conference. Speaking about the priesthood, Hancock remarked that “neither of us understood what it was.” “I did not understand it,” wrote Hancock, “and he [Wight] could give me no light.”7

“Autobiography of Levi Ward Hancock,” ca. 1896, 43.  


Although no lengthy discussion on high priesthood is captured in the record, the 25–26 October minutes show that JS and 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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provided some instruction to conference attendees. According to the minutes, JS and Rigdon viewed those elders holding the high priesthood as having powers that other elders did not have. The minutes suggest that willingness to relinquish all to God may have been a requirement to obtain the high priesthood and its power “to seal up the Saints unto eternal life.” Accordingly, some participants in the 25–26 October conference made or renewed a covenant to consecrate all to God. Nearly all who did so had been previously ordained to the high priesthood or were ordained at the conference.
The conference also considered business discussed in prior meetings. At an 11 October gathering, for example, 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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had moved that six elders be appointed “to visit the several branches of this church setting them in order” and to raise money for JS and 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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so they could devote themselves to the Bible revision. Reynolds Cahoon

30 Apr. 1790–29 Apr. 1861. Farmer, tanner, builder. Born at Cambridge, Washington Co., New York. Son of William Cahoon Jr. and Mehitable Hodges. Married Thirza Stiles, 11 Dec. 1810. Moved to northeastern Ohio, 1811. Located at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co.,...

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and David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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had been assigned to these tasks,8

Cahoon, Diary, 9 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 11 Oct. 1831.  


and this 25–26 October conference appointed four others to assist. The conference provided instructions on proselytizing as well, perhaps as a result of a declaration in a 1 October conference that the elders were “to go forth and warn the inhabitants of the earth of the things known in the Church of Christ in these last days.”9 Several elements of the conference—including ordinations, discussions of how the needs of missionaries’ families would be met, and instruction on the high priesthood and consecration—seemed to foreshadow an increase in missionary labor. The conference was followed by a public preaching meeting, as the concluding minutes indicate.
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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served as clerk of the conference and took the minutes. Ebenezer Robinson

25 May 1816–11 Mar. 1891. Printer, editor, publisher. Born at Floyd (near Rome), Oneida Co., New York. Son of Nathan Robinson and Mary Brown. Moved to Utica, Oneida Co., ca. 1831, and learned printing trade at Utica Observer. Moved to Ravenna, Portage Co....

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entered these minutes into Minute Book 2 in 1838.10

The minutes include parenthetical redactions that were probably added after the creation of the original document. (See the source note for Minute Book 2.)  


Facts