31838

Minutes, 25–26 October 1831

Minutes of 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...

View Glossary
held at the dwelling of br. Serenes Burnett in the Town of 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...

More Info
, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, October 25, 1831.
Names of those ordained to the Highpriesthood

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
Joseph Smith jr.1

Of the twelve individuals listed here, ten were ordained to the high priesthood at the June 1831 conference. Oliver Cowdery was ordained on 28 August 1831, immediately following his return from Missouri. There is no extant record of John Smith’s ordination. (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; see also Minutes, 4 Aug. 1831.)  


Joseph Brackenbury

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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(Died.)
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...

View Full Bio
William 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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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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Major N. Ashley (cut off.)
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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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
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
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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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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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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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
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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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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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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Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, 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 first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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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
Joseph Smith sen.

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
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
Wheeler Baldwin

7 Mar. 1793–11 May 1887. Farmer, cobbler, clergyman. Born in New York. Married first Mary Porter, 12 Jan. 1812, in Schoharie, Schoharie Co., New York. Served in War of 1812. Lived in Broome, Schoharie Co., New York, 1820. Moved to Strongsville, Cuyahoga Co...

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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...

View Full Bio
John Smith (license

A document certifying an individual’s office in the church and authorizing him “to perform the duty of his calling.” The “Articles and Covenants” of the church implied that only elders could issue licenses; individuals ordained by a priest to an office in...

View Glossary
taken)
Edward Johnson (denied the faith)
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
Benjamine Carpenter (not felloshiped
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...

View Full Bio
Ruggles Eames
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...

View Full Bio
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...

View Glossary
Silvester Sylvester 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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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
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
Uziel Stephens
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
(cut off)
Hiram Griffith
Silvester Parker, (left the church)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...

View Glossary
2

The “Articles and Covenants” mention “deacon” as an office in the church, but no extant record documents a deacon’s presence at a meeting prior to this conference. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:57–58].)  


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, ...

View Full Bio
Titus Billings

24 Mar. 1793–6 Feb. 1866. Stonemason, carpenter, musician. Born in Greenfield, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Ebenezer Billings and Esther Joyce. Moved to Mentor, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1817. Married Diantha Morley, 16 Feb. 1817, in Geauga Co. Moved to...

View Full Bio
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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Serenes Burnett and John Burk

4 Feb. 1793–8 June 1853. Innkeeper, farmer. Born in Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Charles Burke and Esther Robinson Bohannon. Married first Abigail Fellows, 13 Mar. 1821, in Fairfield. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1823. Baptized into...

View Full Bio
Prayer by br 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
, Glorious things, were then sung3

Probably the traditional hymn “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken.” The conference held in Missouri on 4 August 1831 also opened by singing this hymn.  


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...

View Full Bio
arose & said that he wished to make a few observations connected with the object of our assembling our selves together, When God works all may know it, for he always answers the prayers of the Savior for he makes his children one,4

See John 17:20–23.  


for he by his Holy Spirit binds their hearts from Earth to Heaven; And in this thing God had taught his children to sing a new song even about Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

View Glossary
which David Spoke of, &c,5

Psalm 149:1–2 describes Israel and Zion singing a new song and rejoicing in God. Several other psalms refer either to singing a new song or to Zion. (See, for example, Psalms 40:3; 137:3; 146:10.)  


God always bears testimony by his presence in counsil to his Elders when they assemble in perfect faith and humble themselves before the Lord and their wills being swallowed up in the will of God [p. 10]
Minutes of 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...

View Glossary
held at the dwelling  of br. Serenes Burnet[t] in the Town of 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...

More Info
, Cuyahoga  County, Ohio, October 25, 1831.
Names of those ordained to the Highpriesthood

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
Joseph Smith jr.1

Of the twelve individuals listed here, ten were ordained to the high priesthood at the June 1831 conference. Oliver Cowdery was ordained on 28 August 1831, immediately following his return from Missouri. There is no extant record of John Smith’s ordination. (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; see also Minutes, 4 Aug. 1831.)  


Joseph Brackenbury

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...

View Full Bio
(Died.)
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...

View Full Bio
William 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
John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

View Full Bio
Major N. Ashley (cut off.)
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
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
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
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
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
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...

View Full Bio
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
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
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.,...

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
Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, 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 first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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
Joseph Smith sen.

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
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
Wheeler Baldwin

7 Mar. 1793–11 May 1887. Farmer, cobbler, clergyman. Born in New York. Married first Mary Porter, 12 Jan. 1812, in Schoharie, Schoharie Co., New York. Served in War of 1812. Lived in Broome, Schoharie Co., New York, 1820. Moved to Strongsville, Cuyahoga Co...

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
John Smith (license

A document certifying an individual’s office in the church and authorizing him “to perform the duty of his calling.” The “Articles and Covenants” of the church implied that only elders could issue licenses; individuals ordained by a priest to an office in...

View Glossary
taken)
Edward Johnson (denied the faith)
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
Benjamine Carpenter (not felloshiped
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...

View Full Bio
Ruggles Eames
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...

View Full Bio
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...

View Glossary
Silvester [Sylvester] 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
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
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
Uziel Stephens
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
(cut off)
Hiram Griffith
Silvester Parker, (left the church)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...

View Glossary
2

The “Articles and Covenants” mention “deacon” as an office in the church, but no extant record documents a deacon’s presence at a meeting prior to this conference. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:57–58].)  


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, ...

View Full Bio
Titus Billings

24 Mar. 1793–6 Feb. 1866. Stonemason, carpenter, musician. Born in Greenfield, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Ebenezer Billings and Esther Joyce. Moved to Mentor, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1817. Married Diantha Morley, 16 Feb. 1817, in Geauga Co. Moved to...

View Full Bio
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...

View Full Bio
Serenes Burnett and John Burk

4 Feb. 1793–8 June 1853. Innkeeper, farmer. Born in Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Charles Burke and Esther Robinson Bohannon. Married first Abigail Fellows, 13 Mar. 1821, in Fairfield. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1823. Baptized into...

View Full Bio
Prayer by br 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
, Glorious things, were then sung3

Probably the traditional hymn “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken.” The conference held in Missouri on 4 August 1831 also opened by singing this hymn.  


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...

View Full Bio
arose & said that he wished to make a few observations connected  with the object of our assembling our selves together, When God works  all may know it, for he always answers the prayers of the Savior for  he makes his children one,4

See John 17:20–23.  


for he by his Holy Spirit binds their  hearts from Earth to Heaven; And in this thing God had taught  his children to sing a new song even about Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

View Glossary
which David  Spoke of, &c,5

Psalm 149:1–2 describes Israel and Zion singing a new song and rejoicing in God. Several other psalms refer either to singing a new song or to Zion. (See, for example, Psalms 40:3; 137:3; 146:10.)  


God always bears testimony by his presence in counsil  to his Elders when they assemble themselves in perfect faith and humble  themselves before the Lord and their wills being swallowed up in the  will of God [p. 10]
Next
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...

View Glossary
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...

More Info
, 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