2476694

Minutes, 30 April 1832

Secondly: Ordered by the Council

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

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that the printing of an Alminack4

Extremely popular in the United States, almanacs were—alongside the Bible—the major source of reading material for many Americans in the late 1700s and early 1800s. There is no record that the church printed an almanac at this time. (Stowell, Early American Almanacs, vii–viii.)  


for Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

More Info
this season be left at the option of brs. William

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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Oliver

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
& John

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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.
Thirdly: Ordered by the Council that all Revelations be limited to the parties concerned until printed.5

“The parties concerned” likely refers to the specific individuals to whom revelations were addressed, and church leaders evidently adhered to this resolution. Revelations began to be printed in the church periodical The Evening and the Morning Star just over a month after this conference, but revelations that were directed to a single, specific person were not printed therein. Many were, however, printed in the Book of Commandments, which is the printing referenced in these minutes.a Several earlier revelations commanded that the documents not be shared publicly. For example, an 1829 revelation declared, “Show not these things, neither speak these things unto the world.”b Church leaders were likely concerned about the proliferation or publication of unauthorized versions of the revelations in advance of an authorized church version—a concern amplified by the events of fall 1831, when the Painesville Telegraph published one of JS’s revelations and when Ezra Booth’s letters appeared in the Ohio Star.c In these letters, Booth, who was a member of the church for only a few months before renouncing his membership in September 1831, used his knowledge of the revelatory process and the content of the “commandments” to attempt to discredit JS and the church.  


aSee, for example, Revelation, Apr. 1829–A, in Book of Commandments 5 [D&C 6]; Revelation, Apr. 1829–B, in Book of Commandments 7 [D&C 8]; Revelation, May 1829–A, in Book of Commandments 10 [D&C 11:1–6]; Revelation, May 1829–B, in Book of Commandments 11 [D&C 12].

bRevelation, ca. Summer 1829 [D&C 19:21].

c“The Mormon Creed,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 19 Apr. 1831, [4]; Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. III,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 27 Oct. 1831, [3].

Fourthly: Ordered by the Council that brs. William

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

View Full Bio
, Oliver

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
& John

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
be appointed to review the Book of Commandmants & select for printing such as shall be deemed by them proper, as dictated by the spirit & make all necessary verbal corrections6

An 8 November 1831 conference authorized JS to “correct those errors or mistakes” that he found in the revelations “by the holy Spirit.” This may have included reviewing and revising them according to his developing understanding of church doctrine and ecclesiology. Decades later William E. McLellin remembered that around November 1831, JS, Cowdery, and Rigdon spent hours revising the revelations. A 1 December 1832 entry in JS’s journal also states that he “wrote and corrected revelations” that day. McLellin wrote that the April 1832 assignment to Cowdery, Phelps, and Whitmer was to “better the language” of the revelations. (Minutes, 8 Nov. 1831; JS, Journal, 1 Dec. 1832; William E. McLellin, “From a Letter Dated Dec. 14th, 1878,” in John L. Traughber Papers, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.)  


Fifthly Ordered by the Council that the Hymns selected by sister Emma

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

View Full Bio
7

An 1830 revelation commanded Emma Smith to “make a selection of Sacred Hymns as it shall be given thee.” A later JS history recounts that the Literary Firm charged Phelps to both “correct and print the Hymns which had been selected by Emma Smith.” In June 1832, Phelps began publishing hymns in The Evening and the Morning Star, stating that they were “selected and prepared for the Church of Christ, in these last days.” (Revelation, July 1830–C [D&C 25:11]; JS History, vol. A-1, 214; “Hymns,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832, [8].)  


be corrected by br. William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

View Full Bio
Closed
Prayer by 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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Oliver Cowdrey

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
Clerk. [p. 26]
Secondly: Ordered by the Council

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

View Glossary
that the printing of an Alminack4

Extremely popular in the United States, almanacs were—alongside the Bible—the major source of reading material for many Americans in the late 1700s and early 1800s. There is no record that the church printed an almanac at this time. (Stowell, Early American Almanacs, vii–viii.)  


 for Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

More Info
this season be left at the option of brs. William

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

View Full Bio
Oliver

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
& John

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
.
Thirdly: Ordered by the Council that all Revelations be limited to the parties  concerned until printed.5

“The parties concerned” likely refers to the specific individuals to whom revelations were addressed, and church leaders evidently adhered to this resolution. Revelations began to be printed in the church periodical The Evening and the Morning Star just over a month after this conference, but revelations that were directed to a single, specific person were not printed therein. Many were, however, printed in the Book of Commandments, which is the printing referenced in these minutes.a Several earlier revelations commanded that the documents not be shared publicly. For example, an 1829 revelation declared, “Show not these things, neither speak these things unto the world.”b Church leaders were likely concerned about the proliferation or publication of unauthorized versions of the revelations in advance of an authorized church version—a concern amplified by the events of fall 1831, when the Painesville Telegraph published one of JS’s revelations and when Ezra Booth’s letters appeared in the Ohio Star.c In these letters, Booth, who was a member of the church for only a few months before renouncing his membership in September 1831, used his knowledge of the revelatory process and the content of the “commandments” to attempt to discredit JS and the church.  


aSee, for example, Revelation, Apr. 1829–A, in Book of Commandments 5 [D&C 6]; Revelation, Apr. 1829–B, in Book of Commandments 7 [D&C 8]; Revelation, May 1829–A, in Book of Commandments 10 [D&C 11:1–6]; Revelation, May 1829–B, in Book of Commandments 11 [D&C 12].

bRevelation, ca. Summer 1829 [D&C 19:21].

c“The Mormon Creed,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 19 Apr. 1831, [4]; Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. III,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 27 Oct. 1831, [3].

Fourthly: Ordered by the Council that brs. William

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

View Full Bio
, Oliver

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
& John

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
be  appointed to review the Book of Commandmants & select for printing such  as shall be deemed by them proper, as dictated by the spirit & make all necessary  verbal corrections6

An 8 November 1831 conference authorized JS to “correct those errors or mistakes” that he found in the revelations “by the holy Spirit.” This may have included reviewing and revising them according to his developing understanding of church doctrine and ecclesiology. Decades later William E. McLellin remembered that around November 1831, JS, Cowdery, and Rigdon spent hours revising the revelations. A 1 December 1832 entry in JS’s journal also states that he “wrote and corrected revelations” that day. McLellin wrote that the April 1832 assignment to Cowdery, Phelps, and Whitmer was to “better the language” of the revelations. (Minutes, 8 Nov. 1831; JS, Journal, 1 Dec. 1832; William E. McLellin, “From a Letter Dated Dec. 14th, 1878,” in John L. Traughber Papers, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.)  


Fifthly Ordered by the Council that the Hymns selected by sister Emma

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

View Full Bio
7

An 1830 revelation commanded Emma Smith to “make a selection of Sacred Hymns as it shall be given thee.” A later JS history recounts that the Literary Firm charged Phelps to both “correct and print the Hymns which had been selected by Emma Smith.” In June 1832, Phelps began publishing hymns in The Evening and the Morning Star, stating that they were “selected and prepared for the Church of Christ, in these last days.” (Revelation, July 1830–C [D&C 25:11]; JS History, vol. A-1, 214; “Hymns,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832, [8].)  


 be corrected by br. William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

View Full Bio
Closed
Prayer by 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
Oliver Cowdrey

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
Clerk. [p. 26]
Previous
On 30 April 1832, JS and others who were designated as “stewards

One who managed property and goods under the law of consecration; also someone given a specific ecclesiastical responsibility. According to the “Laws of the Church of Christ,” members of the church were to make donations to the bishop, who would record the...

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over the revelations”1

Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70:3].  


gathered in Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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, Jackson County, Missouri, for the first recorded meeting of the Literary Firm

The branch of the United Firm responsible for church publications. In November 1831, a revelation appointed JS, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Sidney Rigdon, and William W. Phelps as “stewards over the revelations & commandments.” In March 1832...

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. The roots of this new firm reached back to late 1831 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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. At a series of conferences

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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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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, Ohio, in November 1831, church leaders decided to publish JS’s revelations in a compilation titled the Book of Commandments and to have ten thousand copies of the book printed. They instructed 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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and 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
to take manuscript copies of the revelations to Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, where William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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was establishing the church’s printing works.2 On 12 November 1831, a revelation instructed JS, Cowdery, Whitmer, Phelps, 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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, 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...

View Full Bio
to be “stewards over the revelations & commandments

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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” and “to manage them & the concerns thereof.”3

Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70]. At a conference held the same day, JS, Cowdery, Whitmer, and Rigdon were appointed to manage the revelations. (Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831.)  


After JS and other Ohio leaders traveled to Missouri, a 26 April 1832 revelation instructed three groups of individuals to join themselves together in the management of these “stewartships.” The three groups included those responsible for publishing the church’s revelations; those responsible for maintaining the church stores in Independence and 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; and the two bishops

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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in charge of the church’s temporal affairs.4
After spending 28–29 April visiting church members in Kaw Township

Settlement by whites commenced after treaty with Osage Indians, 1825. One of three original townships organized in Jackson Co., 22 May 1827. Bordered by Missouri River on north side and Big Blue River on east and south sides; western boundary was state line...

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, Missouri,5

JS History, vol. A-1, 213.  


JS returned to Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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, and on 30 April6

The minutes of the Literary Firm meeting bear a 30 April date. A later JS history recounts, however, that the meeting was held 1 May. A United Firm meeting that followed the meeting of the Literary Firm may have been held on 1 May, and in his history JS may have confused the date of the United Firm meeting with the date of the Literary Firm meeting. (JS History, vol. A-1, 214.)  


he presided over the first known meeting of the Literary Firm.7

The minutes of 30 April 1832 are the first known instance in which the appointed stewards were referred to as the Literary Firm. Since Whitmer and Cowdery left for Independence soon after the November 1831 conferences ended, and since this April trip was the first time JS and Rigdon traveled to Missouri after those conferences, the firm likely did not meet before this meeting.  


The firm apparently had a broader scope than just supervising the production of the Book of Commandments; the minutes also discuss the possible publication of an almanac and the preparation of a hymnal. As clerk of the meeting, 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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recorded the minutes. In 1838, 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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copied the minutes into Minute Book 2.

Facts