31847

Minutes, 8 November 1831

Minutes of a special 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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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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, Portage Co. Ohio, Nov. 8. 1831.
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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Present.1

All of the eight elders listed here, except for Christian Whitmer, attended the 1–2 November 1831 conference. Three of the ten listed at the 1–2 November conference—Orson Hyde, David Whitmer, and Lyman Johnson—did not attend this meeting. David Whitmer and Lyman Johnson were apparently still in Hiram or the vicinity, because Johnson attended a conference held there the next day (9 November) and Whitmer attended one held there on 12 November. Hyde may have already left with Hyrum Smith to proselytize in Elyria and Florence, Ohio. (Minutes, 1–2 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 9 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831; “History of Orson Hyde,” 8, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL.)  


Joseph Smith jr.Christian Whitmer

18 Jan. 1798–27 Nov. 1835. Shoemaker. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Married Anna (Anne) Schott, 22 Feb. 1825, at Seneca Co., New York. Ensign in New York militia, 1825. Constable of Fayette, Seneca Co., 1828–1829. Member...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Br. Joseph Smith jr. appointed Moderator & 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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Clerk. Opened, prayer by br. Joseph Smith jr.
Remarks 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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on the errors or mistakes which are in 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 revelations, made either by the translation in consequence of the slow way of the scribe at the time of receiving or by the scribes themselves2

Cowdery, Rigdon, and John Whitmer worked as JS’s main scribes on his revision of the Bible, making it likely that they served as scribes for revelations as well. By September 1831, Rigdon was apparently sometimes referred to as “Sidney th[e] Scribe,” suggesting that he was JS’s chief scribe. (Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 63–71; Whitmer, History, 37.)  


Resolved by this conference that Br Joseph Smith Jr correct those errors or mistakes which he may discover by the holy Spirit while reviewing the revelations & commandments & also the fulness of the scriptures.3

That is, JS’s Bible revision.  


Resolved by this conference that br 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
shall all the writings which go forth to the world through the Printing press (except) the revelations and commandments) by the Spirit of the Lord and this according to the commandment given in Missourie

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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[p. 16]
Minutes of a special 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 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...

More Info
, Portage Co. Ohio, Nov. 8. 1831.
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
Present.1

All of the eight elders listed here, except for Christian Whitmer, attended the 1–2 November 1831 conference. Three of the ten listed at the 1–2 November conference—Orson Hyde, David Whitmer, and Lyman Johnson—did not attend this meeting. David Whitmer and Lyman Johnson were apparently still in Hiram or the vicinity, because Johnson attended a conference held there the next day (9 November) and Whitmer attended one held there on 12 November. Hyde may have already left with Hyrum Smith to proselytize in Elyria and Florence, Ohio. (Minutes, 1–2 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 9 Nov. 1831; Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831; “History of Orson Hyde,” 8, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL.)  


Joseph Smith jr.Christian Whitmer

18 Jan. 1798–27 Nov. 1835. Shoemaker. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Married Anna (Anne) Schott, 22 Feb. 1825, at Seneca Co., New York. Ensign in New York militia, 1825. Constable of Fayette, Seneca Co., 1828–1829. Member...

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...

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
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
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
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
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
Br. Joseph Smith jr. appointed Moderator & 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
Clerk. Opened, prayer  by br. Joseph Smith jr.
Remarks 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
on the errors or mistakes which are in command ments

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...

View Glossary
and revelations, made either by the scribe translation in consequence  of the slow way of the scribe at the time of receiving or by the scribes themselves2

Cowdery, Rigdon, and John Whitmer worked as JS’s main scribes on his revision of the Bible, making it likely that they served as scribes for revelations as well. By September 1831, Rigdon was apparently sometimes referred to as “Sidney th[e] Scribe,” suggesting that he was JS’s chief scribe. (Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 63–71; Whitmer, History, 37.)  


Resolved by this conference that Br Joseph Smith Jr correct those errors or  mistakes which he may discover by the holy Spirit while receiving the revelations  reviewing reviewing the revelations & commandments & also the fulness of the  scriptures.3

That is, JS’s Bible revision.  


Resolved by this conference that br 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
shall  all the writings which go forth to the world which go through the  Printing press (except) the revelations and commandments) by the Spirit  of the Lord and this according to the commandment given in Missourie

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...

More Info
[p. 16]
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On 8 November 1831, JS and seven 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
held a special 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 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...

More Info
, Ohio—probably in an upstairs room in John

14 Apr. 1779–30 July 1843. Farmer, innkeeper. Born at Chesterfield, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Johnson and Abigail Higgins. Married Alice (Elsa) Jacobs, 22 June 1800. Moved to Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont, ca. 1803. Settled at Hiram, Portage...

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and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs Johnson’s house—to discuss the planned publication of the Book of Commandments. The conference addressed the need to correct errors in some of the revelations before publication. A later JS history notes that the 1–2 November conference, which decided to print ten thousand copies of the Book of Commandments,1 also discussed “Revelations and language,” though the history does not provide the details of that conversation.2

JS History, vol. A-1, 161.  


However, JS dictated two revelations at that conference that touched on the subject of language. A revelation called the “preface” to the Book of Commandments declared that the “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...

View Glossary
. . . were given unto my Servents in their weakness after the manner of their Language.”3 Another revelation asserted that some of the elders knew the “imperfections” of JS’s language and “sought . . . knowlege that you might express beyond his language.”4
In discussions at the 8 November conference, 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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attributed whatever mistakes existed in the revelations to the tedious process of transcribing them and to scribal errors. 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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, who was present at this conference and who had served as the scribe for a JS revelation just ten days earlier, later described the process of recording at least some of the dictated revelations.5

See Revelation, 29 Oct. 1831 [D&C 66].  


“The scribe seats himself at a desk or table, with pen, ink and paper,” McLellin explained, while JS “enquires of God.” Receiving the words “spiritually,” McLellin continued, JS “speaks as he is moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” pausing “for his amanuenses to write and then read aloud each sentence.” By this process of dictation and recital, McLellin reported, the revelations were composed.6

[William E. McLellin], “Revelations,” Ensign of Liberty, Aug. 1849, 98–99.  


Although seemingly slow and careful, this process apparently still failed to prevent transcription errors from occurring, at least according to the minutes of this conference.
The conference resolved that JS review the revelations and make any necessary corrections to them. 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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remembered several decades later that around November 1831, JS, 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
, and 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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spent hours revising the revelations.7

William E. McLellin, “From a Letter Dated Dec. 14th, 1878,” John L. Traughber Papers, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.  


However, the manuscripts of the revelations show Rigdon made only minor changes before Cowdery 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...

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left for 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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with Revelation Book 1 on 20 November; it is unclear whether JS or Cowdery was involved in that process.8

Some redactions made by Rigdon in Revelation Book 1 were included in copies of revelations made by Whitmer for Zebedee Coltrin in January 1832. (see, for example, Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20]; and Coltrin, Diary and Notebook, 12 Jan. 1832, [1]–[18].)  


A few months after Cowdery and Whitmer arrived in Missouri with the revelation book, a council that included JS authorized Cowdery and Whitmer, together with 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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, “to review the Book of Commandmants . . . & make all necessary verbal corrections.”9 JS’s journal from December 1832—over a year later—indicates that he also “corrected revelations” that month.10

JS, Journal, 1 Dec. 1832.  


As clerk of the 8 November 1831 conference, 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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kept 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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later copied the minutes into Minute Book 2.

Facts