43990867

Record of the Twelve, 14 February–28 August 1835

of such things, thinking that prehaps that they would never benefit us afterwards, which had we now, would decide almost any point that might be agitated; and now we cannot bear record to the church nor unto the world of the great and glorious manifestations that have been made to us with that degree of power and authority which we otherwise could if we had those decisions to publish abroad.
Since the twelve are now chosen, I wish to tell them a course which they may pursue and be benefitted hereafter in a point of light of which they, prehaps, are not now aware. At all times when you assemble in the capacity of a council to transact business let the oldest of your number preside, and let one or more be appointed to keep a record of your proceedings and on the decision of every important item, be it what it may, let such decision be noted down, and they will ever after remain upon record as law

Principles given to the church and its members in February 1831 revelations. In January 1831, a revelation promised the saints in New York that the law would be given after they gathered in Ohio. Once in Ohio, on 9 and 23 February 1831, JS dictated two revelations...

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, covenant and doctrine. Questions thus decided might at the time appear unimportant, but should they be recorded and one of you lay hands upon them afterward you might find them of infinite worth not only to your brethren but a feast also to your own souls.
Should you assemble from time to time and proceed to discuss important questions and pass decisions upon them and omit to record such decisions, by and by, you will be driven to straits from which you will not be able to extricate yourselves— not being in a situation to bring your faith to bare with sufficient perfection or power to obtain the desired information. Now in consequence of a neglect to write these things when God reveals them, not esteeming them of sufficient worth the spirit may withdraw and God may be angry, and here is a fountain of intelligence or knowledge of infinite importance which is lost. What was the cause of this? The answer is slothfulness [p. 2]
of such things, thinking that prehaps that they would never  benefit us afterwards, wh[i]ch had we now, would decide  almost any point that might be agitated; and now  we cannot bear record to the church nor unto the  world of the great and glorious manifestations that  have been made to us with that degree of power  and authority wh[i]ch we otherwise could if we had  those decisions to publish abroad.
Since the twelve are now chosen, I wish  to tell them a course which they may pursue and  be benefitted hereafter in a point of light of which  they, prehaps, are not now aware. At all times when  you assemble in the capacity of a council to transact business  let the oldest of your number preside, and let one or more  be appointed to keep a record of your proceedings and  on the decision of every important item, be it what it may,  let such decision be noted down, and they will ever after  remain upon record as law

Principles given to the church and its members in February 1831 revelations. In January 1831, a revelation promised the saints in New York that the law would be given after they gathered in Ohio. Once in Ohio, on 9 and 23 February 1831, JS dictated two revelations...

View Glossary
, covenant and doctrine.  Any Questions thus decided might at the time appear  unimportant, but should they be recorded and one of  you lay hands upon them afterward you might find  them of infinite worth not only to your brethren but a  feast als[o] to your own souls.
Should you assemble from time to time and proceed  to discuss important questions and pass decisions upon them  and omit to record such decisions, by and by, you will  be driven to straits from which you will not be able to  extricate yourselves— not being in a sufficient situation to  bring your faith to bare with sufficient perfection or power  to obtain the desired information. Now in consequence of  a neglect to write these things when God reveals them, not  esteeming them of sufficient worth the spirit may withdraw  and God may be angry, and here is a fountain of  intelligence or knowledge of infinite importance which is  lost. What was the cause of this? The answer is slothfulness [p. 2]
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Only twice did the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles undertake a quorum mission under the direction of JS. Their success in the British Isles in 1840–1841 is well known. Less well known is their first quorum mission to the eastern states in the spring and summer of 1835, shortly after the quorum was organized. The “record of the transactions of the Twelve apostles” contains the official account of that mission.
This record begins with the call of the apostles and organization of the quorum in February 1835 and documents some of JS’s teachings to the new quorum about their role and functioning, including an admonition on record keeping. These teachings and the circa April 1835 “Instruction on Priesthood,” dictated by JS just before the newly called apostles received their first mission assignment, were viewed as foundational documents for the new quorum. According to this record, on 12 March, less than a month after the apostles were named, JS “proposed” that their first mission be “through the eastern States to the Atlantic Ocean.” This record preserves JS’s teachings to the quorum as they prepared to depart and then documents the central activities of that mission.
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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and 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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, clerks for the Quorum of the Twelve, created this record by copying into a large, permanent record book the original minutes and notes, no longer extant, which they had written. This is evident from a careful examination of the content of the record and also from the nature of the volume into which it is copied, which is too large for the men to have conveniently carried on their travels. This also followed the standard record-keeping pattern of JS’s office. Minute Books 1 and 2 were created when loose minutes were copied into more permanent books of record, and a similar practice was followed with letterbooks and revelation books created under JS’s general direction. An original minute or letter, or a dictation copy of a revelation, would later be copied into a record book to create a more permanent record copy.
The existing record itself is almost entirely in the hand of Hyde. This is so even though Hyde shared with fellow quorum member McLellin the assignment to serve as clerks, and even though each actively served in creating the original minutes upon which this record is based. McLellin inscribed only the entries of 23 and 25 May. However, McLellin apparently retained possession of the original manuscripts. In a 24 May 1870 letter published in the True Latter Day Saints’ Herald, he claimed to have “our apostolic record, as we first made it up,” and proceeded to provide details consistent with the record.1

William E. McLellin, Independence, MO, to D. H. Bays, Lafayette, MO, 24 May 1870, True Latter Day Saints’ Herald,15 Sept. 1870, 553.  


This record may be thought of as consisting of three parts. The first three and a half pages record the calling and general instruction of the apostles. The next three and a half pages, to the bottom of page seven, document a series of meetings as quorum members prepared for their spring and summer mission, a series that included JS’s 26 April “charge and instructions” to them and ended with a 2 May “grand council” consisting not only of the Twelve but of other leaders. The third part, the largest, consists of a dozen-page record of the conferences and other activities of the mission itself, including meetings of the quorum, conferences with members, and public preaching meetings that on occasion attracted hundreds.
The first entry in this record bears the date of 14 February 1835 and briefly describes the “conference or general meeting” convened by JS to consider if the time had come to implement a June 1829 revelation “relative to the choosing of twelve apostles.” After it was “ascertained that the time had come,” twelve men were chosen and, it is implied, ordained. Fortunately, a better record exists of this foundational meeting than this brief entry. The second entry, dated 27 February, provides a context for seeing the entry of 14 February as a retrospective account likely written some two weeks later than the date it bears and also helps explain why Minute Book 12

See Ordination Blessings, 14 February 1835, in Minute Book 1.  


contains a longer and more informative record of this meeting than does the Record of the Twelve.
On 27 February, JS convened the Twelve to instruct them on the importance of record keeping. After lamenting that the records of the church as a whole were not as complete as they should be, in his view a deficiency of considerable consequence, he urged that whenever they convened to transact business as a council to always keep a record of proceedings and important decisions so “they will ever after remain upon record as law, covenant and doctrine.” After further instruction on the importance of records, the council appointed 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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and 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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to serve as clerks for the Twelve. All this and further instruction from JS about the role of the quorum was duly noted by “William E. McLellin Clerk.”3

Minute Book 1 also preserves an account of this 27 February 1835 meeting created by Oliver Cowdery, clerk for JS and the church presidency.  


It seems evident that only with the 27 February instruction from JS and the appointment of clerks did the Quorum of the Twelve obtain a book and begin keeping a record, and that the brief 14 February entry with which the book begins was therefore created after the 27 February meeting. This also explains why Minute Book 1 contains not only more information about the 14 February meeting but minutes of 15 and 21 February meetings that are not part of the quorum’s own record. These minutes from Minute Book 1, therefore, provide both additional information about the calling and instruction of the apostles and a context for understanding the Record of the Twelve prior to 27 February.
The more extensive account in Minute Book 1 of the 14 February 1835 meeting reports that JS convened on that date the veterans of the 1834 Camp of Israel

A group of approximately 205 men and about 20 women and children led by JS to Missouri, May–July 1834, to redeem Zion by helping the Saints who had been driven from Jackson County, Missouri, regain their lands; later referred to as “Zion’s Camp.” A 24 February...

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(later known as Zion’s Camp), a military march 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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in support of Saints violently dispossessed from their lands in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Missouri, and that it was mainly from these veterans that the Twelve (and a related new quorum, the Quorum of Seventy) would be selected. The entry in Minute Book 1 then lists the names of fifty-six veterans. According to this account, the men had been assembled not so much to ascertain if the time had come to organize a Quorum of the Twelve but for JS to announce that it was the will of God that they proceed to do so. These minutes also indicate that three of those called, 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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, Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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, and Heber C. Kimball

14 June 1801–22 June 1868. Blacksmith, potter. Born at Sheldon, Franklin Co., Vermont. Son of Solomon Farnham Kimball and Anna Spaulding. Married Vilate Murray, 22 Nov. 1822, at Mendon, Monroe Co., New York. Member of Baptist church at Mendon, 1831. Baptized...

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, were then ordained (and the minutes preserve their “ordination blessings”). In addition to a more full account of the 14 February 1835 meeting, Minute Book 1 contains minutes of a follow-up session on 15 February, about which the Record of the Twelve is silent. At this meeting additional numbers of those appointed on the 14th were ordained and their ordination blessings recorded.
The Record of the Twelve—but not Minute Book 1—is also silent about a meeting on Saturday, 21 February 1835, that was as important to the nascent quorum as were the meetings of 14–15 February. At this meeting, Parley P. Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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was ordained a member of the Twelve and received his “ordination blessing,” bringing to ten the number of new apostles who had been ordained. (Before, or possibly as, the minutes of this meeting were copied from loose paper into Minute Book 1, the blessings of Thomas B. Marsh

1 Nov. 1800–Jan. 1866. Farmer, hotel worker, waiter, horse groom, grocer, type foundry worker, teacher. Born at Acton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of James Marsh and Molly Law. Married first Elizabeth Godkin, 1 Nov. 1820, at New York City. Moved to ...

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and Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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were also appended, bringing to twelve the number of blessings recorded in the book—but as the Record of the Twelve attests, Marsh and Pratt did not arrive in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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until 25 and 26 April, respectively.) Following Parley Pratt’s blessing on 21 February, 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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gave him a detailed personal “charge” respecting his duty as an apostle. Later in the meeting, Cowdery delivered a lengthy and substantive charge to the entire quorum respecting their responsibilities and future labors.
The 27 February 1835 entry in the Record of the Twelve marked the effective beginning of record keeping for the Twelve and a shift from preserving such records elsewhere. Although Minute Book 1 also contains an account of this meeting—an apparently independent account recorded by 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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that parallels the one by 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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that appears in the Record of the Twelve—it is the final 1835 meeting of the newly organized quorum to be preserved in Minute Book 1. After the admonition in this meeting that the new quorum keep a record—and after the creation of this record which came as a result—there are no more entries in Minute Book 1 related to the official meetings of the Quorum of the Twelve in 1835. The Record of the Twelve presented here, then, becomes not only the official record but the only extant record.
The nature of the minutes for 27 February 1835 in the two records illustrates this shift. That the two accounts of JS’s instructions to the Twelve are so similar suggests that both 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 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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successfully captured much of what JS said on this occasion. But unlike the entries of 14 February, in which Cowdery recorded much more detail than exists in the retrospective entry in the Record of the Twelve, for 27 February the record of the Twelve contains additional instructions not noted by Cowdery. Cowdery, by now a veteran in creating minutes, added details about the setting and people present that McLellin did not preserve, including the preamble: “This evening a meeting of nine of the twelve of the Apostles, who had been chosen and ordained was held at the house of President Joseph Smith,” after which he named the nine present and accounted for those not present. But only the official Record of the Twelve and not the account in Minute Book 1 contains the additional, closing explanation by JS about “the power and authority of the priesthood”—the explanation that the Twelve had received their authority as apostles “from God through me,” and that they and only they now had the authority and “duty to go and unlock the kingdom of heaven to foreign nations.”
Although the notes of most subsequent meetings preserved in the Record of the Twelve are not lengthy, they are instructive. The entry for the 12 March 1835 meeting notes not only the proposal by JS that they take their first mission to the East but a plan for the mission that included a 4 May departure date and an ambitious itinerary, complete with dates for conferences with members in outlying branches in New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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, Upper Canada

British colony of Canada divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791; reunited 1841. Upper Canada’s boundaries corresponded roughly to portion of present-day Ontario south of Hudson Bay watershed. Population in 1840 about 430,000. Immigrants mainly from...

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, and New England. Later entries confirm that they largely followed this itinerary, regulating branches, teaching members, and preaching and proselytizing along the way. Among the several preparatory meetings held late April and early May was a 26 April assembly of the Twelve and some of the Seventy, held in the unfinished temple in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, convened “in order to receive our charge and instructions from President Joseph Smith Jun. relative to our mission and duties.” Two days later they made the decision not only to leave on 4 May, as earlier proposed, but to depart at 2:00 a.m. that day, ensuring arrival at Fairport Harbor

Situated on southern shore of Lake Erie; area originally called Grandon; settled 1803. Located twelve miles northeast of Kirtland. Harbor established at mouth of Grand River, by 1812. Harbor became significant port. Name officially changed to Fairport, 14...

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in time to catch a lake steamer for New York.
Traveling east on their quorum mission “to the Atlantic,” the newly organized quorum normally met as a group with members along the way, though occasionally one or another had a different assignment (and in early June, Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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and 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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had to leave their brethren for a time and return to 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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as witnesses in a court case on behalf of JS). Through their 7 August conference in Bradford, Massachusetts, the schedule of conferences unfolded largely as had been planned in the 12 March meeting. That day, however, they decided to alter plans for the remainder of the mission and return home a month earlier. One conference was canceled and the last two moved up, changes, say the minutes, dictated by “the Spirit of God.” The record thereafter documents only two more conferences, both in Maine

Initially established as district of Massachusetts, 1691. Admitted as state, 1820. Population in 1830 about 400,000. Population in 1840 about 500,000. Capital city and seat of government, Augusta. First visited by Mormon missionaries, Sept. 1832. Branches...

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: Saco

Originally part of Massachusetts; land grant established by Plymouth Company, 1630. Settled 1631. Organized and named Saco, 1653. Boundary surveyed, 1659. Incorporated as town and named Pepperellborough, 1762. Renamed Saco by Massachusetts state legislature...

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on 21 August and Farmington on 28 August. With the account of the latter, presumably the final gathering before quorum members returned home, the record abruptly ends.
The Record of the Twelve is the only known record created by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during its first several years of existence. This can be explained by practical difficulties but also by the fact that most activities of quorum members over the next several years were undertaken either as individual assignments or in connection with the activities of other leadership quorums. In the fall and winter of 1835–1836, members of the Twelve joined with other quorums in finishing the House of the Lord

JS revelation, dated Jan. 1831, directed Latter-day Saints to migrate to Ohio, where they would “be endowed with power from on high.” In Dec. 1832, JS revelation directed Saints to “establish . . . an house of God.” JS revelation, dated 1 June 1833, chastened...

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in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio, and in preparing for and participating in the March 1836 dedication and solemn assembly. JS’s journal for 30 March 1836 reports that rather than undertaking a quorum mission, “the 12 are at liberty to go wheresoever they will and if one shall say, I wish to go to such a place let all the rest say Amen.” The quorum mission to England planned for 1837 was postponed because of division within the church and within the quorum, although Heber C. Kimball

14 June 1801–22 June 1868. Blacksmith, potter. Born at Sheldon, Franklin Co., Vermont. Son of Solomon Farnham Kimball and Anna Spaulding. Married Vilate Murray, 22 Nov. 1822, at Mendon, Monroe Co., New York. Member of Baptist church at Mendon, 1831. Baptized...

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and 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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of the Twelve did make the journey. The mass migration of leadership and members from Kirtland to Far West

Originally called Shoal Creek. Located fifty-five miles northeast of Independence. Surveyed 1823; first settled by whites, 1831. Site purchased, 8 Aug. 1836, before Caldwell Co. was organized for Latter-day Saints in Missouri. William W. Phelps and John Whitmer...

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, Missouri, in 1838 made a mission impractical that summer. Not until 1839–1840, after the violent expulsion from 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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, would the Twelve again undertake a mission as a quorum.

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