United Firm 

Summary

An organization that supervised the management of church enterprises and properties, 1832–1834.1 In March and April 1832, revelations directed that the church’s publishing and mercantile endeavors be organized.2 In accordance with this direction, the United Firm was established, with nine men acting as its officers and having responsibility for the church’s storehouses, publications, and temporal affairs.3 Additional officers were appointed later on.4 The goal was to manage these enterprises in such a way as to generate funds that would “become the common property of the whole church” once the needs of those within the firm were met.5 The United Firm had different subsets: Gilbert, Whitney & Co. managed the church storehouse in Independence; N. K. Whitney & Co. managed the storehouse in Kirtland; and the Literary Firm managed the church’s publishing endeavors.6 In addition to mercantile and publishing enterprises, officers of the United Firm supervised farms and residential real estate, an ashery, a tannery, a stone quarry, a sawmill, and a brick kiln.7 Each property or enterprise under United Firm supervision was owned by individuals, rather than by the firm or by its officers as a group.8 The firm’s Missouri operations were halted by the November 1833 expulsion of Saints from Jackson County, and the firm faced substantial indebtedness for mortgage payments and a printing press.9 After efforts to raise funds to repay the firm’s debts failed, an April 1834 revelation directed that the United Firm in Kirtland be separated from that in Missouri.10 This revelation also called for a redistribution of the Kirtland firm’s assets to its officers and cancellation of all debts they owed each other.11 In effect, this marked the end of the United Firm since its supervisory function was largely assumed by the Kirtland high council thereafter.12 See also “Literary Firm,” “N. K. Whitney & Co.,” and “Gilbert, Whitney & Co.”