License for Christian Whitmer, 9 June 1830

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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was one of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon and was baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

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shortly after the organization of the church on 6 April 1830.1

Testimony of Eight Witnesses, Late June 1829; for more information on priesthood licenses, see Historical Introduction to License for John Whitmer, 9 June 1830.  

This document is a 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...

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“signifying & proveing” that he held the office of teacher

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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in the newly formed Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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. Whitmer was ordained to this office before the first 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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of the church and received a license at that gathering, as did several other priesthood

Power or authority of God. The priesthood was conferred through the laying on of hands upon adult male members of the church in good standing; no specialized training was required. Priesthood officers held responsibility for administering the sacrament of...

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See Historical Introduction to Minutes, 9 June 1830.  

The Book of Mormon described the duties of a teacher in terms similar to those of a priest

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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; likewise, “Articles of the Church of Christ,” a June 1829 document prepared 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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, listed the same duties for teachers and priests.3

Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 575 [Moroni 3:3]; “Articles of the Church of Christ,” June 1829.  

However, “Articles and Covenants,” the document unanimously approved by the church at the 9 June 1830 conference, stated that priests were authorized to “baptize, and administer the sacrament

Primarily referred to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, as opposed to other religious sacraments. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed “that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord...

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,” while teachers were not. The primary responsibility of teachers was “to watch over the church always.”4