JS, Authorization, , Hancock Co., IL, to , 27 Aug. 1842; handwriting of ; one page; CHL.
Single leaf measuring 2 × 7⅝ inches (5 × 19 cm). The leaf contains header space and is ruled with five blue horizontal lines, indicating it was the top portion of a larger leaf, from which it was cut. The authorization was inscribed on the recto side only, and the document was then folded twice.
The authorization apparently was passed down among ’s descendants and was still in the possession of the King family in 1895. The authorization was then acquired by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and appears to have been among the files church historian Joseph Fielding Smith took with him to the Office of the First Presidency in 1970 when he became church president. The King authorization was among a group of records transferred from the Office of the First Presidency to the Church History Library in 2010.
The verso of the document has a notation reading “Preserve this as long as possible Volney King Sept 27, 1895” written in graphite. This apparently was written before the document was given to the church by members of the King family on that date.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS, Authorization, Nauvoo, IL, to Thomas R. King, 27 Aug. 1842, in the CHL catalog.
On 27 August 1842, member received an authorization granting him access to the baptismal font in the basement of the partially constructed . Church members used this font to perform proxy on behalf of their deceased relatives. In a letter from the dated 15 December 1841, the Latter-day Saints were instructed to donate to the temple’s construction to help facilitate this proxy work. Because baptism for the dead was “particularly attracting the notice of the saints at the present moment,” the leaders questioned whether they should allow those who had not paid their or otherwise donated to the temple’s construction to participate in the ordinance. Accordingly, King was given this authorization only after he had fulfilled the requirement of paying tithing, which was then used for the construction of the temple. The authorization is representative of several authorizations issued around this time and for the same purpose, all of which required the payment of tithing. One extant authorization, created in November 1842, directly indicated that the payment of tithing was a prerequisite for participation in baptism for the dead.
, as JS’s clerk, recorded ’s tithing donation in the Book of the Law of the Lord. In a similar capacity, Clayton wrote the authorization for King, signing it on behalf of both JS and . Clayton may have been copying the signatures from a nonextant authorization created by Richards before his 1 July 1842 departure from , Illinois. Alternatively, Clayton may have included both signatures because he was temporarily filling Richards’s role as scribe while Richards was traveling in the eastern . King likely retained the authorization and showed it when appropriate to confirm that he was authorized to use the baptismal font in the basement.
Members paid tithing by donating money, goods, supplies, or labor to help build the temple. As the process became more standard, one day of labor in every ten for a year was valued at thirty-one dollars. King donated wheat and flour as tithing on 27 August 1842. He may not have immediately used this recommendation to gain access to the baptismal font; he was ordained an elder and called on a mission to the eastern United States just two days after receiving the recommendation. (See Book of the Law of the Lord, 158; Woodruff, Journal, 10 Aug.–18 Sept. 1842; Thomas R. King, Fillmore, Utah Territory, to George A. Smith, 21 Feb. 1868, Obituary Notices and Biographies, CHL; and JS, Journal, 29 Aug. 1842.)
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
Obituary Notices and Biographies, 1854–1877. CHL. MS 4760.