On 12 November 1835, JS met with nine of the and counseled them to prepare for the to be held in the , when complete, and for the of divine power that had been promised in earlier revelations. The discourse he delivered that day, featured here, presented a more detailed description of the purposes for the House of the Lord and of the long-anticipated events that were to take place there.
Since the Twelve’s return to , Ohio, in late September 1835 from a mission to the eastern , JS had instructed them several times regarding the solemn assembly and the endowment of power they were to receive in the . On 5 October, he told them that they should “attend this fall the solemn assembly of the first for the organization of the , and attend to the of the and to prepare their hearts in all humility for an endowment with power from on high.” The apostles “all agreed with one accord” to follow this instruction. About a month later, JS dictated a revelation that chastised the Twelve for being insufficiently humble and reminded them “they must all humble themselves before Me, before they will be accounted worthy to receive an endowment to go forth in my name unto all nations.” The revelation encouraged the apostles to “repent speedily and prepare their hearts for the solem assembly and for the great day which is to come.” In the discourse featured here, JS continued to urge the Twelve to repent and prepare for the endowment of power, with the promise that “all who are prepared and are sufficiently pure to abide the presence of the Saviour will see him in the solem assembly.”
In this 12 November discourse, JS gave, perhaps for the first time, specific details and instruction on what was to occur at the solemn assembly. He called particular attention to the purification ritual of foot washing. While other contemporary religious denominations viewed foot washing as an act of humility or as preparatory to receiving , JS and the Latter-day Saints focused on purification, understanding the washing of feet as a ritual to liberate recipients from the sins of the world. In January 1833, at the formation of the School of the Prophets, JS formally received elders into the school by washing their feet. According to , JS performed the ritual, or the “washing of the deciples feet,” on each attendee of the inaugural class, following the precedent set by Jesus at the Last Supper. Performance of foot washing ceased, however, after the initial term of the school. As demonstrated in the discourse featured here, JS was preparing to reintroduce the practice in the . Three days after the dedication of the House of the Lord on 27 March 1836, the long-awaited solemn assembly was held, and it included the washing of the feet of priesthood officers.
JS’s meeting with the apostles began at six o’clock in the evening and opened with singing and prayer before JS’s discourse. Nine of the apostles attended, though which nine goes unspecified. Following JS’s remarks, “the brethren expressed their gratifycation for the instruction [he] had given them.”
Esplin, Ronald K. “The Emergence of Brigham Young and the Twelve to Mormon Leadership, 1830–1841.” PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1981. Also available as The Emergence of Brigham Young and the Twelve to Mormon Leadership, 1830–1841, Dissertations in Latter-day Saint History (Provo, UT: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History; BYU Studies, 2006).
Grow, Matthew J. “‘Clean from the Blood of This Generation’: The Washing of Feet and the Latter-day Saints.” In Archive of Restoration Culture Summer Fellows’ Papers, 2000– 2002, edited by Richard Lyman Bushman, 131–138. Provo, UT : Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History, 2005.
blessing that will be worth remembering if we should live as long as John the Revelator, our blessings will be such as we have not realized before, nor in this generation. The order of the house of God has and ever will be the same, even after Christ comes, and after the termination of the thousand years it will be the same, and we shall finally roll into the of God and enjoy it forever;— you need an brethren in order that you may be prepared and able to overcome all things, and those that reject your testimony will be damned the sick will be healed the lame made to walk the deaf to hear and the blind to see through your instrumentality;
But let me tell you that you will not have power after the endowment to heal those who have not faith, nor to benifit them, for you might as well expect to benefit a devil in hell as such a<n> one, who is possessed of his spirit and are willing to keep it for they are habitations for devils and only fit for his society but when you are endowed and prepared to preach the gospel to all nations kindred and toungs in there own languages you must faithfully warn all and bind up the testimony and up the law and the destroying angel will follow close at your heels and execute his tremendeous mission upon the children of disobediance, and destroy [p. 34]