Minutes, [, Geauga Co., OH], 12 Feb. 1836. Featured version copied [between ca. 4 Apr. and ca. 16 May 1836] in Minute Book 1, pp. 137–138; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 1.
Since fall 1835, JS had talked of a to be held in the in which men to the in the would be with divine power for their ministry. In anticipation of such a meeting—planned to be held in spring 1836, after the dedication of the House of the Lord—JS began in early 1836 to organize and prepare the priesthood . On 30 January 1836, the church’s unanimously passed a resolution that “no one be ordained to an office in the Church in without the voice of the several quorums when assembled for church business.” In early February, JS continued to attend to the business of “organizing of the quorems of — — & ,” beginning with meetings prior to the one featured here. At a meeting on 6 February that included the of Kirtland and (), elders, high priests, seventies, the of Kirtland and Zion, the , and the church’s presidency, JS “laboured with each of these quorems for some time to bring [them] to the order which God had shown to me.” At the same meeting, JS reprimanded the elders for “evil deeds” and for having failed to observe “the order which [he] had given them,” and he instructed them concerning the proselytizing work they would commence after they received the endowment of power. JS stated, “This night the key is turned to the nations; and the angel John is about commencing his mission to prophesy before kings, and rulers, nations tongues and people.” On 11 February, the instruction continued in a meeting of the elders quorum. According to the elders quorum record, “president gave some instructions respecting the duty of the officers, and made some confession and was followed by president Joseph Smith jr. in giving instruction to the quorum.”
In the on 12 February 1836, JS met again with the council comprising the several quorums of the priesthood, to whom he presented some specific problems and possible solutions on the subject of ordinations. The church leaders discussed regulating the “manner and power to ordain” men to various priesthood offices and quorums. After those in attendance rejected a preliminary set of resolutions, the council asked JS alone to compose new governing measures, which he did. As a part of this discussion, JS then offered two resolutions that further clarified the 30 January 1836 resolution on ordinations.
There are two extant versions of the minutes: one was recorded in JS’s 1835–1836 journal and the other in Minute Book 1. The version in Minute Book 1 is featured here as the official minutes; footnotes detail differences between the two versions. was both the clerk for the council meeting who wrote the original minutes (no longer extant) and the scribe for the copy found in JS’s journal. Parrish also recorded JS’s instructions and the resolutions presented on 12 February 1836 into the 14 February 1836 entry of JS’s journal. recorded the minutes in Minute Book 1 in the spring of 1836. Both the Minute Book 1 version and the version in JS’s journal may have been copied from the original minutes, or Cowdery may have relied solely on JS’s journal when he penned his version a couple of months later.
JS, Journal, 6 Feb. 1836; Kirtland Elders Quorum, “Record,” 6 Feb. 1836; see also Revelation 10:11; and Answers to Questions, between ca. 4 and ca. 20 Mar. 1832 [D&C 77:14]. According to the Kirtlandeldersquorum record, at least ninety-seven elders had been anointed with oil from 28 January to 4 February 1836. The elders quorum minutes for 6 February record that JS and his counselors in the presidency “came and sealed our anointing by prayer and shout of Hosanna” and then “gave us some instructions and left us.” Alvah Beman then addressed those present, and “several spoke and there seemed to be a cloud of darkness in the room.” After Oliver Cowdery and Hyrum Smith came into the room to resolve the problem, “the cloud was broken and some shouted, Hosanna and others spake with tongues.” (Kirtland Elders Quorum, “Record,” 28 Jan.–6 Feb. 1836; see also JS, Journal, 3 Apr. 1836.)
Kirtland Elders Quorum. “A Record of the First Quorurum of Elders Belonging to the Church of Christ: In Kirtland Geauga Co. Ohio,” 1836–1838, 1840–1841. CCLA.
of , The , and his counsellors The and his counsellors, and the seven Presidents of , until otherwise ordered by said .
2dly. Resolved that none be in the of said abroad, unless they are recommended by the voice of the respective branches of the church to which they belong to the general conference appointed by the heads of the Church, and from that conference receive their ordination.
The foregoing were concurred in by the Presidents of the .
This resolution modified the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants regarding ordinations for the church by adding the clause that ordinations were to be approved at a general conference of the church “and from that conference receive their ordination.” The 1835 Doctrine and Covenants stated, “No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church; but the presiding elders, travelling bishops, high counsellors, high priests, and elders, may have the privilege of ordaining, where there is no branch of the church, that a vote may be called.” (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830, in Doctrine and Covenants 2:16, 1835 ed. [D&C 20:65–66].)