Minutes, , Jackson Co., MO, 26–27 Apr. 1832. Featured version copied [between ca. 6 Apr. and 19 June 1838] in Minute Book 2, pp. 24–25; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 2.
On 26–27 April 1832, JS held a council of and in , Jackson County, Missouri. This was in accordance with a 1 March 1832 revelation that instructed JS, , and to travel from to and “sit in councel with the saints who are in .” The revelation also directed the three men to “organize . . . by an everlasting covinent which cannot be broken” the “Literary and Merchantile establishments of my church.” JS and Whitney, accompanied by and , left for Missouri on 1 April 1832, meeting up with Rigdon the following day. The group arrived in Independence on 24 April. On 26 April, the council of high priests and elders convened, transacting several items of business. The high priests present also acknowledged JS as .
The council then resolved a long-standing difficulty between and . In September 1831, Rigdon charged Partridge with insulting JS and disrespecting his position as prophet. On 10 March 1832, before the arrival of the visitors, a considered Rigdon’s charges, after which Partridge stated his willingness “to make every confession which br. Sidney as a disciple of Christ could require & forever bury the matter.” The April conference marked the first opportunity for the two to reconcile their differences face to face. After the two made amends, JS dictated a revelation that discussed the concept of forgiveness and instructed the council to organize the church’s publishing and mercantile endeavors through the establishment of a governing firm. On 27 April, the council took steps towards the creation of this firm (which would become known as the ) and assigned and to prepare a bond that presumably all in the firm would sign.
By taking these actions, the council solidified church administration in and fostered greater unity between the church in and the church in , Ohio. In acknowledging JS as president of the high priesthood on 26 April, for example, extended to JS “the right hand of fellowship” on behalf of the Missouri church. This action was particularly significant given ’s earlier charges that Partridge “assumed authority” over JS “in open violation of the Laws of God.” JS’s acceptance of “the right hand of fellowship” from Partridge may have confirmed to those present his continuing regard for Partridge as the leader of the Saints in Missouri. In a similar way, the formation of the governing firm promoted unity between Independence and Kirtland leaders by joining them together in an enterprise that would benefit the church in both areas. As a later JS history declared, the business conducted by the 26–27 April council furthered JS’s efforts “to so organize the church, that the brethren might eventually be independent of every incumbrance beneath the celestial Kingdom, by bonds and covenants of mutual friendship, and mutual love.”
As clerk, kept minutes of the 26–27 April council. In 1838, entered the minutes into Minute Book 2.
JS History, vol. A-1, 209. Although this entry in JS’s multivolume manuscript history suggests Sunday was 2 April, it was actually 1 April. When the manuscript was first published as “History of Joseph Smith” in the Times and Seasons, the date remained “Sunday, April second,” an error that was corrected in a later publication. (“History of Joseph Smith,” Times and Seasons, 2 Sept. 1844, 5:624; History of the Church, 1:265.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
History of the Church / Smith, Joseph, et al. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Edited by B. H. Roberts. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1902–1912 (vols. 1–6), 1932 (vol. 7).
This is according to Whitney’s recollection. However, Whitney also stated that the group departed Hiram, Ohio, on 25 March, which conflicts with JS’s account. (Newel K. Whitney, Statement, ca. 1842, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, ca. 1839–1856, CHL.)
Historian’s Office. Joseph Smith History Documents, 1839–1860. CHL. CR 100 396.
JS History, vol. A-1, 212–213. John Whitmer, church historian, later recorded his view of what the council accomplished: “Joseph the seer and Sidney the Scribe and N. W. [Newel K.] Whitney and one Jesse Gause came to Zion to comfort the Saints and Setle som little dificulties, and regulate the church and affairs concerning it.” (Whitmer, History, 38.)
And the right hand of fellowship given him by the in the land of in the name of the
Br. was a under the hand of br. Joseph Smith jr.
Br. then stated the items embraced in a Revelation received in & the reason why we were commanded to come to this land & sit in council with the Highpriests here, for the particulars of which read the .
adjourned for one hour.
Prayer by br. .
All differences settled & the hearts of all run together in love A Revelation received through him whom the Church has appointed respecting organization.
Council adjourned until to-morrow 9 o’clock A.M.
Council convened. Opened by singing “He dies the friend of sinners dies &c.” & prayer by br.
Resolved. that the name of the mentioned in the commandments yesterday be in , And in Geauga Co. Ohio.
Resolved that brs. & draft the bond for the above named Firm. As there was not any business of importance before the council; Brethren Joseph & gave desertations on the Gospel, its appendages &c. Council closed in prayer by br. Joseph Smith jr.
JS later remembered Partridge’s extending of the hand as “solemn, impressive, And delightful.” Extending the right hand of fellowship was a practice of some Protestant churches at this time. Congregationalists, for example, performed it “when men were set apart to the pastoral office, to give them a public pledge of christian and ministerial fellowship.” Other denominations, including the Baptists, extended the right hand to those intending to join their church. Such practices were patterned after Galatians 2:9, which states that James, Cephas, and John gave to Paul and Barnabas “the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” (JS History, vol. A-1, 210; Emerson, “Right Hand of Fellowship,” 51; see Strickland, Backwoods Preacher, 31.)
Emerson, Brown. “Right Hand of Fellowship.” In The Design, Rights, and Duties of Local Churches. A Sermon Delivered at the Installation of the Rev. Elias Cornelius as Associate Pastor of the Tabernacle Church in Salem, July 21, 1819, edited by Lyman Beecher, 51–54. Andover, MA: Flagg and Gould, 1819.
Strickland, W. P., ed. The Backwoods Preacher: An Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, for More Than Fifty Years a Preacher in the Backwoods and Western Wilds of America. London: Alexander Heylin, 1860.
A later JS history indicated that at a break in the council, “a difficulty or hardness which had existed between BishopPartridge and ElderRigdon was amicably settled, and when we came together in the afternoon all hearts seemed to rejoice.” (JS History, vol. A-1, 210.)
Isaac Watts (1674–1748) composed the words of this hymn, which were originally “He dies! the Heavenly Lover dies.” Martin Madan later changed the first line to “He dies! the Friend of sinners dies!” The hymn was popular among several denominations at the time, appearing in its modified form in hymnbooks such as John Wesley’s A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the People Called Methodists. (Davidson, Our Latter-day Hymns, 206.)
Davidson, Karen Lynn. Our Latter-day Hymns: The Stories and the Messages. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988.
Both Gilbert and Whitney were already operating stores in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, and Kirtland, Ohio, respectively. Whitney established N. K. Whitney & Co. with Gilbert in Kirtland in December 1826. The 20 July 1831 revelation establishing Missouri as the “Land of Zion” and Independence as Zion’s “centre place” also instructed Gilbert to “establish a store” in Independence so that the church could receive “money to buy lands for the good of the Saints.” After his arrival in Missouri in January 1832, Gilbert did so, transacting business under the name Gilbert & Whitney. (Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 217; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:3, 8, 14]; Rollins, Reminiscences, 3–4; Jackson Co., MO, Deed Records, 1827–1909, vol. B, p. 33, 20 Feb. 1832, microfilm 1,017,978, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Eakin and Eakin, Jackson County Missouri Court Minutes Book 1, 127, 143–144.)
Staker, Mark L. Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2009.
Rollins, James H. Reminiscences, 1896, 1898. Typescript. CHL. MS 2393.
U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.
Eakin, Joanne C., and O. B. Eakin, comp. Jackson County Missouri Court Minutes Book 1, 1827–1833, with Index; and Jackson County Missouri Death Register, 1883–1891. Independence, MO: By the author, 1988.
The revelation of 1 March 1832 instructed that the firm be formed by “an everlasting covinent.”a The 26 April 1832 revelation went a step further, stating that the group should be “bound together by a bond & Covennant,” apparently meaning that all firm members had to sign a legal and binding agreement, which Gilbert and Phelps were to draft.b Although such an agreement is no longer extant, John Whitmer may have started to copy the bond into his history of the church. A few lines before he recounted JS’s spring 1832 visit to Missouri, he wrote (but then crossed out) the words “Kn◊◊ all ◊en by these presents, that we Edward P◊◊t◊idg◊, Newel.”c