Minutes, , Geauga Co., OH, 4 June 1833. Featured version copied [ca. 4 June 1833] in Minute Book 1, p. 13; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 1.
In early 1833, church leaders decided to purchase land in , Ohio, to help fulfill a revelation dictated by JS eighteen months earlier that said Kirtland should become “a strong hold” for the . To further comply with this directive, church members also planned to build the , a multipurpose religious structure that could, among other functions, serve as a schoolhouse for educating church leaders and missionaries in both secular and spiritual matters. and met on 23 March 1833 to discuss acquiring lands in Kirtland in order to prepare for constructing the house and other buildings for church use. On 10 April 1833, , a church , purchased the 103-acre parcel of land belonging to , a key property that included the lot on which the House of the Lord would eventually be built.
In anticipation of the purchase, on 2 April a council of high priests assigned “to be an agent to super[in]tend and employ some person or persons to carry on the brick yard on the french farm” and to parcel the farmland to church members. At the time of the 4 June described in the minutes below, a planning committee (which consisted of JS, , and Williams—the ) intended to build the aforementioned schoolhouse out of brick by using the existing brickyard near the Chagrin River on the French farm. Although church leaders initially determined that Williams would oversee the French property and its brickyard, the minutes indicate that the assembled high priests did not agree on the best way to oversee and distribute the land and that more discussion on the long-term disposition of the French property was needed. Subsequently, they resolved “to enquire of the lord” for guidance. On 4 June, JS dictated a revelation directing the council to replace Williams as superintendent of the farm with . The task may have been delegated to Whitney, a member of the , because his duties as bishop included overseeing the church’s financial obligations in Kirtland and issuing certificates for land inheritances to church members; Whitney’s property also sat adjacent to the French farmlands.
The 4 June revelation also instructed that , a prosperous church member in , Ohio, who had provided lodging for JS and his family in 1831 and 1832, be made a member of the United Firm and that he be “unto this blessing.” The conference thus formally admitted Johnson to the United Firm, making him the second addition to the firm in two and a half months, and ordained him a high priest. Soon after, Johnson moved from Hiram to . Johnson later superintended the inn located on the land purchased from , and in 1836 he obtained the deed to the entire French property. Later in June, JS and other church leaders in Kirtland sent a letter informing the leadership of Johnson’s new role.
The building committee, consisting of Hyrum Smith, Jared Carter, and Reynolds Cahoon, eventually decided to use sandstone, not brick, for the edifice. (Johnson, Reminiscences and Journal, 17–18; see also Robison, First Mormon Temple, 32–34.)
Johnson, Joel Hills. Reminiscences and Journals, 1835–1882. 3 vols. Joel Hills Johnson, Papers, 1835–1882. CHL. MS 1546, fds. 1–3.
Robison, Elwin C. The First Mormon Temple: Design, Construction, and Historic Context of the Kirtland Temple. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1997.
A of met in on the 4th of June 1833— in the translating room and took into consideration how the should be disposed of the councel could not agree who should take the charge of it but all agreed to enquire of the lord accordinly we received a revelation which decided that broth[e]r should take the charge thereof and also that brothr be admited as a member of the accordingly he was unto the and admited.
For more information on the acquisition of the Peter Frenchfarm, see Minutes, 23 Mar. 1833–A; and Geauga Co., OH, Deed Records, 1795–1921, vol. 17, pp. 38–39, 359–360, 10 Apr. 1833, microfilm 20,237, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.