leaders from and gathered in , Ohio, on 13 January 1836 to form a grand council. That council appointed JS, , , , and to write a set of rules “for the regulation of the in times of worship.”
On 27 December 1832, JS had dictated a revelation that commanded church members to build a religious structure for educational purposes as well as for worship. By mid-January 1836, the was nearly finished. As interior rooms were completed, church leaders and members began to use them for administrative, religious, and educational activities, even before the formal dedication of the building.
With the already being used, the grand council discussed the need to establish rules for use of and conduct in the building, particularly during times of worship. On 14 January 1836, the committee appointed by the grand council met in the to draft these rules of conduct. The committee presented these rules and regulations to the grand council in a meeting in the attic of the House of the Lord on 15 January 1836. After reading the rules, the grand council vigorously debated them before ultimately approving them.
There are two extant versions of these rules and regulations: one in Minute Book 1 and one in JS’s journal. While Minute Book 1 is the official record, the minutes that contain the rules are misdated to 12 January 1836 and are combined with a shortened version of the minutes dated 13 January 1836. Those minutes were entered into Minute Book 1 in May 1837 and appear to be copied from the version in JS’s journal, which recorded soon after the grand council approved the rules and regulations. Therefore, the version from JS’s journal appears to be closer to the original document and is featured here. The Minute Book 1 version contains a few variations in text and punctuation; significant differences are noted.
Angell, Truman O. Autobiography, 1884. CHL. MS 12334. Also available in Archie Leon Brown and Charlene L. Hathaway, 141 Years of Mormon Heritage: Rawsons, Browns, Angells—Pioneers (Oakland, CA: By the authors, 1973), 119–135.
body, also an insult offered to any of the officers of said while officiating shall be considered an insult to the whole body—
3d— All persons are prohibited from going up the stairs in times of worship
4th— all persons are prohibited from exploring the except waited upon by a person appointed for that purpose—
5th— all persons are prohibited from going <in>to the several pulpits except the officers who are appointed to officiate in the same
6th— All persons are prohibited from cutting marking or marring the inside or outside of the with a knife pencil or any other instrument whatever, under pain of such penalty as the law shall inflict—
7th— All children are prohibited from assembling in the above or below or any part of it to play or for recreation at any time, and all parents guardians or masters shall be ameneable for all damage that shall accrue in consequence of their children—
8th— All persons whether believers or unbelievers shall be treated with due respect by the authority <authorities> of the Church— [p. 112]
Besides general worship meetings on the first and second floors of the temple, the third or attic floor with its dormer windows and five offices, or classrooms, provided meeting places for smaller gatherings, such as priesthood quorums, high council meetings, and the Hebrew School.
Perhaps the committee foresaw the use of the building by scores of young students. Though this seems to be a general rule to regulate the behavior of children and their parents in worship in the House of the Lord, it was particularly pertinent later in 1836: by November, the attic floor was being used by the church’s Kirtland High School with “135 or 40 students” as well as a “Juvenile” school. (“Our Village,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Jan. 1837, 3:444.)
Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.