Minutes, 30 April 1832

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Minutes of a of the , April 30. 1832.
Joseph Smith jr. ,
, one of the President’s counsellors.
ordered by the council that three thousand copies of the book of Commandments be printed the first edition. [p. 25]
Secondly: Ordered by the that the printing of an Alminack for this season be left at the option of brs. & .
Thirdly: Ordered by the Council that all Revelations be limited to the parties concerned until printed.
Fourthly: Ordered by the Council that brs. , & be appointed to review the Book of Commandmants & select for printing such as shall be deemed by them proper, as dictated by the spirit & make all necessary verbal corrections
Fifthly Ordered by the Council that the Hymns selected by be corrected by br. Closed
Prayer by br.
Clerk. [p. 26]


  1. 1

    This title probably refers to JS’s role as president of the high priesthood. The revelation appointing the “stewards” of the revelations provided no hierarchy for the Literary Firm. (See Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70].)  

  2. 2

    It is possible that the identification of Gause as one of JS’s counselors was added at a later time. Because Gause was apparently excommunicated within a few months of this meeting, the position he had held in the church may have been added to the record for the benefit of later readers to whom he would be increasingly unfamiliar.a Minutes of other meetings copied by Ebenezer Robinson include such redactive identifications.b However, the explicit designation of Gause as one of JS’s counselors may have been included in the original minutes because church members in Missouri at the time were unfamiliar with Gause, who had apparently only recently been baptized in Ohio.c For example, John Whitmer described Gause as “one Jesse Gause” in the historical record he was keeping, which suggests that church members were unfamiliar with Gause.d It is also possible that Gause was designated as a counselor in the original minutes because he attended the meeting in that capacity. There is no record that Gause was ever appointed to the Literary Firm. In contrast, Rigdon, who was previously appointed as one of the “stewards” of the revelations, is listed in attendance but not designated as one of JS’s counselors. Gause may also have been standing in for Martin Harris, who was one of the stewards over the revelations.e A 20 March 1832 revelation indicated that Harris should not travel to Missouri with JS in the spring of 1832.f  

    Jennings, Erin B. “The Consequential Counselor: Restoring the Root(s) of Jesse Gause.” Journal of Mormon History 34 (Spring 2008): 182–227.

    (aJS, Journal, 3 Dec. 1832.bSee, for example, Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831.cJennings, “Consequential Counselor,” 198–199.dWhitmer, History, 38.eRevelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70:1–3]; Revelation, 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82:11].fSee Revelation, 20 Mar. 1832.)
  3. 3

    In a January 1832 letter to JS, Cowdery reported that the plan to print ten thousand copies would require twice “the amount of the first mentioned Ream[s].” This calculation probably factored into the firm’s new plan for a reduced print run of the “first edition,” while allowing for the prospect of one or more subsequent editions. (Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 28 Jan. 1832.)  

  4. 4

    Extremely popular in the United States, almanacs were—alongside the Bible—the major source of reading material for many Americans in the late 1700s and early 1800s. There is no record that the church printed an almanac at this time. (Stowell, Early American Almanacs, vii–viii.)  

    Stowell, Marion Barber. Early American Almanacs: The Colonial Weekday Bible. New York: Burt Franklin, 1977.

  5. 5

    “The parties concerned” likely refers to the specific individuals to whom revelations were addressed, and church leaders evidently adhered to this resolution. Revelations began to be printed in the church periodical The Evening and the Morning Star just over a month after this conference, but revelations that were directed to a single, specific person were not printed therein. Many were, however, printed in the Book of Commandments, which is the printing referenced in these minutes.a Several earlier revelations commanded that the documents not be shared publicly. For example, an 1829 revelation declared, “Show not these things, neither speak these things unto the world.”b Church leaders were likely concerned about the proliferation or publication of unauthorized versions of the revelations in advance of an authorized church version—a concern amplified by the events of fall 1831, when the Painesville Telegraph published one of JS’s revelations and when Ezra Booth’s letters appeared in the Ohio Star.c In these letters, Booth, who was a member of the church for only a few months before renouncing his membership in September 1831, used his knowledge of the revelatory process and the content of the “commandments” to attempt to discredit JS and the church.  

    Painesville Telegraph. Painesville, OH. 1822–1986.

    Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.

    (aSee, for example, Revelation, Apr. 1829–A, in Book of Commandments 5 [D&C 6]; Revelation, Apr. 1829–B, in Book of Commandments 7 [D&C 8]; Revelation, May 1829–A, in Book of Commandments 10 [D&C 11:1–6]; Revelation, May 1829–B, in Book of Commandments 11 [D&C 12].bRevelation, ca. Summer 1829 [D&C 19:21].c“The Mormon Creed,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 19 Apr. 1831, [4]; Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. III,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 27 Oct. 1831, [3].)
  6. 6

    An 8 November 1831 conference authorized JS to “correct those errors or mistakes” that he found in the revelations “by the holy Spirit.” This may have included reviewing and revising them according to his developing understanding of church doctrine and ecclesiology. Decades later William E. McLellin remembered that around November 1831, JS, Cowdery, and Rigdon spent hours revising the revelations. A 1 December 1832 entry in JS’s journal also states that he “wrote and corrected revelations” that day. McLellin wrote that the April 1832 assignment to Cowdery, Phelps, and Whitmer was to “better the language” of the revelations. (Minutes, 8 Nov. 1831; JS, Journal, 1 Dec. 1832; William E. McLellin, “From a Letter Dated Dec. 14th, 1878,” in John L. Traughber Papers, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.)  

    McLellin, Wiliam E. “From a Letter Dated Dec. 14th, 1878.” John L. Traughber Papers. J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

  7. 7

    An 1830 revelation commanded Emma Smith to “make a selection of Sacred Hymns as it shall be given thee.” A later JS history recounts that the Literary Firm charged Phelps to both “correct and print the Hymns which had been selected by Emma Smith.” In June 1832, Phelps began publishing hymns in The Evening and the Morning Star, stating that they were “selected and prepared for the Church of Christ, in these last days.” (Revelation, July 1830–C [D&C 25:11]; JS History, vol. A-1, 214; “Hymns,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832, [8].)  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.