Minutes, 4 August 1831

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Minutes of a special held in Jackson County Missouri by special of the Lord August 4. 1831. [p. 4]
Present Elders Present
Joseph Smith jr.
(denied the faith)
The opened by singing “Glorious things &c.[”] Prayer by br. , Exhortation to obedience to the requisition of Heaven by delivering a charge in the name of the Lord Christ to the , Rulers & members of the planted in their in the land of , by br. .
Confession of br. of his transgressions which were satisfactory to the Church as appeared by unanimous vote.
E[x]hortation by br. Joseph Smith jr. to acts of righteousness and keeping the of the Lord with promise of blessing<​s​>.
Thirty-one members present, who, with the Elders partook of the
Closed by prayer by .
, Clerk. [p. 5]


  1. 1

    Booth indicated in a November 1831 letter that he never attended a conference in Missouri: “We expected to assemble together in conference according to commandment, and the Lord would signally display his power, for the confirmation of our faith; but we commenced our journey home, before most of the Elders arrived. It is true, a conference was held, but it was considered so unimportant, that myself and another man were permitted to be absent, for the purpose of procuring the means of conveyance down the river.” (Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. V,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 10 Nov. 1831, [3].)  

    Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.

  2. 2

    This parenthetical notation was probably added by John Whitmer in 1833. See the source note for Minute Book 2.  

  3. 3

    Probably the traditional hymn “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,” written by John Newton, an English evangelical. The hymn discusses the biblical Zion, building on Psalm 87:2–3: “The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God.” Psalm 87 may have had particular significance to the conference because it was read aloud at the dedication of the temple site the day before. (Hicks, Mormonism and Music, 11; Davidson, Our Latter-day Hymns, 75–76; JS History, vol. A-1, 139.)  

    Hicks, Michael. Mormonism and Music: A History. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989.

    Whitmer, Peter, Jr. Journal, Dec. 1831. CHL. MS 5873.

  4. 4

    “Rulers” may reflect a scribal misreading of “Elders.” The idea of a mortal ruler within the church or the land of Zion was explicitly denounced in the 1 August revelation that called for the convening of this conference. (Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:20]; see also Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:21]; and Revelation, 4 Feb. 1831 [D&C 41:4].)  

  5. 5

    Among those appointed by revelation to “plant” themselves in Zion were Phelps, Gilbert, and Partridge. (Revelation, 14 June 1831 [D&C 55:5]; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:8, 11]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:24].)  

  6. 6

    TEXT: Possibly “approved”.  

  7. 7

    At some point after this conference, Peterson was no longer allowed to function as an elder. He was reordained at an October 1832 conference. (Minute Book 2, 2 Oct. 1832.)  

  8. 8

    Three days before this conference, a revelation expressed this same theme of blessings granted in return for obedience to commandments and insisted that God’s laws “shall be kept on this land.” John Whitmer wrote that on 2 August 1831, Rigdon asked the Saints, “Do you pledge yourselves to keep the laws of God on this land, which you have never have kept in your own land?” When the Saints voiced their assent, Rigdon pronounced the land “consecrated and dedicated to the Lord for a possession and inheritance for the Saints.” (Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:2, 19]; Whitmer, History, 31–32.)  

  9. 9

    These “members” are probably in addition to the fourteen elders listed as attending. Peter Whitmer Jr. indicated that he, Cowdery, Peterson, and Williams had baptized seven individuals in the vicinity of Independence. The group of Saints from Colesville, New York, which consisted of about twenty families, numbered roughly sixty people, more than half of whom were probably children. (Whitmer, Journal, Dec. 1831, [1]; see Ira Jones Willes, “The Names of the Colesville Church,” Willes Family Papers, CHL; and News Item, Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 28 June 1831, [3].)  

    Whitmer, Peter, Jr. Journal, Dec. 1831. CHL. MS 5873.

    Painesville Telegraph. Painesville, OH. 1822–1986.

  10. 10

    The “Articles and Covenants” instructed members to “meet together oft to partake bread & wine in Rememberance of the Lord Jesus.” Although the offering of the Lord’s Supper is not recorded in the minutes of earlier conferences, it probably occurred. For example, a later JS history recounts that the sacrament was administered at the first conference, held in June 1830. Three days after this 4 August 1831 conference, JS dictated a revelation stating that those “whose feet stand upon the land of Zion” should “go to the house of prayer & offer up . . . sacraments upon my holy day,” apparently prescribing the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830, in Revelation Book 1, p. 57 [D&C 20:75]; see also JS History, vol. A-1, 41; Minutes, 9 June 1830; and Revelation, 7 Aug. 1831 [D&C 59:3, 9].)