Minutes, 6 April 1838

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

, April 6th 1838.
Agreeable to a resolution passed the of , March 3rd 1838, the saints in assembled at this place, to hold the anniversary of the and to transact Church business.
The meeting was opened by singing and prayer by —After which president Joseph Smith Jr read the order of the day as follows:—
Doors will be opened at 9 o’clock A M and [p. 46] the meeting will commence by singing and prayer.
A sexton will then be appointed for a door keeper and other services in the house of the Lord.
Two historians will then be appointed to write and keep the church history.
Also a general recorder to keep the records of the whole Church, and be the clerk of the .
And a clerk will be appointed for the , and to keep the Church records of this .
And three presidents will be appointed to preside over this Church of Zion.
After which an address will be delivered by the presidency:
Then an intermission of one hour will take place;
When the meeting will again convene and open by singing and prayer;
The will then be administered and the blessing of infants attended to;
The meeting then proceeded to business was appointed sexton and assistant;
and were appointed historians;
was appointed general Church Recorder and Clerk for the first Presidency;
was appointed Church Clerk and Recorder for this stake of and Clerk for the high Council;
was appointed President pro tempore of the Church in , and and his assistant Presidents:
The meeting adjourned for one hour—and again opened by —After which the bread and wine was administered, and 95 infants were brought forward and blessed—When on motion the meeting closed.
Clerk. [p. 47]


  1. 1

    The minutes of the 3 March meeting do not mention the scheduling of the 6 April 1838 meeting. (See Minute Book 2, 3 Mar. 1838.)  

  2. 2

    The vast majority of the Latter-day Saints in Missouri at this time were living in Far West and in several other smaller settlements in Caldwell County. A few Mormon settlements had also been established in Daviess County, and some Mormon families and individuals lived in surrounding counties in northwestern Missouri. (Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:286–289, 358–360, 499–512.)  

    Berrett, LaMar C., ed. Sacred Places: A Comprehensive Guide to Early LDS Historical Sites. 6 vols. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999–2007.

  3. 3

    The church had been organized eight years earlier, on 6 April 1830. (JS History, vol. A-1, 37–38; Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:1–12].)  

  4. 4

    The meeting may have been held in a schoolhouse, as previous council meetings had been.  

  5. 5

    In addition to serving as the church historian, John Whitmer had been called by revelation to assist JS “in Transcribing all things” and to “keep the Church Record.” JS had also referred to Whitmer as “the lord[’s] clerk whom he has appointed to keep a hystory and a general church reccord of all things that transpire in Zion.” (Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–B [D&C 47:1, 3]; Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832 [D&C 85:1]; see also Minute Book 2, 9 Apr. 1831.)  

  6. 6

    Oliver Cowdery had been appointed standing clerk of the high council but had fallen from favor. He had not served as the clerk for a high council meeting since December 1837. Ebenezer Robinson and others took minutes of meetings in early 1838. (See Minute Book 2, 6 Dec. 1837–10 Feb. 1838.)  

  7. 7

    After the Zion presidency was removed in February 1838, apostles Thomas B. Marsh and David W. Patten were appointed as pro tempore presidents until the First Presidency arrived and became the presidency of the church in Missouri. JS, however, planned for the Saints in Zion to have their own presidency operating under the general church presidency. (Letter from Thomas B. Marsh, 15 Feb. 1838.)  

  8. 8

    This reference is to the First Presidency: JS, Rigdon, and Hyrum Smith. However, Hyrum Smith was still traveling from Kirtland and did not arrive until late May. (Hyrum Smith, Commerce, IL, to “the Saints Scattered Abroad,” Dec. 1839, in Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:21.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  9. 9

    The Latter-day Saints used the term the sacrament to refer only to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, or communion.a The church’s foundational “Articles and Covenants” stipulated that “every member of this church of Christ having children, are to bring them unto the elders before the church who are to lay hands on them in the name of the Lord, and bless them in the name of Christ.”b  

    (aSee Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 575–576 [Moroni chaps. 4–5]; and Revelation, 7 Aug. 1831 [D&C 59:3, 9].bArticles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:70].)
  10. 10

    According to George W. Robinson’s abbreviated minutes in the Scriptory Book, the first item of business was recognizing JS and Rigdon as the presiding authorities over the meeting. (Minutes, 6 Apr. 1838, in JS, Journal, Mar.–Sept. 1838, p. 29.)  

  11. 11

    Morey had served as a doorkeeper in the House of the Lord in Kirtland. Huntington served as a constable in Far West. According to George W. Robinson’s abbreviated minutes in the Scriptory Book, Morey and Huntington were appointed “door keepers” for the meeting. (JS, Journal, 29 Feb. 1836; Dimick Huntington, Reminiscences and Journal, [14]–[15]; Minutes, 6 Apr. 1838, in JS, Journal, Mar.–Sept. 1838, p. 29.)  

    Huntington, Dimick B. Reminiscences and Journal, 1845–1847. Dimick B. Huntington, Journal, 1845–1859. CHL. MS 1419, fd. 1.

  12. 12

    Both Corrill and Higbee had some clerical or related experience. Corrill served as a financial agent for the church and as an occasional clerk. Higbee served as the presiding judge of Caldwell County. (Minute Book 2, 22 May 1837; George W. Pitkin, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, p. 1, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; see also Minute Book 2, 24 Feb. 1838; and Affidavit, 5 Sept. 1838.)  

    Nauvoo, IL. Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 16800.

  13. 13

    Robinson was appointed general church recorder and clerk in September 1837 in Kirtland. Robinson’s abbreviated minutes of the 6 April meeting in the Scriptory Book describe his appointment slightly differently, stating he was “elected as general Church Clerk & Recorder to keep a record of the whole Church also as Scribe for the first Presidency.” (Minutes, 17 Sept. 1837–A; Minutes, 6 Apr. 1838, in JS, Journal, Mar.–Sept. 1838, p. 29.)  

  14. 14

    Robinson had served as a clerk for previous meetings of the Zion high council in Far West. (Ebenezer Robinson, “Items of Personal History of the Editor,” Return, July 1889, 104.)  

    The Return. Davis City, IA, 1889–1891; Richmond, MO, 1892–1893; Davis City, 1895–1896; Denver, 1898; Independence, MO, 1899–1900.

  15. 15

    Marsh, Patten, and Young were the three most senior members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Marsh and Patten had been living in Caldwell County for over a year. Young had helped JS travel to Missouri and had arrived in Caldwell County with him three weeks earlier. The appointment of Marsh, Patten, and Young as presidents was probably only temporary because as members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the church’s traveling high council), they would eventually travel, proselytize, and supervise units of the church outside of Zion and its stakes. (Letter to the Presidency in Kirtland, 29 Mar. 1838; Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:23–37].)