Minutes and Discourses, 6–8 April 1842

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Special Conference of the , met according to appointment in the City of , April 6, 1842.
The day being wet, the did not attend, and addressed those present upon the subject of the charges against him, and said he would be happy to have an opportunity of laying his statement before the Conference, at a convenient time.
Pres’t. , Pres’t. pro tem., and Pres’t. all spoke upon the subject of military affairs, showing the necessity of a well organized and efficient force; that as we were bound to serve our country if required in common with all good citizens, we ought not to be behind any of our neighbors in point of good order, neat uniforms, and equipments, and a well organized, and thoroughly disciplined legion.
April 7. Conference met, Pres’t. Joseph Smith had the several put in order, and seated: he then made some very appropriate remarks concerning the duties of the church, the necessity of unity of purpose in regard to the building of the houses, and the blessings connected with doing the will of God; and the inconsistency folly and danger of murmuring against the dispensations of Jehovah.
He said that the principal object of the meeting was to bring the case of before them, and that another object was to choose young men, and them, and send them out to preach, that they may have an opportunity of proving themselves, and of enduring the tarring and feathering and such things as those of us who have gone before them, have had to endure.
having arrived, was called upon, and addressed the congregation in relation to the nonperformance of his mission to : he said that when he started with , joy filled their hearts, and they were aware of the responsibility of their mission. ’s vision was that he should be in alone, considered to be his father and guide in the mission, and felt it his duty to submit to ’s opinion in all things; no ever were more in concert on a mission than they were while together; they made a covenant in to stand by each other while on the mission; that if they were insulted, or imposed upon they would [p. 761] stand by each other even unto death, and not separate unless to go a few miles to preach a sermon; that all monies should go into one purse, and it did so. in Indiana first said he would go to visit Br. [Lenox] Knight, and that should stay and preach, he assented, and he went and returned to Indianapolis. had a mare given him on account of both, then took the mare, went on, and left his luggage with ; while away he sold the mare for $40, and received $60 more as a donation from the man to whom he sold the mare, he returned, they preached in and received a handsome contribution, preached 16 miles off and raised a , went to , revised the Missouri Persecutions, got 2000 copies printed, and paid for them, and took part of them with him and left a large box full and about 150 loose copies with . started for purposing to visit churches on the way: he left $23.31. returned to , and Milton, and sold books, with the intention of following as soon as practicable; but he stayed a day or two too long, and the river closed by the frost, from one to two weeks earlier than usual; told him that it was possible they might be from one to two years before they would leave , as it would take upwards of $1000 each to take them to and back, that it would be slow gleaning in , and assigned this as a reason for not immediately following , thinking that he would be sure of seeing him in the spring.
accused himself of not using better economy in proceeding on his journey; there came out a piece in the paper stating the displeasure of the Lord respecting and , he sat down and wrote a piece to put in the paper acknowledging the justice of the charge, but wisdom prevented its being published, preached about Washington &c., gathered funds for the mission, in Westchester and in . raised funds on behalf of the mission, by applauding ’s talents, wisdom &c, but they were disappointed in him when they saw him, he raised funds for the mission, the most liberal was in ; he intended to sail on the 25th of July, but the brethren said that if he would remain two weeks they would raise funds for him, they found that it would take longer, and he decided to stay a month, he then received a command through a letter from to an official character in , requesting him to return; he wrote to ascertain the reason but did not get an answer, he was then called in by Pres’t. J. Smith, and . would often renew the covenant between them to never part with each other in that mission. had no blame to attach to ; he supposed that he had done right but if he had been in his place he would have tarried for him until the spring.
The reports of his having apostatized &c. returned even from this place to . Many reproved him for leaving for .
Pres’t. J. Smith then arose and stated that it was wrong to make the covenant referred to by him; that it created a lack of confidence for two men to covenant to reveal all acts of secrecy or otherwise to each other—and showed a little grannyism. He said that no two men when they agreed to go together ought to separate, that the prophets of old would not and quoted the circumstance of Elijah and Elisha iii Kings 2 chap. when about to go to Gilgal, also when about to go to Jericho, and to Jordan, that Elisha could not get clear of Elijah, that he clung to his garment until he was taken to heaven and that should have stuck by , and he might have gone to , that there is nothing very bad in it, but by the experience let us profit; again, the Lord made use of as a scape-goat to procure funds for .
When returns we will reconsider the matter, and perhaps send them back to , we will fellowship until comes, and we will then weld them together and make them one. A vote was then put, and carried that we hold in full fellowship.
Voted, that be sent to . Sung a hymn—Adjourned for one hour and a half, at one o’clock.
Met agreeable to adjournment.—Sung a hymn—Prayer by .
called to know if there were any present of the rough and weak things, who wished to be , and go [p. 762] and preach, who have not been before .
then addressed those who intended to be ordained, on the subject of their duty and requirements to go to preach.
spoke concerning the elders who went forth to preach from , and were afterwards called in for the and anointing at the dedication of the , and those who go now will be called in also, when this is about to be dedicated, and will then be to go forth with mighty power having the same anointing, that all may go forth and have the same power, the first, second, and so on, of the and all those formerly ordained. This will be an important and beneficial mission, and not many years until those now sent will be called in again.
He then spoke in contradiction of a report in circulation about , , himself, and others of the , alledging that a sister had been shut in a room for several days, and that they had endeavored to induce her to believe in having two wives. Also cautioned the sisters against going to the steam boats.
Pres’t. J. Smith spoke upon the subject of the stories respecting and others, showing the folly and inconsistency of spending any time in conversing about such stories or hearkening to them, for there is no person that is acquainted with our principles would believe such lies, except the editor of the “Warsaw Signal.” for the dead, and for the healing of the body must be in the font, those coming into the church and those rebaptized may be done in the .
A box should be prepared for the use of the font, that the clerk may be paid, and a book procured by the monies to be put therein by those baptized’ the remainder to go to the use of the .—Sung a hymn. Ordinations to take place to-morrow morning—Baptisms in the font also—There were 275 ordained to the office of Elder under the hands of the Twelve during the .
April 8. Sung a hymn—Prayer by —Sung a hymn.
then addressed the assembly upon several subjects; made many interesting remarks concerning being called to the ministry, labor in the vineyard &c., spoke of his own travels and the fruits of his labors as an encouragement to the young elders who were going into the vineyard.
Pres’t. J. Smith said the baptisms would be attended to, also the ordinations.
Sung a hymn—Elder preached a sermon while the ordinations and baptisms were going on on the subject of infidelity showing that the arguments used against the bible were reasonably scientifically and philosophically false.
The was occupied in the afternoon by Elder and followed by Elder , then the Conference closed by benediction of Pres. J. Smith.
, Clerk. [p. 763]


  1. 1

    As recorded later in the minutes, JS’s second counselor, William Law, was in attendance, as were “Pres’t.” Hyrum Smith and assistant president pro tempore John C. Bennett. JS and first counselor Sidney Rigdon were absent.  

  2. 2

    While there were no formal charges against him, Page answered allegations that he had neglected his responsibility to accompany Orson Hyde on their mission to Europe and Palestine.  

  3. 3

    During the April 1841 general conference, Bennett “was presented with the First Presidency as assistant president, until Pres’t. Rigdon’s health should be restored.” (Minutes, 7–11 Apr. 1841.)  

  4. 4

    Bennett held the rank of major general in the Nauvoo Legion, while both Law and Hyrum Smith held the rank of brevet major general. (See Report of Nauvoo Legion General Court Martial, 30 Nov. 1841.)  

  5. 5

    The Nauvoo Legion was officially organized on 4 February 1841. On 7 May 1842 Woodruff described the Nauvoo Legion while on parade as making “a splended appearance . . . mostly well dressed in uniform.” An article about the same event noted that the legion had “very much improved both in good discipline and uniform, since last year.” (Minutes, 4 Feb. 1841; Woodruff, Journal, 7 May 1842; News Item, Times and Seasons, 16 May 1842, 3:790.)  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  6. 6

    This refers to the Nauvoo temple and the Nauvoo House, both of which a 19 January 1841 revelation commanded to be constructed. (Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:31, 60].)  

  7. 7

    JS and Sidney Rigdon were tarred and feathered in 1832. Bishop Edward Partridge and Charles Allen were tarred and feathered in 1833. (JS History, vol. A-1, 205–208; Minute Book 2, 10 Dec. 1838, 163–164; Edward Partridge, Affidavit, Quincy, IL, 15 May 1839, Record Group 233, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives, Washington DC.)  

    Record Group 233, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives / Petitions and Memorials, Resolutions of State Legislatures, and Related Documents Which Were Referred to the Committee on Judiciary during the 27th Congress. Committee on the Judiciary, Petitions and Memorials, 1813–1968. Record Group 233, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789–2015. National Archives, Washington DC. The LDS records cited herein are housed in National Archives boxes 40 and 41 of Library of Congress boxes 139–144 in HR27A-G10.1.

  8. 8

    Hyde departed Nauvoo on 15 April 1840; Page departed the following day. (Orson Hyde and John E. Page, Quincy, IL, 28 Apr. 1840, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, June 1840, 1:116–117.)  

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

  9. 9

    On 22 November 1841 Hyde wrote that when he arrived in Jerusalem, it appeared “precisely according to the vision which I had. I saw no one with me in the vision; and although Elder Page was appointed to accompany me there, yet I found myself there alone.” (Orson Hyde to Parley P. Pratt, 22 Nov. 1841, in Times and Seasons, 1 Apr. 1842, 3:739.)  

  10. 10

    Knight was a Latter-day Saint physician living in Indiana. (Heber C. Kimball, Pleasant Garden, IN, to Vilate Murray Kimball, 24 Oct. 1839, photocopy, Heber C. and Vilate Murray Kimball, Letters, CHL; Cady, Indiana Annual Register, 136.)  

    Kimball, Heber C., and Vilate Murray Kimball. Letters, 1837–1847. Heber C. Kimball, Correspondence and Memorandum Book, 1837–1864. Photocopy. CHL.

    Cady, C. W. The Indiana Annual Register and Pocket Manual, Revised and Corrected for the Year 1846. . . . Indianapolis: Samuel Turner, 1846.

  11. 11

    Hyde and Page arrived in Dayton, Ohio, toward the end of June 1840. The next month, Hyde reported that while there they had “preached in the court house to crowded congregations; and also in the grove” but had baptized only five people. (Letter from William W. Phelps, with Appended Letter from Orson Hyde and John E. Page, 29 June 1840; Orson Hyde, Franklin, OH, 7 July 1840, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, Aug. 1840, 1:156.)  

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

  12. 12

    The place “16 miles off” was likely Milton, Ohio. According to a July 1840 letter from Page (as summarized in the Times and Seasons), “he was then in Milton, preaching and baptizing, he had baptized six in that place” and had scheduled six more baptisms for 15 July 1840. (Ebenezer Robinson, Cincinnati, OH, 16 July 1840, in Times and Seasons, Aug. 1840, 1:156.)  

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

  13. 13

    Sidney Rigdon, An Appeal to the American People: Being an Account of the Persecutions of the Church of Latter Day Saints; and of the Barbarities Inflicted on Them by the Inhabitants of the State of Missouri, 2nd ed. (Cincinnati: Shepard and Stearns, 1840); see also Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:124–125.  

    Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 3 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997–2012.

  14. 14

    On 1 September 1841 Page estimated that Hyde left him fourteen or fifteen hundred copies. (Letter from John E. Page, 1 Sept. 1841.)  

  15. 15

    On 1 September 1841 Page recalled that he remained in Cincinnati until the “last of Oct” but came to believe “that Elder Hyde had gon ahead and suplyed the market with the sale of the ‘Appeal’ so I thought best in order to sell my Books I would go back to Dayton Milton &c.” (Letter from John E. Page, 1 Sept. 1841.)  

  16. 16

    Page might have intended to travel from Dayton to Pittsburgh on the Great Miami River, a tributary of the Ohio River. He likely expected the river to close sometime in December. According to an early American steamboat directory, the Ohio River froze for “six or eight weeks,” and then the ice broke up in February, rendering the river “open for navigation.” In March 1838 the chief engineer of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad reported that “the navigation of the Ohio River opens always by the 1st of March, and generally by the middle of February.” (Lloyd, Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, 50–51; Documents Submitted by the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company, 12; see also Roberts, Practical Views on the Proposed Improvement of the Ohio River, 48–49.)  

    Lloyd, James T. Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, and Disasters on the Western Waters, Containing the History of the First Application of Steam, as a Motive Power. . . . Cincinnati: James T. Lloyd, 1856.

    Documents Submitted by the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company, in Behalf of Their Application to the Legislature of Virginia. Richmond, VA: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, 1838.

    Roberts, W. Milnor. Practical Views on the Proposed Improvement of the Ohio River. Philadelphia: Journal of the Franklin Institute, 1857.

  17. 17

    Notice, Times and Seasons, 15 Jan. 1841, 2:287.  

  18. 18

    Page was in Philadelphia in September 1841, but his arrival date is unknown. He may have traveled there in early spring 1841, as originally planned. (Letter from John E. Page, 1 Sept. 1841.)  

  19. 19

    JS and Brigham Young, Notice, Times and Seasons, 15 Oct. 1841, 2:582.  

  20. 20

    In an 18 September 1841 letter to JS, Benjamin Winchester accused Page of being in no hurry to cross the Atlantic and join Hyde. (Letter from Benjamin Winchester, 18 Sept. 1841.)  

  21. 21

    According to JS’s journal, Page explained that “the cause of his Seperation from Elder Hyde. in his mission to Jerusalem. [was] first a covenant to communicate to each other all secrets.” (JS, Journal, 7 Apr. 1842.)  

  22. 22

    The term grannyism has not been located in any contemporary dictionaries. A nineteenth-century Presbyterian source used the term to describe youth who “yield to a tame helplessness and inertness of character . . . [and] seem to think it a great hardship to be thrown on their own resources, and often evince great reluctance to make any effort to help themselves along in their education.” (Smith, Old Redstone, 126.)  

    Smith, Joseph (1796–1858). Old Redstone; or, Historical Sketches of Western Presbyterianism, Its Early Ministers, Its Perilous Times, and Its First Records. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo, 1854.

  23. 23

    See 2 Kings 2:1–11.  

  24. 24

    JS’s reference to Page as a scapegoat seems to refer to the fact that while Page was never able to make the journey, Hyde obtained sufficient funds partly based on the promise of Page’s oratory skills. (Letter from John E. Page, 1 Sept. 1841.)  

  25. 25

    Page proselytized in Pittsburgh from late December 1841 to sometime in March 1842 on his return journey to Nauvoo. Nearly thirty Pittsburgh residents, only a handful of whom were members of the church, wrote to church leaders in Nauvoo requesting that Page be allowed to remain there or to return after reporting to Nauvoo. (Letter from George Gee, 30 Dec. 1841; Letter from Levick Sturges et al., 30 Jan. 1842; Petition from Richard Savary et al., ca. 2 Feb. 1842.)  

  26. 26

    This possibly refers to the ordination of seventies and apostles in February and March 1835; many of these men served missions later in the year. The House of the Lord in Kirtland was dedicated on 27 March 1836. Washing and anointing ceremonies were performed before the dedication, from 21 January to 6 February, and another ceremony, the washing of feet, was performed afterward, on 30 and 31 March. (Minutes, Discourse, and Blessings, 14–15 Feb. 1835; Minutes and Blessings, 21 Feb. 1835; Minutes and Blessings, 28 Feb.–1 Mar. 1835; Minutes, Discourse, and Blessings, 1 Mar. 1835; JS, Journal, 27 Mar. 1836; JS, Journal, 21–22 and 28 Jan. 1836; 6 Feb. 1836; 30–31 Mar. 1836.)  

  27. 27

    According to a January 1831 revelation, the Saints would “be endowed with power from on high” to prepare them to serve missions. John Corrill reported that JS informed those who received the washing and anointing ceremonies in the Kirtland House of the Lord that “they were now endowed with power to go forth and build up the Kingdom.” (Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:32]; Corrill, Brief History, 26.)  

  28. 28

    On 13 July 1842 Martha Brotherton, a recent British immigrant, wrote an affidavit stating that Young proposed to her in JS’s office in the upper floor of JS’s store. (Martha Brotherton, St. Louis, MO, to John C. Bennett, 13 July 1842, in Quincy [IL] Whig, 6 Aug. 1842, [2].)  

    Quincy Whig. Quincy, IL. 1838–1856.

  29. 29

    According to the travel account of Frederick Marryat, Mississippi River steamboats were “crowded” with gamblers, violent criminals, and confidence men. (Marryat, Second Series of a Diary in America, 88.)  

    Marryat, Frederick. Second Series of a Diary in America, with Remarks on Its Institutions. Philadelphia: T. K. and P. G. Collins, 1840.

  30. 30

    Sharp printed several editorials and articles criticizing JS and the Saints. (See, for example, “The Mormons,” Warsaw [IL] Signal, 19 May 1841, [2]; Editorial, Warsaw Signal, 28 July 1841, [2]; and “Jo Smith’s Proclamation,” Warsaw Signal, 26 Jan. 1842, [2].)  

    Warsaw Signal. Warsaw, IL. 1841–1853.

  31. 31

    Latter-day Saints began to perform baptisms for healing in November 1841. (Woodruff, Journal, 21 Nov. 1841; see also Stapley and Wright, “‘They Shall Be Made Whole’: A History of Baptism for Health,” 69–112.)  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

    Stapley, Jonathan A., and Kristine Wright. “‘They Shall Be Made Whole’: A History of Baptism for Health.” Journal of Mormon History 34, no. 4 (Fall 2008): 69–112.

  32. 32

    The first baptisms for the dead were performed in September 1840 in the Mississippi River. A January 1841 revelation clarified that baptisms for the dead could be performed outside the House of the Lord only “in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me.” In November 1841, when a wooden font was completed in the temple basement, baptisms for the dead began to be performed there. (Jane Harper Neyman and Vienna Jaques, Statement, 29 Nov. 1854, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, ca. 1839–1860, CHL; Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:30]; Woodruff, Journal, 21 Nov. 1841.)  

    Historian’s Office. Joseph Smith History Documents, 1839–1860. CHL. CR 100 396.

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.