The Organization of the Seventies—Blessing of the Faithful Elders and Saints.
The Calling of Seventies.
On the 28th of February, the Church in council assembled, commenced selecting certain individuals to be Seventies, 1 from the number of those who went up to Zion with me in the camp; and the following are the names of those who were ordained and blessed at that time, to begin the organization of the first quorum of Seventies, according to the visions 2 and revelations which I have received. The Seventies are to constitute traveling quorums, to go into all the earth, whithersoever the Twelve Apostles shall call them. 3
Names of the Presidents and Members of the First Quorum of Seventies, Ordained Under the Hand of the Prophet Joseph Smith, with his two Counselors, Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery. 4
Hazen Aldrich, Leonard Rich, Joseph Young, Zebedee Coltrin, Levi W. Hancock, Lyman Sherman, Sylvester Smith.
Elias Hutchings, Harpin Riggs, Cyrus Smalling, Edson Barney. Levi Gifford, Joseph B. Noble, Stephen Winchester, Henry Benner, Roger Orton, David Evans, Peter Buchannan, Nathan B. Baldwin, John D. Parker, Burr Riggs, David Elliot, Lewis Robbins, Samuel Brown, Alexander Whitesides, Salmon Warner, George W. Brooks, Jacob Chapman, Michael Griffith, Charles Kelly, Royal Barney, Edmund Fisher, Libbeus T. Coons, Warren Parrish, Willard Snow, Joseph Hancock, Jesse D. Harmon, Alden Burdick, Heman T. Hyde, Hiram Winters, Lorenzo D. Barnes. Hiram Blackman, Hiram Stratton, William D. Pratt, Moses Martin, Zera S. Cole, Lyman Smith, Jesse Huntsman, Harvey Stanley, Solomon Angel, Almon W. Babbitt, Henry Herriman, William F. Cahoon, Israel Barlow, Darwin Richardson, Wilkins Jenkins Salisbury, Milo Andrus, Nelson Higgins, True Glidden, Harry Brown, Henry Shibley, Jezeniah B. Smith, Harrison Burgess, Lorenzo Booth, Jedediah M. Grant, Alexander Badlam, Daniel Stephens, Zerubbabel Snow, Amasa M. Lyman, George A. Smith.
The Prophet’s Remarks on the Sacrament.
The council adjourned to the day following, March 1st, when, after attending the funeral of Seth Johnson, several who had recently been baptized, were confirmed, and the sacrament was administered to the Church. Previous to the administration, I spoke of the propriety of this institution in the Church, and urged the importance of doing it with acceptance before the Lord, and asked, How long do you suppose a man may partake of this ordinance unworthily, and the Lord not withdraw His Spirit from him? How long will he thus trifle with sacred things, and the Lord not give him over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption! The Church should know if they are unworthy from time to time to partake, lest the servants of God be forbidden to administer it. Therefore our hearts ought to be humble, and we to repent of our sins, and put away evil from among us.
After sacrament the council continued the ordination and blessing of those previously called; also John Murdock and S. W. Denton were ordained and blessed; Benjamin Winchester, Hyrum Smith, and Frederick G.Williams were blessed; and Joseph Young and Sylvester Smith were ordained presidents of Seventies.
The Blessing of those who assisted in Building the House of the Lord at Kirtland.
March 7.—This day a meeting of the Church of Latter-day Saints was called for the purpose of blessing, in the name of the Lord, those who have heretofore assisted in building, by their labor and other means, the House of the Lord in this place.
The morning was occupied by President Joseph Smith, Jun., in teaching the Church the propriety and necessity of purifying itself. In the afternoon, the names of those who had assisted to build the house were taken, and further instructions received from President Smith. He said that those who had distinguished themselves thus far by consecrating to the upbuilding of the House of the Lord, as well as laboring thereon, were to be remembered; that those who build it should own it, and have the control of it.
After further remarks, those who performed the labor on the building voted unanimously that they would continue to labor thereon, till the house should be completed.
President Sidney Rigdon was appointed to lay on hands and bestow blessings in the name of the Lord.
The Presidents were blessed; and Reynolds Cahoon, Hyrum Smith, and Jared Carter, the building committee, though the last two were not present, yet their rights in the house were preserved.
The following are the names of those who were blessed in consequence of their labor on the house of the Lord in Kirtland, and those who consecrated to its upbuilding:
Sidney Rigdon, Maleum C. Davis, Joseph Smith, Jun., Jaman Aldrich, F. G. Williams, John Young, Sen., Joseph Smith, Sen., Ezra Strong, Oliver Cowdery, Joel McWithy, Newel K. Whitney, Matthew Foy, Reynolds Cahoon, James Randall, Hyrum Smith, John P. Greene, Jared Carter, Aaron E. Lyon, Jacob Bump, Thomas Burdick, Artemus Millet, Truman Wait, Alpheus Cutler, Edmund Bosley, Asa Lyman, William Bosley, Josiah Butterfield, William Perry, Noah Packard, Don Carlos Smith, James Putnam, Shadrach Roundy,
Isaac Hill, Joel Johnson, Edmund Durfee, Sen., Oliver Higley, Edmund Durfee, Jun., Evan M. Greene, Gideon Ormsby, Levi Osgood, Albert Miner, Alpheus Harmon, Ira Ames, Joseph C. Kingsbury, Salmon Gee, Ira Bond, Peter Shirts, Z. H. Brewster, Isaac Hubbard, Samuel Thomson, Horace Burgess, John Ormsby, Dexter Stillman, Luman Carter, Amos P. Herrick, John Smith, Mayhew Hillman, Samuel H. Smith, William Carter, Thomas Fisher, William Burgess, Starry Fisk, Giles Cook, Amos R. Orton, Almon Sherman, Gad Yale, Warren Smith, John Johnson, Moses Bailey, John Tanner, Sebe Ives, Henry G. Sherwood, Andrew H. Aldrich, Sidney Tanner, Ebenezar Jennings, Joseph Tippits, Oliver Granger, Robert Quigley, Orson Johnson, Erastus Babbitt, James Lake, Samuel Canfield, William Redfield, Phineas H. Young, Cyrus Lake, Samuel Rolfe, Harvey Smith, Calvin W. Stoddard, Issac Cleveland, Josiah Fuller, William Barker, Erastus Rudd, Samuel S. Brannan, Isaac G. Bishop, John Wheeler, Roswell Murray, Henry Baker, Benjamin Wells, William Fisk, Nehemiah Harman, Henry Wilcox, Oliver Wetherby, George Gee, Thomas Hancock, Lorenzo D. Young, Josuah Grant, David Clough, William Draper, James Durfee, Ransom Van Leuven, Joseph Coe, Tunis Rappellee, Thomas Gates, John Reed, Loren Babbitt, Samuel Wilcox, Blake Baldwin, Benjamin Johnson, Joseph B. Bosworth.
The blessings and ordinations of particular individuals of the foregoing were as follows:—Reynolds Cahoon, Jacob Bump, and Artemus Millet, were blessed with the blessings of heaven and a right in the house of the Lord in Kirtland, agreeable to the labor they had performed thereon, and the means they had contributed.
Alpheus Cutler, Asa Lyman, Josiah Butterfield, Noah Packard, Jonas Putnam, and Isaac Hill received the same blessing. The blessing referred to was according to each man’s labor or donation, and in addition, Elder Packard was promised wisdom and ability to proclaim the Gospel. Edmund Durfee, Sen., Edmund Durfee, Jun., and Gideon Ormsby received the same blessing, and Edmund Durfee, Jun., was ordained an Elder. Albert Miner, Ira Ames, Salmon Gee, Peter Shirts, Isaac Hubbard, and Horace Burgess were blessed, and Peter Shirts and Horace Burgess were ordained Elders. Dexter Stillman, Amos F. Herrick, and Matthew Hillman were blessed. William Burgess, Jaman Aldrich, and John Young, Sen., were blessed. Giles Cook, Jun., and M. C. Davis were blessed and ordained Elders. Wm. Carter, who was blind, was promised a restoration of sight, if faithful. Ezra Strong, Joel McWithy, Matthew Foy, James Randall, and Aaron C. Lyon were blessed. John P. Greene was ordained a missionary to the Lamanites, after others have unlocked the door, with a promise of gathering many to Zion, and of returning with great joy at the end of his mission, to enjoy the blessings of his family. Thomas Burdick, Truman Wait and Edmund Bosley were blessed, and Elder Bosley was told that God had a work for him, viz. : to go and preach the Gospel to the sectarian priests of this age, to call after them and hunt them up, wherever he could hear of them, and preach the Gospel to them whether they will hear or forbear. William Bosley and William Berry were blessed and ordained Elders. Don Carlos Smith was blessed with a promise of wisdom to proclaim the Gospel, and also to write in wisdom. Shadrach Roundy, Joel Johnson, and Oliver Higbee were blessed.
Adjourned till tomorrow.
March 8th.—Met pursuant to adjournment. Evan M. Greene, Levi Osgood, Alpheus Harmon, Joseph C. Kingsbury, Ira Bond, Z. H. Brewster, Samuel Tompkins, John Ormsby, Luman Carter, John Smith, Samuel H. Smith, Thomas Fisher, Starry Fisk, Amos R. Orton and Almon Sherman were blessed. Amos R. Orton was ordained an Elder and a missionary to the Lamanites. Andrew H. Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, Sebe Ives, Ebenezer Jennings, Oliver Granger, Orson Johnson, Warren Smith, James Lake, and William Redfield were blessed, and William Redfield was ordained an Elder. Cyrus Lake, Harvey Smith, Isaac Cleveland, William Baker, Samuel S. Brannan, John Wheeler, Henry Baker, William Fisk, Henry Wilcox, George W. Gee, David Clough, and Lorenzo D. Young were blessed, and Elder Young was set apart as a missionary to the Lamanites. Jas. Durfee, Jos. Coe, Thos. Gates, Loren Babbitt, Blake Baldwin, and Jos. B. Baldwin were blessed. John Johnson, John Tanner and Gad Yale were blessed; and Gad Yale, being one who went to the relief of the brethren in Missouri, was blessed accordingly. Henry G. Sherwood, Sidney Tanner, Joseph H. Tippits, Robert Quigley, and Erastus Babbitt were blessed, and Samuel Canfield was blessed and ordained an Elder. Phineas H. Young, Samuel Rolfe, and Calvin H. Stoddard were blessed, and Elder Young was ordained a missionary to the Lamanites. Erastus Rudd, Josiah Fuller, Isaac H. Bishop, Roswell Murray, Benjamin Wells, Nehemiah Harman, Thomas Hancock, Oliver Wetherby, Joshua Grant, Jun., William Draper, Jun., Ransom Van Leuven, Tunis Rappellee, John Rudd, and Samuel Wilcox were blessed. Moses Martin, who went to Missouri. was set apart to be one of the Seventies, and blessed and warned as follows: “If thou art not purified, thou wilt not be able to execute thy commission. Thou wilt fall into the snares and into the hands of enemies who will take thy life; thou must begin to make a complete reformation in thyself.”
The following belong to the Seventies, but the date of their ordinations is not definitely known: Milo Andrus, Joseph Winchester, Zerubbabel Snow, Heman T. Hyde, Henry Brown. Nelson Higgins, (Hezekiah Fisk was blessed, but was not one of the Seventies,) Henry Beaman, Jesse Huntsman, Royal Barney, Zebedee Coltrin, Henry Herriman, and Lorenzo D. Barnes. James L. Thompson was blessed, but not ordained.
1. The organization of quorums of Seventy in the Church was regarded as a very strange thing in modern times, but that such an organization had existed in the Church of God, both in the days of Moses and also in the days of Messiah, is evident from the scriptures. The Lord said to Moses: “Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. * * * Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. * * * And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not His hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink” (Exodus 24:1, 9, 11). And again, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone. * * * And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease” (Numbers 11:16-17, 24-25).
It is not clear from the Old Testament just what the functions of the Seventy were in the Hebrew Priesthood, but they certainly were endowed with prophetic powers, and it is quite probable that the Sanhedrin (consisting of seventy-one members, inclusive of the president,) of later Jewish times had some relation to this earlier council of seventy.
The organization of the Seventy by the Savior is alluded to in the tenth chapter of Luke as follows: “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, [from this it appears that quorums of seventy had been appointed previous to this] and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come. Therefore said He unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would sent forth laborers into His harvest. Go your way: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the Son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.” That is, while these men were sent forth without purse and scrip it was evidently not the intention of the Lord that they should beg from door to door. Continuing His instructions, the Master said: “And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you. notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. * * He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me and he that despiseth me despiseth Him that sent me.” The Seventy, it appears went forth under these instructions and were successful, for Luke continues: “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name.” After this very plain allusion to this order of the Priesthood called the Seventy, these instructions, and the definitions given of their duties and callings, there can be no doubt as to their constituting an important factor in the Christian Church Organization. The absence of such quorums of Priesthood in modern Church establishments is but one among many other evidences that the Church of Christ had ceased from among men.
3. The quorums of Seventy, in other words—in connection with the Twelve Apostles, under whose direction they labor—constitute the foreign ministry or the Church; and when the kind of labor they are expected to perform is taken into account, it will be found that their organization is admirably adopted for their work—the means are adequate to the end proposed. In all other quorums of the high Priesthood, excepting the Twelve, the presidency consists of a president and two counselors, but the presidency of the quorum of Seventy consists of seven presidents, equal in authority. For the sake of order, however, precedence is recognized in seniority of ordination; that is, the senior president by ordination—not of age—presides in the council, and over the quorum; and in the event of his absence, then the next senior president by ordination has the right of initiative and presides, and so on down the line of presidents. The order established in the Church for the work of the foreign ministry is for Elders to travel two and two. This doubtless for the reason that the Lord would establish His word by the mouths of two witnesses at least, to say nothing of the pleasure that would be derived from the companionship subsisting between two Elders while traveling among strangers, and even among enemies. A quorum of Seventy, if sent out into the world as a body, is capable of realizing all the advantages conceivable from organization. It can be broken up into just seven groups of ten members; with each group would be a president; these groups can be sub-divided into five pairs, who could scatter out into various neighborhoods, occasionally meet in conference with the group of ten to which the respective pairs belonged, and at greater intervals, the several groups could be called together for quorum conference. Thus a quorum of Seventy can be a veritable flying column, making proclamation of the Gospel, the like of which is to be found nowhere outside the Church of Christ.
4. Instead of giving the forty names that here follow the statement of the Prophet in his history, I give the entire list of names that constituted the first quorum of Seventy, as written by the late President Joseph Young, in his “History of the Organization of the Seventies.” All the brethren given in this list were not ordained on this 28th day of February, 1835, but all who were ordained on that date, of course, are included in this list. Of this organization of the quorum of Seventy, the statement of Elder Joseph Young, who became the senior president of the first council, has already been given at page 181.