Volume 4 Chapter 17

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Chapter 17

Celebration of the Twelfth Anniversary of the Organization of the Church—Order of Laying Corner-Stones of Temples—Council Meetings of the Twelve in England.

March, 25, 26 and 27, 1841.—Elders Young and Richards were detained at the Liverpool post office, as witnesses in the case of “The Queen vs. Joseph Holloway,” for detaining letters.

Saturday, 27.—Elders Wilford Woodruff, and Geo. A. Smith attended a council of the official members of the Staffordshire Conference, at Hanley.

Staffordshire Conference.

Sunday, 28.—Elders Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith attended a general meeting of the Staffordshire Conference at Hanley, when 13 branches were represented, containing 1 High Priest, 17 Elders, 55 Priests, 25 Teachers, 14 Deacons, and 663 members. Thomas J. Filcher, J. Taylor, Osmond Shaw, W. Ridge, and H. Ridge were ordained Elders, also 8 Priests, 7 Teachers, and 2 Deacons, under the hands of Wilford Woodruff, Geo. A. Smith, and Alfred Cordon. There have been 141 baptized during the past three months.

Union of Commerce and Nauvoo Plats.

Monday, 29.—I attended city council, and moved that the city surveyor be ordered to survey Commerce, and plat the same so as to correspond with the city plat of Nauvoo, and make out a map to be recorded, which was carried by the Council. Much was said in council about fining the owners of dogs, and I contended that it was right to fine individuals who would keep unruly dogs, to worry cattle, sheep, or the citizens, and an ordinance was passed to that effect.

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William Marks, president of the stake at Nauvoo, made choice of Charles C. Rich and Austin Cowles as his counselors.

Elders Young and Richards were at Liverpool packing Books of Mormon, to pay off those who had loaned them money in order to carry forward the printing and binding.

The following are extracts from Elder Woodruff’s letter.

Letter of Wilford Woodruff to Don C. Smith—Relating to Affairs in England.

Burslem, March 29, 1841.

Brother Don Carlos Smith:—The following is a brief sketch of my journey from London to this place. Elder Kimball left London on the 19th February. I left on the 26th, and arrived at Bristol on the same day, where I found Elder Kington, who was busily engaged in the work of the Lord in that city, and had established a small branch of fourteen members. I tarried there a short time and preached three times in a theatre, had large congregations, good attention, and baptized one, and there appears a good prospect of a work being done in that city. Population of Bristol, 200,000. While there I visited the suspension bridge, now erecting across the river Avon, at St. Vincent’s Rocks, Clifton; which bridge is one hundred feet in height above the river, and seven hundred in length. I spent one evening in Monmouth, on the borders of Wales; preached to a large congregation; several applied for baptism after meeting. On the 8th of March I attended a conference in Garway; Elder Levi Richards was chosen president, and James Morgan, clerk; heard four branches represented, containing one hundred and thirty-four members; three were ordained to the ministry. I also preached at Lugwardine, Shucknall Hill, Ledbury, Dymock, and Turkey Hall to large congregations, and find the work of the Lord still progressing throughout that region. The excitement upon the subject in the city of Hereford has been so great, that it has assembled together in the market place three thousand persons at a time to hear something upon the cause of the Latter-day Saints. On the 15th of March I attended the Gadfield Elm conference, which met at the Gadfield Elm Chapel. Elder Wilford Woodruff was chosen president; John Hill, clerk; 18 branches represented, containing 408 members, 8 Elders, 32 Priests, 11 Teachers and 1 Deacon; when such business was transacted as was deemed necessary. I also met large congregations at Keysend Street, Coldville, Browcut; Dunclose, Froom’s Hill, and Stanley Hill, and left many churches on the right and left, which time would not permit me to visit. I also met with the Froom’s Hill conference, on the 22nd March, at Stanley Hill, Herefordshire, there being present one of the traveling High Council, 2 High Priests, 20 Elders, 30 Priests, 9 Teachers, two Deacons. Elder Levi Richards was chosen president, and Elder Woodruff, clerk. On this occasion I heard represented 30 branches, containing 997 members, 24 Elders, 66 Priests, 27 Teachers, 7 Deacons, and 6 were ordained to the ministry. The sum total represented at these conferences was 1,539 members, 36 Elders, 103 Priests, 41 Teachers, 7 Deacons; all of whom have embraced the work in that part of the vineyard in one year, besides many members and officers who have emigrated to America; and I am happy to say that the officers and members, have universally been ready to hearken to counsel, and give heed to our instructions, and it was with no ordinary feelings that I took my farewell of those churches who have been so ready to receive and embrace the truth. I called upon the Saints in Birmingham and Gret’s Green, but had not time to hold any meetings among them. I arrived in Hanley on the 25th, where I had the privilege of again meeting with Elder Geo. A. Smith, and was rejoiced to find the churches universally prospering in Staffordshire. I spent one evening with the church at Longton, and baptized seven.

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Tuesday, 30.—Elders Woodruff and Geo. A. Smith arrived in Manchester, after a ride of forty miles.

Wednesday, 31.—Elders Young and Richards attended conference in Liverpool.

Thursday, April 1, 1841.—Elders Young and Richards went to Manchester, where they found Elders Kimball, Hyde, Woodruff and Smith, and had a happy meeting.

Friday, 2—Elders Orson Pratt and John Taylor arrived at Manchester and went into council.

Minutes of a Council Meeting of the Twelve.

Manchester, England, April 2, 1841.

This day Elders Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor and Geo. A. Smith, of the quorum of the Twelve, met together at the house of Brother James Bushaw, coachman No. 4, Gray Street, near Oxford road, in this city, in council, after having been separated and sent into various counties. To meet once more in council after a long separation, and having passed through many sore and grievous trials, exposing our lives and our characters to the slanders and violence of wicked and murderous men, caused our hearts to swell with gratitude to God for His providential care over us. Elder Young opened the council by prayer. Elders Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Parley P. Pratt, the committee appointed about a year ago to secure a copyright for the Book of Mormon, in the name of Joseph Smith, Jun., presented the following certificate:

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“Feb. 8, 1841. Then entered for his copy—the property of Joseph Smith, Jun.,—’The Book of Mormon; an account written by the hand of Mormon, upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi; translated by Joseph Smith, Jun. First European, from the second American edition. Received five copies.

“George Greenhill.”

“The above is a true copy of an entry in the register book of the Company of Stationers kept, at the hall of the said company. Witness my hand, this 17th day of February, 1841.

“George Greenhill,

Warehouse-keeper of the Company of Stationers.”

The quorum voted that they accepted the labors of said Committee.

Resolved: That as the quorum of the Twelve have had nothing to do with the printing of the Book of Mormon, they will not now interfere with it, but that the said Committee settle the financial or business matters thereof with Joseph Smith, Jun., to whom the profits rightly belong.

Resolved: That Elder Amos Fielding be appointed to superintend fiting out the Saints from Liverpool to America, under the instruction of Parley P. Pratt.

Resolved: That Brother Geo. J. Adams go to Bedford and Northampton and labor in that region.

Adjourned till tomorrow at 10 o’clock, a.m.; Elder Kimball closed by prayer.

Orson Hyde, Clerk.

Council Meeting of the Twelve—Continued.

Manchester, April 3, 1841.

This day the quorum of the Twelve met pursuant to adjournment. The president called upon Elder Hyde to open by prayer. The quorum then signed a letter of commendation to the churches in England for Elder Hyde.

The business of publishing the Star and hymn-book was then taken into consideration. Brother John Taylor moved that those who have had the care and superintendence of publishing the Star and hymn-book, should dispose of them according to their own wishes, and dispose of the proceeds in the same way; seconded by Elder Orson Pratt, and carried by unanimous vote. Moved by Elder Young, and seconded by Elder Kimball, that Elder Parley P. Pratt conduct the publication of the Millennial Star as editor of the same, after the close of the present volume. Resolved, that Elder Parley P. Pratt reprint the hymn-book if he deem it expedient. The hymn-book is not to be altered, except the typographical errors. The above resolution was moved by Elder Geo. A. Smith, and seconded by Elder Wilford Woodruff; carried unanimously. Conference adjourned.

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Orson Hyde, Clerk.

Sunday, 4.—The President of the United States, William Henry Harrison died at Washington of the pleurisy.

Nine of the Twelve at Manchester attended meeting at Carpenter’s hall, and individually bore testimony of the fulness of the everlasting Gospel.

Council Meeting of the Twelve—Continued.

Manchester, April 5, 1841.

Met pursuant to adjournment. Elder Orson Pratt opened the council by prayer. It was resolved that the 17th day of April be the day appointed for the Twelve who are going to America, to set sail from Liverpool. Moved by Elder Kimball and seconded by Elder Woodruff that the Twelve do business at the conference as a quorum, and call upon the Church or conference to sanction it. Adjourned till the 6th instant, to meet in general conference at Carpenter’s Hall, at 10 o’clock a.m.

O. Hyde, Clerk.

Twelfth Anniversary of the Organization of the Church.

April 6, 1841.—The first day of the twelfth year of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! At an early hour the several companies comprising the Nauvoo Legion, with two volunteer companies from Iowa Territory, making sixteen companies in all, assembled at their several places of rendezvous, and were conducted in due order to the ground assigned for general review. The appearance, order and movements of the Legion, were chaste, grand and imposing, and reflected great credit upon the taste, skill and tact of the men comprising said Legion. We doubt whether the like can be presented in any other city in the western country. At half-past seven o’clock a.m., the fire of artillery announced the arrival of Brigadier-Generals Law and Don Carlos Smith, at the front of their respective cohorts; and at 8 o’clock Major-General Bennett was conducted to his post, under the discharge of cannon, and took command of the Legion.

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At half-past nine o’clock a.m., Lieutenant-General Smith, with his guard, staff and field officers arrived at the ground, and were presented with a beautiful silk national flag by the ladies of Nauvoo, which was respectfully received and hailed by the firing of cannon, and borne off by Colonel Robinson, the cornet, to the appropriate position in the line; after which the Lieutenant-General with his suite passed the lines in review.

At twelve m., the procession arrived upon the Temple ground, enclosing the same in a hollow square, with Lieutenant-General Smith, Major-General Bennett, Brigadier-Generals Wilson Law and Don Carlos Smith, their respective staffs, guard, field officers, distinguished visitors, choir, band, &c., in the centre, and the ladies and gentlemen, citizens, surrounding in the interior. The superior officers, together with the banner, architects, principal speaker, &c., were duly conducted to the stand at the principal corner stone, and the religious services were commenced by singing from page 65 of the new hymn book.

Sidney Rigdon’s Speech.

President Sidney Rigdon then addressed the assembly, and remarked the circumstances under which he addressed the people were of no ordinary character, but of peculiar and indescribable interest, that it was the third occasion of a similar nature, wherein he had been called upon to address the people, and to assist in laying the corner stones of houses to be erected in honor of the God of the Saints. Various scenes had transpired since the first was laid—he with some who were with him on that occasion, had waded through scenes that no other people had ever seen—not cursed, but blessed with. They had seen the blood of the innocent flow, and heard the groans of those dying for the witness of Jesus; in all those scenes of tribulation, his confidence, his courage and his joy had been increasing instead of diminishing. Now the scene had changed; persecution had in a measure subsided; peace and safety, friendship and joy crowned their assembling; and their endeavors to serve God were respected and viewed with interest. The Saints had assembled, not to violate law and trample upon equity and good social order; not to devastate and destroy; but to lift up the standard of liberty and law, to stand in defense of civil and religious, rights, to protect the innocent, to save mankind, and to obey the will and mandate of the Lord of glory; to call up to remembrance the once crucified, but now exalted and glorified Savior; to say that He is again revealed, that He speaks from the heavens, that He reigns; in honor of Him to tell the world that He lives, and speaks, and reigns and dictates—that not every people can build a house to Him, but that people whom He Himself directs—that the present military display is not to usurp authority, but to obey as they are commanded and directed; to honor, not the world, but Him that is alive and reigns, the all in all, the invisible, but beholding, and guiding and directing—that the Saints boast of their King; of His wisdom, His understanding, His power and His goodness—that they honor a God of unbounded power and glory—that He is the chief corner stone in Zion, also the top stone—that He cannot be conquered—that He is working in the world to guide, to conquer, and to subdue—that as formerly, so now He works by revelation—that this is the reason why we are here, and why we are thus—that the Saints have sacrificed all things for the testimony of Jesus Christ—that some from different parts of Europe and from Canada, as well as the different parts of the United States, are present, and among all, a unanimity of purpose and feeling prevails—and why? Because the same God over all had spoken from the heavens and again revealed Himself. He remarked that he defied the devil to collect such an assembly; none but Jesus would or could accomplish such things as we are about to behold; the devil will not build up, but tear down and destroy; the work of Jesus is like Himself in all ages—that as light shines from the east, and spreads itself to the west, so is the progress of spiritual light and truth—that Jesus is a God of order, regularity and uniformity—that he works now by revelation and by messengers as anciently—shows Himself—lifts the veil; that such things are marvelous, but nevertheless true—that the order of laying the corner stones was expressive of the order of the kingdom—that the minutia were subject matter of revelation, and all the scenery, acts of obedience are understood by the Saints—that the ancient Prophets beheld and rejoiced at this scene, and are near to witness the fulfillment of their predictions—that we are highly favored of God, and brought near to the spirits of just men made perfect. He then closed by exhortation, first to the multitude, and lastly to the Church. The speaker then gave out a hymn, page 205, and closed by prayer.

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The architects then, by the direction of the First Presidency, lowered the first (the south-east corner) stone to its place, and President Joseph Smith pronounced the benediction as follows:

This principal corner stone in representation of the First Presidency, is now duly laid in honor of the Great God; and may it there remain until the whole fabric is completed; and may the same be accomplished speedily; that the Saints may have a place to worship God, and the Son of Man have where to lay His head.

President Sidney Rigdon then pronounced the following:

May the persons employed in the erection of this house be preserved from all harm while engaged in its construction, till the whole is completed, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Even so. Amen.

Adjourned for one hour.

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Assembled according to adjournment, and proceeded to lay the remaining corner stones, according to previous order.

The second (south-west corner) stone, by the direction of the president of the High Priesthood, with his council and President Marks, was lowered to its place, when the president of the High Priesthood pronounced the following:

The second corner stone of the Temple now building by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in honor of the Great God, is duly laid, and may the same unanimity, that has been manifested on this occasion continue till the whole is completed; that peace may rest upon it to the laying of the top stone thereof, and the turning of the key thereof; that the Saints may participate in the blessings of Israel’s God, within its walls, and the glory of God rest upon the same. Amen.

The third (the north-west corner) stone, superintended by the High Council, was then lowered to its place, with the benediction of Elias Higbee, as follows:

The third corner stone is now duly laid; may this stone be a firm support to the building that the whole may be completed as before proposed.

The fourth (the north-east corner) stone, superintended by the Bishops, was then lowered to its place, and Bishop Whitney pronounced the following:

The fourth and last corner stone, expressive of the Lesser Priesthood, is now duly laid, and may the blessings before pronounced, with all others desirable, rest upon the same forever. Amen.

The services were then declared closed, and the military retired to the parade ground and were dismissed with the approbation and thanks of the commanding officer. The military band, under the command of Captain Duzette, made a conspicuous and dignified appearance, and performed their part honorably. Their soul-stirring strains met harmoniously the rising emotions that swelled each bosom, and stimulated us onward to the arduous but pleasing and honorable duties of the day. The choir also, under the direction of B. S. Wilber, deserve commendation.

Conduct of the People.

What added greatly to the happiness we experienced on this interesting occasion, is the fact that we heard no obscene or profane language; neither saw we any one intoxicated. Can the same be said of a similar assemblage in any other city in the Union? Thank God that the intoxicating beverage, the bane of humanity in these last days, is becoming a stranger in Nauvoo.

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In conclusion, we will say we never witnessed a more imposing spectacle than was presented on this occasion, and during the sessions of the conference. Such a multitude of people moving in harmony, in friendship, in dignity, told in a voice not easily misunderstood, that they were a people of intelligence, and virtue and order; in short, that they were Saints; and that the God of love, purity and light, was their God, their Examplar, and Director; and that they were blessed and happy.

Order of Laying Corner Stones of Temples.

If the strict order of the Priesthood were carried out in the building of Temples, the first stone would be laid at the south-east corner, by the First Presidency of the Church. The south-west corner should be laid next. The third, or north-west corner next; and the fourth, or north-east corner last. The first Presidency should lay the south-east corner stone and dictate who are the proper persons to lay the other corner stones.

If a Temple is built at a distance, and the First Presidency are not present, then the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are the persons to dictate the order for that Temple; and in the absence of the Twelve Apostles, then the Presidency of the Stake will lay the south-east corner stone; the Melchisedec Priesthood laying the corner stones on the east side of the Temple, and the Lesser Priesthood those on the west side.

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Conference at Philadelphia.

A Conference was held at Philadelphia; President Hyrum Smith presiding; many branches were represented and the branch at Philadelphia was organized by electing Benjamin Winchester, President, and Edson Whipple, and William Wharnot, his Counselors. Jacob Syphret was elected Bishop, and Jesse Prince and James Nicholson his Counselors.

Meeting of the Council of the Twelve in Manchester.

The Council of the Twelve assembled at Manchester, in Carpenter’s Hall, on the 6th day of April, 1841, for the first time to transact business as a quorum in the presence of the Church, in a foreign land; being the first day of the 12th year of the rise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nine of the quorum were present; viz., Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards, John Taylor and Geo. A. Smith, President Young having called the meeting to order, and organized, the conference then opened by prayer. Elder Thomas Ward was chosen Clerk. The President then made some introductory remarks relative to the organization of the Church in the House of the Lord in America, in reference to the different quorums in their respective orders and authorities in the Church.

The representation of the churches and conferences throughout the kingdom was then called for.

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Conference adjourned till 2 p.m.

Conference met pursuant to adjournment; opened by prayer.

Scattering members were then represented, consisting of nearly fifty, not included in any of the above branches.

President Young then proceeded to make some remarks on the office of Patriarch, and concluded by moving that Elder John Albertson 1 be ordained to that office. Seconded by Elder Kimball, and carried unanimously.

Resolved: That George D. Watt, George J. Adams, Amos Fielding, William Kay, John Sanders, Thomas Richardson, James Whitehead, Thomas Domville, James Galley and George Simpson be ordained High Priests.

Resolved: That the following persons be ordained Elders—William Miller, William Leach, John Sands, William Moon, William Hardman, William Black, John Goodfellow, Joseph Brotherton, Richard Benson, Theophilus Brotherton, John McIlwick, and William Green.

Resolved: That Manchester, Stockport, Dukinfield, Oldham, Bolton, and all the neighboring branches be organized into one conference, to be called the Manchester Conference.

That the Church in Brampton, Alston, and Carlisle be included in one conference.

That the churches of Liverpool, Isles of Man, Wales, viz., Overton, Harding and Ellsmere, be organized into one conference, to be called the Liverpool conference.

Resolved: That the Macclesfield Conference include Macclesfield, Northwich, Middlewich, and Lostock.

That Edinburgh Conference include Glasgow, Paisley, Bridge of Weir, Johnstone and Thorney Bank.

That George D. Watt preside over the Edinburgh Conference.

That John Greenhow preside over the Liverpool Conference.

That Thomas Ward preside over the Clitheroe Conference.

That Lorenzo Snow preside over the London Conference.

That James Galley preside over the Macclesfield Conference.

That Alfred Cordon preside over the Staffordshire Conference.

That James Riley be ordained a High Priest, and preside over the Birmingham Conference.

That James McAnley preside over the Glasgow Conference.

That Thomas Richardson preside over the Gadfield Elm Conference.

That William Kay preside over the Froom’s Hill Conference.

That Levi Richards have the superintendence of the Garway Conference.

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That Peter Melling preside over the Preston Conference.

That John Sanders preside over the Brampton Conference.

Adjourned till seven o’clock, p.m.

Met pursuant to adjournment; commenced by singing, “When shall we all meet again,” and prayer.

The Patriarch Peter Melling, was then called upon to pronounce a patriarchal blessing upon the head of John Albertson, previous to his being ordained to the office of Patriarch. Laying his hands upon him he blessed him in the following words:

“John, I lay my hands upon thy head, in the name of Jesus Christ; and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood committed unto me, I pronounce upon thy head the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and I say unto thee, that, inasmuch as it is in thy heart to do the will of the Lord, thou shalt be blessed, and the desires of thy heart shall be granted thee; and the Lord God will enlarge thy heart; and, inasmuch as thou wilt be humble and faithful before the Lord in thy calling, even that of a Patriarch, thou shalt be blessed, strengthened, and have great wisdom and understanding; thy bowels shall be filled with compassion for the widow and fatherless; and I pray that our Father in Heaven will take thee into His own care, and as He feels for thy welfare, thou shalt be made strong in faith, and the Lord shall bless thee and open thy understanding. Thou shalt know the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and the mysteries of heaven shall be opened to thy mind. Thou shalt also have the gift of prophecy and revelation, and thou shalt predict those things that shall take place to the latest generation. I pray that our Father in heaven may confer these blessings upon thy head; yea, thou shalt be a mighty man, if thou wilt be a faithful man, and a humble man, so that thou mayst be an ornament to thy calling, and a blessing to thy posterity; yea, thy posterity shall be blessed, and they shall become mighty upon the earth, and become blessed inasmuch as thou wilt be faithful in all things, and watch unto prayer. Thou shalt finally overcome, and be lifted up on high, and inherit the mansions prepared for thee in the kingdom of our God. Thou art of the blood of Ephraim; and I seal these blessings upon thy head in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen, and amen.”

The Apostles then laid hands on John Albertson, and ordained him to the office of Patriarch.

The ordinations of the High Priests then took place; but, from the pressure of business, it was directed that the High Priests who were present should retire to the vestry, with those who were to be ordained Elders, and there ordain them at the same time that the ordinations of the High Priests were proceeding.

Several appropriate discourses were delivered by different members of the Twelve Apostles in relation to the duties of the officers in their respective callings, and the duties and privileges of the members; also of the prosperity of the work in general.

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A very richly ornamented cake, a present from New York, from Elder George J. Adams’ wife to the Twelve, was then exhibited to the meeting. This was blessed by them and distributed to all the officers and members, and the whole congregation, consisting, perhaps, of seven hundred people; a large fragment was still preserved for some who were not present. During the distribution several appropriate hymns were sung, and a powerful and general feeling of delight universally pervaded the meeting.

While this was proceeding, Elder Parley P. Pratt composed, and handed over to the clerk, the following lines, which the clerk then read to the meeting:

When in far distant regions,
As strangers we roam,
Far away from our country,
Our friends and our home:

When sinking in sorrow,
Fresh courage we’ll take,
As we think of our friends,
And remember the cake.

Elder Orson Hyde appealed powerfully to the meeting, and covenanted with the Saints present, in a bond of mutual prayer, during his mission to Jerusalem and the East, which was sustained on the part of the hearers with a hearty amen.

Elder Fielding remarked respecting the rich cake of which they had been partaking, that he considered it a type of the good things of that land from whence it came, and from which they had received the fullness of the Gospel.

The number of official members present at this conference was then taken, viz., quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 9; Patriarchs, 2; High Priests, 16; quorum of the Seventies, 2; Elders, 31; Priests, 28; Teachers, 17; Deacons, 2.

Elders Brigham Young and William Miller then sang the hymn “Adieu, my dear brethren,” &c., and President Young blessed the congregation and dismissed them.

Brigham Young, Chairman.
Thomas Ward, Clerk.

Chapter 17.

1. John Albertson was the second Patriarch ordained in England, Peter Melling being the first, he was ordained the 17th of April, 1840.