Opening of the Year 1836—The American Indians—Special Council Meetings in Kirtland.
Reflections of the Prophet.
Friday Morning, January 1, 1836.—This being the beginning of a new year, my heart is filled with gratitude to God that He has preserved my life, and the lives of my family, while another year has passed away. We have been sustained and upheld in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, although exposed to all the afflictions, temptations, and misery that are incident to human life; for this I feel to humble myself in dust and ashes, as it were, before the Lord. But notwithstanding the gratitude that fills my heart on retrospecting the past year, and the multiplied blessings that have crowned our heads, my heart is pained within me, because of the difficulty that exists in my father’s family. The devil has made a violent attack on my brother William and Calvin Stoddard, and the powers of darkness seem to lower over their minds, and not only over theirs, but they also cast a gloomy shade over the minds of my brethren and sisters, which prevents them from seeing things as they really are; and the powers of earth and hell seem combined to overthrow us and the Church, by causing a division in the family; and indeed the adversary is bringing into requisition all his subtlety to prevent the Saints from being endowed, by causing a division among the Twelve, also among the Seventy, and bickering and jealousies among the Elders and the official members of the Church; and so the leaven of iniquity ferments and spreads among the members of the Church. But I am determined that nothing on my part shall be lacking to adjust and amicably dispose of and settle all family difficulties on this day, that the ensuing year and years, be they few or many, may be spent in righteousness before God. And I know that the cloud will burst, and Satan’s kingdom be laid in ruins, with all his black designs; and that the Saints will come forth like gold seven times tried in the fire, being made perfect through sufferings and temptations, and that the blessings of heaven and earth will be multiplied upon their heads; which may God grant for Christ’s sake. Amen.
Reconciliation of the Prophet and his Brother William.
Brothers William and Hyrum, and Uncle John Smith, came to my house, and we went into a room by ourselves, in company with father and Elder Martin Harris. Father Smith then opened our interview by prayer, after which he expressed himself on the occasion in a very feeling and pathetic manner, even with all the sympathy of a father, whose feelings were deeply wounded on account of the difficulty that was existing in the family; and while he addressed us, the Spirit of God rested down upon us in mighty power, and our hearts were melted. Brother William made a humble confession and asked my forgiveness for the abuse he had offered me. And wherein I had been out of the way, I asked his forgiveness. And the spirit of confession and forgiveness was mutual among us all, and we covenanted with each other, in the sight of God, and the holy angels, and the brethren, to strive thenceforward to build each other up in righteousness in all things, and not listen to evil reports concerning each other; but, like brothers indeed, go to each other, with grievances, in the spirit of meekness, and be reconciled, and thereby promote our happiness, and the happiness of the family, and, in short, the happiness and well-being of all. My wife and mother and my scribe were then called in, and we repeated the covenant to them that we had entered into; and while gratitude swelled our bosoms, tears flowed from our eyes. I was then requested to close our interview, which I did, with prayer; and it was truly a jubilee and time of rejoicing; after which we all unitedly administered, by laying on of hands, to my cousin George A. Smith, who was immediately healed of a severe rheumatic affection all over the body, which caused excruciating pain.
Settlement of William Smith’s case Before the Council.
Saturday, January 2.—According to previous arrangement, I went to the Council at nine o’clock. This Council was called to sit in judgment on a complaint preferred against Brother William Smith, by Orson Johnson, on the 29th of December.
The Council organized and proceeded to business, but before entering on trial, Brother William arose and humbly confessed the charges preferred against him, and asked the forgiveness of the Council and the whole congregation.
A vote was then called to know whether his confession was satisfactory, and whether the brethren would extend again to him the hand of fellowship. With cheerfulness the whole congregation raised their hands to receive him.
Elder Almon W. Babbitt also confessed the charges which I preferred against him in a previous Council; and was received into fellowship.
Council voted that Vinson Knight and Thomas Grover should be ordained Elders. And some other business was transacted in union and fellowship, and the best of feeling seemed to prevail among the brethren, and our hearts were made glad on the occasion, and there was joy in heaven, and my soul doth magnify the Lord, for His goodness and mercy endure forever.
Elijah Fordham, Hyrum Dayton, Samuel James and John Herrot were also appointed by Council to be ordained Elders under my hands.
Sunday, 3.—Went to meeting at the usual hour. President Rigdon delivered a fine lecture upon the subject of Revelation.
In the afternoon I confirmed ten or twelve persons who had been baptized, among whom was Malcham C. Davis, who was baptized during the intermission today. Brother William Smith made his confession to the Church to their satisfaction, and was cordially received into fellowship again. The Lord’s Supper was administered, and Brother William gave out an appointment to preach in the evening at early candle-light, and preached a fine discourse; and this day has been a day of rejoicing to me. The cloud that has been hanging over us has burst with blessings on our heads, and Satan has been foiled in his attempts to destroy me and the Church, by causing jealousies to arise in the hearts of some of the brethren; and I thank my heavenly Father for the union and harmony which now prevail in the Church.
Preparation for the Hebrew School.
Monday, 4.—Met and organized our Hebrew school according to the arrangements that were made on Saturday last. We had engaged Doctor Piexotto to teach us in the Hebrew language, when we had our room prepared. We informed him that we were ready and our room was prepared. And he agreed to wait on us this day, and deliver his introductory lecture. Yesterday he sent us word that he could not come until Wednesday next. A vote was then called to know whether we would submit to such treatment or not; and carried in the negative; and Elder Sylvester Smith was appointed clerk to write him on the subject, and inform him that his services were not wanted; and Elders William E. M’Lellin and Orson Hyde despatched to Hudson Seminary to hire a teacher. They were appointed by the voice of the school to act in their behalf. However, we concluded to go on with our school and do the best we could until we obtained a teacher; and by the voice of the school I consented to render them all the assistance I was able to for the time being.
We are occupying the translating room for the use of the school, until another room can be prepared. It is the west room in the upper part of the Temple, and was consecrated this morning by prayer, offered up by Father Smith. This is the first day we have occupied it. This is a rainy time, and the roads are extremely muddy.
Met this evening at the Temple, to make arrangements for a singing school. After some discussion, a judicious arrangement was made, a committee of six was chosen to take charge of the singing department.
Tuesday, 5.—Attended the Hebrew school, divided it into classes. Had some debate with Elder Orson Pratt concerning the pronunciation of a Hebrew letter. He manifested a stubborn spirit, at which I was much grieved.
A Difference Between the Prophet and Orson Pratt.
Wednesday, 6.—Attended school and spent most of the forenoon in settling the unpleasant feelings that existed in the breast of Elder Orson Pratt. After much controversy, he confessed his fault for entering into any controversy concerning so small a matter as the sound of a Hebrew letter, and asked the forgiveness of the whole school, and was cheerfully forgiven by all.
A New Teacher in Hebrew Employed.
Elder M’Lellin returned from Hudson, and reported to the school that he had hired a teacher to teach us the term of seven weeks, for three hundred and twenty dollars; that is, forty scholars for that amount; to commence in about fifteen days. He is highly celebrated as a Hebrew scholar, and proposes to give us sufficient knowledge during the above term to start us in reading and translating the language.
Vacancies in the High Council Filled.
A High Council assembled at Kirtland for the purpose of filling the vacancies of the High Council of Zion. Presidents David Whitmer, John Whitmer and W. W. Phelps, and fifteen High Priests and Elders present. President Phelps announced the death of Christian Whitmer on the 27th of November, 1835. Four councilors, namely Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, William E. M’Lellin and Thomas B. Marsh, had been chosen Apostles, or especial witnesses; and Elisha B. Groves was appointed to take the place of Parley P. Pratt in the High Council of Zion, John Hitchcock in the place of William E. M’Lellin, George M. Hinkle of Orson Pratt, Elias Higbee of Thomas B. Marsh, and Peter Whitmer, Jun., of Christian Whitmer, deceased; who were ordained at the time to their office as councilors.
The Gathering of Israel and the American Indians.
Much has been said and done of late by the general government in relation to the Indians (Lamanites) within the territorial limits of the United States. One of most important points in the faith of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, through the fullness of the everlasting Gospel, is the gathering of Israel (of whom the Lamanites constitute a part)—that happy time when Jacob shall go up to the house of the Lord, to worship Him in spirit and in truth, to live in holiness; when the Lord will restore his judges as at the first, and His counselors as at the beginning; when every man may sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there will be none to molest or make afraid; when He will turn to them a pure language, and the earth will be filled with sacred knowledge, as the waters cover the great deep; when it shall no longer be said, the Lord lives that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but the Lord lives that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither He has driven them. That day is one, all important to all men.
In view of its importance, together with all that the prophets have said about it before us, we feel like dropping a few ideas in connection with the official statements from the government concerning the Indians. In speaking of the gathering, we mean to be understood as speaking of it according to scripture, the gathering of the elect of the Lord out of every nation on earth, and bringing them to the place of the Lord of Hosts, when the city of righteousness shall be built, and where the people shall be of one heart and one mind, when the Savior comes; yea, where the people shall walk with God like Enoch, and be free from sin. The word of the Lord is precious; and when we read that the vail spread over all nations will be destroyed, and the pure in heart see God, and reign with Him a thousand years on earth, we want all honest men to have a chance together and build up a city of righteousness, where even upon the bells of the horses shall be written Holiness to the Lord.
Policy of the Government of the United States Respecting the Indians.
The Book of Mormon has made known who Israel is, upon this continent. And while we behold the government of the United States gathering the indians, and locating them upon lands to be their own, how sweet it is to think that they may one day be gathered by the Gospel! Our venerable President of these United States (Andrew Jackson) speaks of the Indians as follows:
President Andrew Jackson’s Views on the Policy of the General Government with Reference to the Indians.
The plan of removing the aboriginal people who yet remain within the settled portions of the United States, to the country west of the Mississippi River, approaches its consummation. It was adopted on the most mature consideration of the condition of this race, and ought to be persisted in till the object is accomplished, and prosecuted with as much vigor as a just regard to their circumstances will permit, and as far as their consent can be obtained. All preceding experiments for the improvement of the Indians have failed. It seems now to be an established fact, that they cannot live in contact with a civilized community and prosper. Ages of fruitless endeavors have at length brought us to a knowledge of this principle of intercommunication with them. The past we cannot recall, but the future we can provide for,
Independently of the treaty stipulations into which we have entered with the various tribes for the usufructuary rights ceded to us, no one can doubt the moral duty of the government of the United States to protect, and, if possible, to preserve and perpetuate the scattered remnants of this race which are left within our borders. In the discharge of this duty, an extensive region in the west has been assigned for their permanent residence. It has been divided into districts, and allotted among them. Many have already removed, and others are preparing to go; and, with the exception of two small bands, living in Ohio and Indiana, not exceeding fifteen hundred persons, and of the Cherokees, all the tribes on the east side of the Mississippi, and extending from Lake Michigan to Florida, have entered into engagements which will lead to their transplantation.
The plan for their removal and re-establishment is founded upon the knowledge we have gained of their character and habits, and has been dictated by a spirit of enlarged liberality. A territory exceeding in extent to that relinquished has been granted to each tribe. Of its climate, fertility, and capability to support an Indian population, the representations are highly favorable. To these districts the Indians are removed at the expense of the United States, and with certain supplies of clothing, arms, ammunition, and other indispensable articles; they are also furnished gratuitously with provisions for the period of a year after their arrival at their new homes. In that time, from the nature of the country, and of the products raised by them, they can subsist themselves by agricultural labor, if they choose to resort to that mode of life. If they do not, they are on the skirts of the great prairies, where countless herds of buffalo roam, and a short time suffices to adapt their own habits to the changes which a change of the animals destined for their food may require.
Ample arrangements have also been made for the support of schools; in some instances, council houses and churches are to be erected, dwellings to be constructed for the chiefs, and mills for cotton use. Funds have been set apart for the maintenance of the poor, the most necessary mechanical arts have been introduced, and blacksmiths, gunsmiths, wheelwrights, millwrights, etc., are supported among them. Steel and iron, and sometime salt are purchased for them; and plows and other farming utensils.
Domestic animals, looms, spinning wheels, cards, etc., are presented to them; and besides these beneficial arrangements, annuities are in all cases paid, amounting in some instances to more than thirty dollars for each individual of the tribe, and in all cases sufficiently great, if justly divided and prudently expended, to enable them, in addition to their own exertions, to live comfortably. And as a stimulus for exertion, it is now provided by law, that in all cases of the appointment of interpreters, or other persons employed for the benefit of the Indians, a preference shall be given to persons of Indian descent, if such can be found, who are properly qualified for the discharge of the duties.
Such are the arrangements for the physical comfort and for the moral improvement of the Indians. The necessary measures for their political advancement and for their separation from our citizens have not been neglected. The pledge of the United States has been given by Congress, that the country designated for the residence of this people shall be “forever secured and guaranteed to them.” A country west of Missouri and Arkansas has been assigned to them, into which the white settlements are not to be pushed. No political communities can be formed in that extensive region, except those that are established by the Indians themselves, or by the United States for them and with their concurrence. A barrier has thus been raised for their protection against the encroachments of the citizens, and guarding the Indians as far as possible, from those evils which have brought them to their present condition.
Summary authority has been given by law, to destroy all ardent spirits found in their country without waiting the doubtful result and slow process of a legal seizure.
I consider the absolute and unconditional interdiction of this article, among these people, as the first great step in their amelioration. Halfway measures will answer no purpose. These cannot successfully contend against the cupidity of the seller and the overpowering appetite of the buyer; and the destructive effects of the traffic are marked in every page of the history of our Indian intercourse.
Some general legislation seems necessary for the regulation of the relations which will exist in this new state of things between the government and people of the United States and those transplanted Indian tribes, and for the establishment among the latter, with their own consent, some of the principles of intercommunication which their juxtaposition will call for; that moral may be substituted for physical force; the authority of a few simple laws, for the tomahawk; and that an end may be put to those bloody wars, whose prosecution seems to have made a part of their social system.
After the further detail of the arrangements are completed, with a very general supervision over them, they ought to be left to the progress of events. These, I indulge the hope, will secure their prosperity and improvement; and a large portion of the moral debt we owe them will be paid.
In addition to the above, we extract the following from the report on Indian affairs, made to Congress at the present session. We add and arrange according to circumstances:
The United Nation—Chippewas, Ottowas and Pottawatamies—about 1,000 in number, removed since September, 1834—possess 5,000,000 of acres of land on the east side of the Missouri and lying north-west of the north-west corner of Missouri [All these tribes may be rated at about 7,000] 1,000 The Choctaws, about 19,000, in number, have 15,000,000 of acres, lying between the Red River and the Canadian 19,000 A small band of Quapaws, 200 or 300, perhaps near 95,000 acres, between the western boundary of the State of Missouri and the eastern boundary of the Osages 300 The Creeks, about 3,000 or 4,000, have 13,140,000 acres on Arkansas and Canadian rivers 4,000 The Seminoles, and other Florida Indians, to the number of say 25,000, included as the owners of the above 13,140,000 acres 25,000 The Cherokees, amounting to say 16,000, have 13,000,000 of acres, near the 36th degree of north latitude 16,000 The Kickapoos, something less than 1,000, have 160,000 acres north of Fort Leavenworth 1,000 The Delawares, nearly 1,000, have 200,000 acres west and south of the Kickapoos 1,000 The Shawnees, 1,200 or 1,400, have 1,600,000 acres south side of Kansas River 1,400 The Ottawas, about 200, have 30,000 acres south of the Shawnees 200 The Weas, Pinkeshaws, Peoria, and Kashaskias, say 500 in all, have 260,000 acres south of the Shawnees 500 The Senecas and Shawnees, say 500, have 100,000 acres on the western boundaries of the State of Missouri 500
Of the native tribes west of the Mississippi, the report is as follows:
Sacs of the Missouri 500
Ottoes and Missourias 1,600
Gros Ventres 3,000
Caddoes 1 2,000
Anepahas, Kioways, etc 14,000
Hopes of the Prophet in Behalf of the Indians.
The joy that we shall feel, in common with every honest American, and the joy that will eventually fill their bosoms on account of nationalizing the Indians, will be reward enough when it is shown that gathering them to themselves, and for themselves, to be associated with themselves, is a wise measure, and it reflects the highest honor upon our government. May they all be gathered in peace, and form a happy union among themselves, to which thousands may shout, Esto perpetua.
A Feast at Bishop Whitney’s.
Thursday, 7.—Attended a sumptuous feast at Bishop Newel K. Whitney’s. This feast was after the order of the Son of God—the lame, the halt, and the blind were invited, according to the instructions of the Savior. Our meeting was opened by singing, and prayer by Father Smith; after which Bishop Whitney’s father and mother, and a number of others, were blessed with a patriarchal blessing. We then received a bountiful refreshment, furnished by the liberality of the Bishop. The company was large, and before we partook we had some of the songs of Zion sung; and our hearts were made glad by a foretaste of those joys that will be poured upon the heads of the Saints when they are gathered together on Mount Zion, to enjoy one another’s society for evermore, even all the blessings of heaven, when there will be none to molest or make us afraid. Returned home, and spent the evening.
Progress of Work on Kirtland Temple.
Friday, 8.—Spent the day in the Hebrew school, and made rapid progress in our studies. The plastering and hard-finishing on the outside of the Lord’s house was commenced on the 2nd of November, 1835, and finished this day. The job was let to Artemas Millet and Lorenzo Young, at one thousand dollars. Jacob Bump took the job of plastering the inside of the house throughout, at fifteen hundred dollars, and commenced the same on the 9th of November last. He is still continuing the work, notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather.
Bishop Whitney’s Unique Invitation to the Prophet.
Saturday, 9.—Attended school in the forenoon. About eleven o’clock received the following note:
Thus saith the voice of the Spirit to me—If thy brother Joseph Smith, Jun., will attend the feast at thy house, this day (at twelve o’clock), the poor and the lame will rejoice in his presence, and also think themselves honored.
Yours in friendship and love,
Newel K. Whitney.
January 9, 1836.
I dismissed the school to accept this polite invitation, with my wife, father and mother. A large congregation assembled, a number were blessed under the hands of Father Smith, and we had a good time. Spent the evening at home.
Sunday, 10.—Attended meeting at the usual hour. Elder Wilbur Denton and Wilkins J. Salisbury preached in the forenoon, and Brothers Samuel and Don Carlos Smith in the afternoon. They all did well, considering their youth. Administered the Sacrament during intermission. Elder Martin Harris baptized three. Spent the evening at home.
Visit of Alva Beaman to the Prophet.
Monday, 11.—There being no school, I spent the day at home. Many brethren called to see me, among whom was Alva Beaman, from Genesee County, New York, who had come to attend the solemn assembly. I delight in the society of my brethren and friends, and pray that the blessings of heaven and earth may be multiplied upon their heads.
Preparations for the Solemn Assembly.
Tuesday, 12.—I called on the Presidency of the Church, and made arrangements to meet tomorrow at ten o’clock, a. m. to take into consideration the subject of the solemn assembly. This afternoon, a young man called to see the Egyptian manuscripts, which I exhibited. Also Brother Joseph Rose introduced to me, Russel Weaver, a Christian or Unitarian preacher, so-called, from Cambray, New York. We had some little controversy on prejudice, but soon came to an understanding. He spoke of the Gospel, and said he believed it, adding that it was good tidings of great joy. I replied that it was one thing to proclaim good tidings, and another to tell what these tidings were. He waived the conversation and withdrew.
Wednesday, 13.—At ten o’clock I met in council with the Presidency of Kirtland and Zion, namely, Joseph Smith, Sen., Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and W. W. Phelps; also the Twelve Apostles, the High Council of Zion, and the High Council of Kirtland, the Bishops of Zion and Kirtland, the Presidency of the Seventies, and many more of the Elders. Some of the Councilors, both of Zion and Kirtland, were absent.
The council came to order, sang Adam-ondi-Ahman, 2 and opened by prayer offered up by Joseph Smith, Sen.; when I made some remarks, in my introductory lecture before the authorities of the Church, in general terms, laying before them the business of the day, which was to supply some deficiencies in the Bishop’s Council in this place, also in the High Council.
Vinson Knight Ordained into Kirtland Bishopric.
After some consideration upon the most proper manner of proceeding, Elder Vinson Knight was nominated as a counselor in the Bishopric at Kirtland. The nomination was made by the Bishop and seconded by the Presidency. The vote was then called from the Presidency, and carried; next from the High Council of Zion, and carried; from the Twelve, and carried; from the Council of the Seventy, and carried; from the Bishop of Zion and his Council, and carried. And Elder Knight was received by the universal voice and consent of all the authorities of the Church.
Elder Knight was then ordained under the hands of Bishop Newel K. Whitney, to the office of High Priest and Bishop’s counselor, to fill the place of Elder Hyrum Smith, who had been ordained to the Presidency of the High Council of Kirtland.
Council adjourned for one hour, by singing, “Come let us rejoice,” etc.
Council assembled again at one o’clock p. m.
Vacancies in the Kirtland High Council Filled.
John P. Greene was nominated and seconded by the Presidency, a member of the High Council of Kirtland, and carried by the unanimous voice of all the authority of the Church, to supply the place of President Oliver Cowdery, who had been elected to the Presidency of the High Council of Kirtland.
Elder Thomas Grover was elected in like manner, a Councilor in the High Council, to fill the vacancy occasioned by Luke S. Johnson’s having been ordained one of the Twelve Apostles.
Elder Noah Packard was elected a member of the High Council of Kirtland, to fill the place of Sylvester Smith, who had been ordained to the Presidency of the Seventy.
Elder John E. Page was nominated, but being absent, his name was dropped.
Elder Joseph Kingsbury was unanimously chosen a High Councilor in Kirtland, to fill the vacancy occasioned by Orson Hyde’s being ordained one of the Twelve Apostles.
Elder Samuel James was unanimously chosen a member of the High Council of Kirtland, in place of Joseph Smith, Sen.
The newly elected Councilors were then called forward in order as they were elected, and ordained under the hands of Presidents Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Hyrum Smith, to be High Priests, and Councilors in this Stake of Zion. Many great and glorious blessings were pronounced upon the heads of these Councilors, by President Rigdon, who was spokesman on the occasion.
Vacancies Filled in the High Council of Zion.
The Council next proceeded to fill the vacancies in the High Council of Zion, occasioned by the absence of Councilors John Murdock and Solomon Hancock. And Elders Alva Beaman and Isaac McWithy were appointed to serve as Councilors in the High Council of Zion, for the time being.
Elders Nathaniel Milliken and Thomas Carrico were appointed by unanimous vote to officiate as doorkeepers in the House of the Lord.
Presidents Joseph Smith, Jun., Sidney Rigdon, W. W. Phelps, David Whitmer and Hyrum Smith were appointed to draft rules and regulations to govern the House of the Lord.
By unanimous voice of the assembly, moved, seconded, and carried, that no whispering shall be allowed in our councils or assemblies, nor any one allowed (except he be called upon or asks permission) to speak aloud upon any consideration whatever; and no man shall be interrupted while speaking, unless he is speaking out of place; and every man shall be allowed to speak in his turn.
Elder Milliken objected to officiate in the House of the Lord as doorkeeper, on account of his health; and was released by the voice of the assembly.
The minutes of the Council were then read, and Council adjourned until Friday, the 15th instant, at nine a. m., to the west school room, in the upper part of the temple.
Sidney Rigdon’s Ailment.
President Sidney Rigdon requested some of the Presidency to lay their hands upon him, and rebuke a severe affliction in the face, which troubles him most at night. Elders Hyrum Smith and David Whitmer, by request, laid hands upon him and prayed for him, and rebuked his disease in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole assembly responded, Amen.
Elder David W. Patten requested our prayers in behalf of his wife, that she might be healed. I offered up a prayer for her recovery, and the assembly responded, Amen.
President Rigdon arose and made some very appropriate remarks touching the endowment, and dismissed the assembly by prayer.
The Prophet’s Joy.
This has been one of the best days that I ever spent; there has been an entire union of feeling expressed in all our proceedings this day; and the spirit of the God of Israel has rested upon us in mighty power, and it has been good for us to be here in this heavenly place in Christ Jesus; and although much fatigued with the labors of the day, yet my spiritual reward has been very great indeed. Spent the evening at home.
The Coming of Professor Seixas.
Thursday, 14.—Nine o’clock. Met the Hebrew class at the school room in the Temple, and made some arrangements about our anticipated teacher, Mr. Joshua Seixas, of Hudson, Ohio.
I then returned to the council room in the printing office, to meet my colleagues who were appointed with myself to draft rules and regulations to be observed in the “House of the Lord,” in Kirtland, built by the Church of the Latter-day Saints, in the year of our Lord 1834, which rules are as follows:
Rules and Regulations to be Observed in the House of the Lord in Kirtland.
I. It is according to the rules and regulations of all regularly and legally organized bodies to have a president to keep order.
2. The bodies thus organized are under obligation to be in subjection to that authority.
3. When a congregation assembles in this house, it shall submit to the following rules, that due respect may be paid to the order of worship, viz.:
1st. No man shall be interrupted who is appointed to speak by the Presidency of the Church, by any disorderly person or persons in the congregation, by whispering, by laughing, by talking, by menacing gestures, by getting up and running out in a disorderly manner, or by offering indignity to the manner of worship, or the religion, or to any officer of said Church while officiating in his office, in anywise whatsoever, by any display of ill manners or ill breeding, from old or young, rich or poor, male or female, bond or free, black or white, believer or unbeliever. And if any of the above insults are offered, such measures will be taken as are lawful, to punish the aggressor or aggressors, and eject them from the house.
2nd. An insult offered to the presiding Elder of said Church shall be considered an insult to the whole body. Also, an insult offered to any of the officers of said Church, while officiating, shall be considered an insult to the whole body.
3rd. All persons are prohibited from going up the stairs in times of worship.
4th. All persons are prohibited from exploring the house, except waited upon by a person appointed for that purpose.
5th. All persons are prohibited from going into the several pulpits, except the officers who are appointed to officiate in the same.
6th. Ail persons are prohibited from cutting, marking or marring the inside or outside of the house with a knife, pencil, or any other instrument whatever, under pain of such penalty as the law shall inflict.
7th. All children are prohibited from assembling in the house, above or below, or any part of it, to play, or for recreation, at any time: and all parents, guardians, or masters, shall be amenable for all damage that shall accrue in consequence of their children’s misconduct.
8th. All persons, whether believers or unbelievers, shall be treated with due respect by the authorities of the Church.
9th. No imposition shall be practiced upon any members of the Church, by depriving them of their rights in the house.
Council adjourned sine die.
Return of Oliver Cowdery from Columbus, Ohio.
Returned home and spent the afternoon. Towards evening President Cowdery returned from Columbus, the capital of the State. I could spend but little time with him, being under obligation to attend at Mrs. Wilcox’s, to join Mr. John Webb and Mrs. Catherine Wilcox in matrimony: also Mr. Thomas Carrico and Miss Elizabeth Baker, at the same place; all of which I performed in the customary manner in the midst of a large assembly. We then partook of some refreshments, and our hearts were made glad with the fruit of the vine. This is according to the pattern set by our Savior Himself, and we feel disposed to patronize all the institutions of heaven.
The Council Meeting in the Kirtland Temple.
Friday, 15.—At nine a. m., met in council agreeable to adjournment, at the Council room in the Temple, and seated the authorities of the Church agreeable to their respective offices. I then made some observations respecting the order of the day, and the great responsibility we were under to transact all our business in righteousness before God, inasmuch as our decisions will have a hearing upon all mankind, and upon all generations to come.
Minutes of a Priesthood Meeting Held in Kirtland Temple, January 15, 1836.
Council opened in usual form, and proceeded to business by reading the rules and regulations to govern the house of the Lord, three times.
The vote of the Presidency was then called upon these rules, followed by the High Council of Kirtland, the High Council of Zion, the Twelve, the Seventy, the Bishops of Zion and Kirtland, with their Counselors, each in turn; and after a few queries, answers, and debates, the above rules passed the several quorums in their order, by the unanimous voice of the whole, and are therefore received and established as a law to govern the House of the Lord in Kirtland.
In the investigation of the subject, it was found that many who had deliberated upon it, were darkened in their minds, which drew forth some remarks from President Smith respecting the privileges of the authorities of the Church, that each should speak in his turn and in his place, and in his time and season, that there may be perfect order in all things; and that every man, before he makes an objection to any item that is brought before a council for consideration, should be sure that he can throw light upon the subject rather than spread darkness, and that his objection be founded in righteousness, which may be done by men applying themselves closely to study the mind and will of the Lord, whose Spirit always makes manifest and demonstrates the truth to the understanding of all who are in possession of the Spirit.
After one hour’s adjournment of the Council, Elder Don Carlos Smith was nominated to be ordained to the High Priesthood, also to officiate as President, to preside over that body in Kirtland. The vote of the quorums was called for in their order, and their nomination passed through the whole house by unanimous voice.
Elder Alva Beaman was chosen in the same manner to preside over the Elders in Kirtland.
William Cowdery was nominated to officiate as President over the Priests of the Aaronic Priesthood in Kirtland.
The vote of the assembly was called, beginning at the Bishop’s Council, and passing through the several authorities, until it came to the presidency of the High Council in Kirtland, and received their sanction, having been carried unanimously in all the departments below.
Oliver Olney was unanimously elected to preside over the Teachers in Kirtland.
Ira Bond was unanimously chosen to preside over the deacons in Kirtland.
Elders Don Carlos Smith and Alva Beaman were ordained to the offices to which they had been elected, under the hands of Presidents Joseph Smith, Jun., Sidney Rigdon, and Hyrum Smith, with many blessings.
Bishop Whitney, of Kirtland, then proceeded to ordain William Cowdery, Oliver Olney and Ira Bond, and pronounced many blessings upon them according to their offices and standing.
Moved, seconded, and carried, that all the several quorums take their turn in performing the office of doorkeeper in the House of the Lord; also, that Nathaniel Milliken, Thomas Carrico, Amos R. Orton, and Samuel Rolfe be appointed assistant doorkeepers.
Moved, and carried, that the presidency of the High Council hold the keys of the House of the Lord, except the keys of one vestry, which is to be held by the Bishopric of the Aaronic Priesthood.
Moved, and carried unanimously, that John Corrill be appointed to take charge of the House of the Lord in Kirtland immediately, and that the laws regulating the House of the Lord go into effect from this time, and that Elder Corrill see that they are enforced, with the privilege of calling as many as he chooses to assist him.
Council adjourned sine die.
Orson Hyde, Clerk