Mormon History 1830-1844

First Conference in Kirtland  
Dating this conference and D&C 58 with which it is associated, is somewhat problematic. The conference is usually dated June 3–6, 1831. A Friday–Monday conference would not be unusual, and it is probably correct. Unfortunately, no contemporary report or first-hand reminiscence expressly uses that range.
Clerk John Whitmer dates the "general Conference" minutes June 3. Ordinations and exhortations are accounted for, but visions, exorcisms, and what became D&C 52 are not mentioned, suggesting either that they took place on subsequent days or were intentionally omitted.
Less than two weeks after the conference, the Painesville Telegraph reports Joseph received a revelation at a meeting on June 3 naming elders to start for Missouri immediately. They are endowed with "miraculous gifts, or supernatural power" to be used on the journey. Strikingly, no mention is made of the visions, exorcisms, or attempts to heal the sick and raise the dead that appear made in Ezra Booth's account and, to some extent, other, later first-hand reminiscences.
Ezra Booth's [October–November] 1831 account states "the 4th of June last was appointed for the sessions of the conference." (He is listed as present in the June 3 minutes.)
John Whitmer's history refers to a "general Conference" on June 4, "from whence the elders were sent forth to preach the gospel and many were added of such as were determined to be saved" (From Historian to Dissident, 41). Other accounts do not refer to conversions or baptisms.
Levi Hancock recalls that he arrived in Kirtland at the end of May and "lerned that on the fourth of June there was to be an indowment of some Elders"—which he attends on that date. (He is listed as present in the June 3 minutes.)
John Corrill's and David Whitmer's recall the conference was in June, Philo Dibble does not mention a date.
Parley P. Pratt's 1858 autobiographical (?) sketch dates the conference June 6, 1831, at which time he was ordained to the High Priesthood and he and Orson "and many others," were assigned by revelation "to journey two and two, to the western bounds of Missouri, preaching and baptizing by the way." ¶ Parley P. Pratt (h). (In the minutes, Parley is ordained June 3.)
No reference to elders being called to Missouri (which might help us date D&C 52) is made by John Corrill, Philo Dibble, Levi Hancock, or David Whitmer. Writing in retrospect, they are all concerned with other issues.
Minutes of June [3–6], 1831   First ordinations to the High Priesthood occur on June [3], 1831. John Corrill and Isaac Morley are ordained assistants to Bishop Partridge. Exhortations by Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, and Harvey Whitlock. Joseph ordains several more on June [6].
Mormonism on the Wing   Painesville Telegraph's account of the conference focuses on calling elders to go to Missouri to establish the New Jerusalem.

Ezra Booth Letters (4)

  High expectations for June conference. Joseph promised some would see the Savior. He harrangues the audience, then ordains Lyman Wight and others to the High Priesthood. Lyman declares he sees the Lord and Joseph delegates him to ordain the others. The "man of sin" is manifest in demonic possessions. Exorcisms. Joseph fails to heal a lame man, restore a crippled hand, or raise the dead.
Manuscript History of the Church

Manuscript History of the Church &#40;December 1805&#45;August 30, 1834&#41;, 553 pages numbered from the &#34;back&#34; of Joseph&#39;s &#34;large journal&#34; &#40;A&#45;1&#41;, written June 11, 1839&#45;Aug. 24, 1843. <i>Selected Collections</i> 1:1, Volume 1 // “Joseph Smith History, 1839” &#40;first 93 pages&#41;, <i>Early Mormon Documents</i> 1:56&#45;148; “History, 1839” &#40;first 240 pages&#41;, <i>Papers of Joseph Smith 1:265&#45;386</i>. Original, Church Archives, CR 100 102, Volume 1.
')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">MH-A, 118.
  On the 6th of June, the elders from the various parts of the country where they were laboring, came in and the conference before appointed, convened in Kirtland, and the Lord displayed his power <to the most perfect satisfaction, of the saints> in a manner that could not be mistaken. The man of Sin was revealed, and the authority of the melchisedec <priesthood> was manifested and <I> conferred, <the high priesthood> for the first time, upon Several of the elders. It was clearly evidint that the Lord gave us power in proportion to the work to be done and strength according to the race set before us; and grace and help as our needs required. Great harmony prevailed. Several were ordained; Faith was strengthened: and humility, so necessary for the blessing of God to follow prayer, characterized the saints. The next day as a kind continuation of this great work of the last days, I received [D&C 52].
    The original text is in the hand of W. W. Phelps. Changes are in the hand of Willard Richards.
<i>Papers of Joseph Smith, Volume 1: Autobiographical and Historical Writings</i>, edited by Dean C. Jessee &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1989&#41;.
')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Papers, 343n3, 353n1.
Lyman's Vision and the Man of Sin  

Four accounts in parallel columns:
Ezra Booth (October 1831)
John Whitmer (his history of the church, probably before 1837)
Levi Hancock (after 1838)
Philo Dibble (reminiscence, Juvenile Instructor, 1892)
Plus John Corrill's brief recollection (1839)

David Whitmer's Analysis of the First Conference in Kirtland   The possession of Harvey Whitlock was a manifestation of "God's sore displeasure" at the ordination of men to the High Priesthood. The so-called outpouring of the Spirit spoken of is really the devil appearing as an angel of light.
 
Kirtland 1830–1831
Ohio




Home | Joseph | Bios | Beliefs & Practices | Chron | NY | Ohio | Missouri | Missions | Sources | Top

Dale R. Broadhurst | Far West | JS Writings | BYU Mormon Studies | More
Dialogue | JWHA | LDS Church | MHA | Signature Books | Sunstone

Saints Without Halos has no official connection with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
© 2001-2009 Saints Without Halos. All rights reserved.