Minutes, , Seneca Co., NY, 9 June 1830. Featured version, titled “Minutes of the first Conference held in the Township of Fayette, Senaca County, State of New York; by the Elders of the Church, June 9th. 1830, according to the Church Articles and Covenants,” copied [between ca. 6 Apr. and 19 June 1838] in Minute Book 2, p. 1; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 2.
recorded these minutes of the first of the church, held on 9 June 1830 at ’s home in , New York. The members assembled in compliance with “Articles and Covenants,” a document that called for conferences to be held “to do church business, whatsoever is necessary.” Even though the minutes list only a dozen men by name, they affirm that “most of the male members of the Church” attended. A later account reported that about thirty church members attended, along with many who “were either believers or anxious to learn.” Of the men named in the minutes, only JS and were not among the witnesses who testified of seeing the in the summer of 1829.
During the conference, three men were ordained officers of the and they, along with several previously ordained men, received licenses identifying their church office. The conference also formally endorsed Articles and Covenants as an official statement of church belief and practice. While the minutes provide a record of only official business conducted, JS’s later history reported that the proceedings also included singing, the partaking of the “emblems of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ,” the of several who had been recently , spiritual manifestations including prophecy and visions, and “much exhortation and instruction.”
Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:62]. The more detailed instruction in the version in Revelation Book 1 that the elders should “meet in conference once in three Month to [do] Church business” appears to be a later addition. Oliver Cowdery’s 1829 “Articles of the Church of Christ” declared that “the church shall meet together oft for prayer & suplication casting out none from your places of worship,” but there are no records from meetings held before the formal organization of the church on 6 April 1830. Lucy Mack Smith wrote that during fall and winter of 1829–1830, “we held no meetings because of the plotting schemes of the people against us,” implying that meetings had taken place earlier in 1829. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830, in Revelation Book 1, p. 56 [D&C 20:62]; “Articles of the Church of Christ,” June 1829; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 9, .)
Regarding spiritual manifestations at the meeting, JS’s history noted that “the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us in a miraculous manner many of our number prophecied, whilst others had the Heavens opened to their view, and were so over come that we had to lay them on beds, or other convenient places.” Newel Knight, one of the attendees not listed in the minutes, reported that he “beheld the Lord Jesus Christ, seated at the right hand of the majesty on high.” (JS History, vol. A-1, 41–42.)
Minutes of the first held in the Township of , Senaca County, State of New York; by the of the , June 9th. 1830, according to the Church Articles and Covenants
Joseph Smith, junior.
Ezekiel 14th. read by br. Joseph Smith jr. and prayer by the same Articles and Covenants read by Joseph Smith jr. and recieved by unanimous voice of the whole congregation, which consisted of most of the male members of the Church. was then ordained an Elder under the hand of ; and were ordained .
The following persons were then seated respectf◊lly respectively & received their , Viz:
Elders of this Church.
Priests of this Church.
of this Church
Exhortation by Joseph Smith jr. and , Conference adjourned to the 26th. September 1830, to be held in the same place.
Br. appointed to keep the Church record and Conference Minutes until the next conference. Prayer by all the Brethren present and dismissed by Br. . The above Minutes were taken at the time of this conference by
The Peter Whitmer Sr. home, where the conference was held, was also the site where the church had been officially organized two months earlier. (See Historical Introduction to Revelation, 6 Apr. 1830 [D&C 21].)
JS’s history dates the conference to “the first day of June 1830.” Because the minutes featured here are a later copy dating from 1838, it is possible that a transcription error in the minutes accounts for the discrepancy; more likely, the reconstruction in the history is misdated. (JS History, vol. A-1, 41.)
This procedure of all conference attendees praying continued at the conference held in September 1830, but it is not clear whether at these conferences they prayed sequentially, were led in a vocal prayer in unison, or prayed in silence individually. An account of several earlier meetings of believers in April 1830, in which each of the brethren was apparently encouraged to individually “pray vocally during meeting,” suggests that this statement in the minutes likely referred to the practice of having each man pray aloud sequentially before dismissal of the conference. (Minutes, 26 Sept. 1830; JS History, vol. A-1, 40.)