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Remarks and instructions delivered at the General Conference of the Church at the Nauvoo temple grounds on April 6, 1843
Sources: Joseph Smith diary (kept by Willard Richards) and William Clayton diary
Smith DiaryClayton Diary
The first day of the Jubilee, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. a special Conference assembled on the platform of the Temple, or . . . rough floor of the basement, at 10 o clock A. M. the sun shone clearly. & was very warm & pleasant. Scarce a speck of snow is to be seen except on the north side of Zarahemla Hill. is considerable but the ice was about 2 feet deep in the river west of the temple & north of that point; & south of that the channel is clear of ice,--the walls of the temple are from 4 to 12 feet above the floor of the conference.-- This day was a special conference the saints assembled in the Temple soon after 9. I was appointed to take minutes.
¶ President Joseph was detained by a court . . . President B. Young had charge of the meeting & during the absence of President Joseph.--. . . O. Pratt read the 3d chap. of 2d Epistle of Peter. & preached on the subject of the resurrection.

¶ 10 mi before 12 President Joseph Smith & Elder Rigdon and O. Hyde arrived the floor was about 3/4 covererd with listeners-- 12 o clock O. Pratt gave way & Joseph rose to state the object of the meeting.

About 11 prest Joseph arrived and proceeded to business.
Examination of Officers

It is my object to ascertain the standing of the first presidency. (as I have been instructed) I present myself for trial, I shall next present my councillors for trial.--3d. to take into consideration the sending out of the twelve or some portion of them or somebody else to get means to build up Nauvoo House & temple 4--Elders will have the privilege of appeals from the different Conferences to this if there are any such cases.--
He first stated the object of this conference, viz. 1st. To ascertain the standing of the first presidency 2nd. To take into consideration the propriety of sending some of the Twelve into the branches abroad to obtain funds for building the Nauvoo House. 3rd. To give a chance to those Elders who have been disfellowshiped or had their licenses taken away in the branches to have a re-hearing & settle their difficulties
Nauvoo House - Needed to Make a Good Impression on Travelers

It is important that this conference give importance to the N. House. as a prejudice exists against the Nauvoo House in favor of the Lords House--

¶ There is no place where men of wealth & character & influence can go to repose themselfs. and it is necessary we should have such a place.

He then spake on the importance of building the Nauvoo House stressing that the time had come to build it. and the church must either do it or suffer the condemnation of not fulfilling the commandments of God.
Sustaining of Officers

¶ Are you satisfied with the first presidency, so far as I am concerned, or will you choose another? If I have done any thing to injure my character in the sight of men & angels--or men & women, come forward tell of it & if not ever after hold your peace.

¶ President B. Young arose & nominated Joseph Smith to continue as the President of the church. Orson Hyde 2 dd it.-- voted unanimously.--Such a show of hands was never seen before in the church.--Joseph returned his thanks--to the assembly. & said he would serve them according to the best of his ability.

¶ Next president Joseph Brought forward Elder Rigdon for trial. Br Young nominated Elder Rigdon to continue. seconded by O. Hyde . . . voted, (in general) almost unanimous that Elder Rigdon retained his standing.--

¶ Joseph presented Wm Law for trial. Moved by B. Young. 2d By Heber Kimball in name Lord & voted that Wm Law--retain his standing.--

¶ Voted unanimously that Hyrum Smith retain his office as Patriarch . . . .Hyrum said the Lord bless the people. & Elder Rigdon said so too.--

¶ Joseph said I do not know any thing against the twelve. if I did I would present them for trial.

¶ He next presented himself & was unamisiously voted president of the whole church. Next his councillors Ers Rigdon and Wm. Law. and afterwards Er Hyrum who was voted with a hearty aye. He blessed the people in the name of the Lord.
Bonding of the Twelve

¶ It is not right that all the burdens of the Nauvoo House should rest on a few individuals--and we will now consider the propriety of sending the twelve to collect means for the Nauvoo House.-- there has been too great latitude in individuals for the building of the Temple to the exclusion of the Nauvoo house. It has been reported that the Twelve have wages $2.00 per day for their services I never heard this till recently. & I do not believe I have never known their having any thing I go in for binding up the twelve, &

¶ Let this conference institute an order to this end & let no man pay money or stock into the hands of the twelve except the payer transmit the account immediately to the Trustee in trust. & no man else but the twelve have authority to act as agents for the Temple & Nauvoo House.--

¶ I will mention one case. he is a good man. that man's name is Russel. he had been East on business for his brother. & took money belonging to the temple & put it in the bag with his brothers money. 2 or three days after his return he called on his brother for the money, but his brother thought he had paid out too much money-- & he would keep the church money to make good his own.-- I called to see Russel about the money, and he treated me so politely I concluded he never meant to pay--Bro. Russel said, that his brother said he should not be out of money again. There was $20. of the church money, & some dried apple for the Prests.

¶ I propose that you send moneys for the temple by the twelve some or all; or some agent of your choosing & if you send by others & the money is lost, tis lost to yourselves.--I cannot be responsible for it.

¶ It is wrong for the church to make a bridge of my nose in appropriating church funds.--The incorporation required of me securities.-- which were lodged in the proper hands--Temple committee have are bound to me in the sum $2,000--& the church is running to them with funds every day--& I am not responsible for it.

¶ so long as you consider me worthy to hold this office, it is your duty to attend to the legal forms belonging to the business.--My desire is that the conference Minutes go forth, to inform all branches of the order of doing business. & the twelve be appointed to this spicial mission of collecting funds for the Nauvoo House.--

¶ The next business was appointing the Twelve on their mission &c. He showed the injustice of Ers collecting funds for the Temple in as much as they rarely brought them here.
Washinton Trip

¶ When I went to the White House at Washington & presented Letters from Thomas Carlin. Van Buren said Thos Carlin. Thos Carlin Who Thos Carlin? I erred in spirit;--& I confess my mistake, in being angry with Martin Van Buren for saying Thos. Carlin is nobody.--let it be recorded on earth and in heaven that I am clear of this sin.--

Clayton's Complaint Against Temple Committee

¶ There has been complaint against the Temple Committee.--for appropriating the church funds to the benefit of their own children. to the neglect of others who need assistance more than they do.--

¶ I have the complaint, by Wm Clayton. Wm Clayton called, Says I have to say to the conference. I am not so fully preparded to present substantiate the proof as I could wish.--

¶ I am able to prove that property used to a great extent. I am able to prove by the books that Cahoon & Higby have used property for their own families--to the exclusion of others.--Joseph said Let the trial of the Committee be deferred to another day--then let. the Lion & unicorn come together--day after tomorrow. Mr Clayton can have the privilege of bringing his books to the trial.--Moved and Seconded--

Twelve and Church Funds

voted that the twelve be appointed a committee to receive & gather funds to build the Nauvoo House. with this proviso, that the twelve and give bonds for good delivery to trustee in tu trustee. & payer make immediate report to the trustee in trust.--Bro W W. Phelps proposed that the twelve give duplicate receipts.

¶ President Young remarked he should never give receipts for cash. except such as he put in his own pocket for his own use but wished this speculation to stop.--& asked if anyone knew any thing against any one of the Twelve, any dishonesty. I know of one who is not.--And referred to Muzzling the ox that treadeth out the com.--

¶ Joseph Said, I will answer Bro Brigham,--let the twelve spend the time belonging to the temple for to collect funds--and the remainder of the time they may labor for their support.--The idea of not muzzling the ox that treadeth out the corn is a good old quaker song. I have never taken the first farthing of church funds for my own use till I have first consulted the proper authorities, & when there was no quorum of the twelve or high priests I have asked the Temple Committee who had no business with it.--Elder Cutler said it was so.--Let this conference stop all agents in collecting funds except the twelve.--1

The conference must contrive some measures to put the Twelve under bonds, for a true return of monies received by them &c.


1. Fifty years later Lorenzo Snow, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve, remarked on this incident. Apparently Brigham Young felt so strongly over the issue he took his seat in the congregation at the next session of the conference. When the session began, Joseph noticed Young was not on the stand and stopped the meeting to get him to come up. They reconciled the issue and Pres. Young agreed to the bond principle. [See Journal of Abraham H. Cannon, April 9, 1890.]

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