Religious Studies Center Newsletter
Larry C. Porter
Volume 9, No. 3, May 1995
OFFICERS OF THE RELIGIOUS STUDIES CENTER:
Robert L. Millet
Donald Q. Cannon
Kent P. Jackson
Director of Publications
MEMBERS OF THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE:
Robert L. Millet
Clayne L. Pope
Randall L. Jones
Kent P. Jackson
Charlotte A. Pollard
Legrande W. Smith
Jason M. Feilbach
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The Religious Studies Center
Brigham Young University
270 Joseph Smith Building
Provo, Utah 84602
Because only limited sources exist for the first
few years of the Restoration, that period is less precisely known
than any other in Church history. But it is also the most important
era of our past, because it was the time in which the foundational
events of the Restoration took place, including the translation
of the Book of Mormon, the restoration of the priesthood, and the
establishment of the Church.
Today there is rekindled attention paid to the restoration
of the priesthood. Of particular interest are the date and the circumstances
under which the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored. These have
always been uncertain, since the Prophet did not leave an explicit
record concerning them. But because of a recent publication, interest
in them has been renewed. The suggestion has been made that the
restoration of the higher priesthood took place in the summer of
1830 after the organization of the Church and that the conferral
of the apostleship and the restoration of priesthood power were
not necessarily the same event.
New interpretations of the past are not often significant
to Church members in general. But this issue, it seems, is of some
consequence, having implications for the doctrine of the priesthood
and the credibility of Joseph Smith as
a participant in, and a witness of, sacred events.
We have invited Professor Larry C. Porter of BYU's
Department of Church History and Doctrine to explore these matters
in this edition of the Religious Studies Center Newsletter. Those
who know him acknowledge his expertise as a historian of the earliest
events of our Church's history. Not surprisingly, the following
article is state-of-the-art scholarship. In it, Professor Porter
demonstrates that the best evidence places the coming of Peter,
James, and John in the spring of 1829, at which time they restored
the apostleship and the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood, in preparation
for the establishment of the Church.
Oliver Cowdery and Samuel Smith arrived in Harmony,
Pennsylvania, from Manchester, New York, on 5 April 1829. For the
Prophet Joseph Smith, Oliver's coming was an answer to prayer. He
had petitioned the heavens, saying, "I cried unto the Lord that
he would provide [a scribe] for me to accomplish the work whereunto
he had commanded me." The loss of 116 pages
of manuscript during the initial effort at translating the gold
plates had seriously jeopardized the whole process and had effectively
removed the scribal services of Martin Harris through a broken covenant.
Oliver's affirmation that he would take up the pen provided the
needed recorder. On 7 April 1829 Oliver was busily employed in his
new capacity with Joseph.
Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood
Nearly six years previous to these events, Joseph
Smith had met with the angel Moroni at the Hill Cumorah and received
a divine injunction relative to the future restoration of priesthood
authority. On 22 September 1823 Moroni had declared: "When they
[the gold plates] are interpreted the Lord will give the holy priesthood
to some, and they shall begin to proclaim his gospel and baptize
by water, and after that they shall have power to give the Holy
Ghost by the laying on of hands."
The preliminary fulfillment of that announcement
took place on 15 May 1829 while Joseph and Oliver were involved
in the meticulous work of translation. The Prophet stipulated:
We still continued the work of translation, when,
in the ensuing month (May, 1829), we on a certain day went into
the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for
the remission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation
of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying and calling
upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of
light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying:
Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of
Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys
of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance,
and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. . . .
He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power
of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this
should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us to go
and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize
Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me.
Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized
him first, and afterwards he baptized me after which I laid my
hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood,
and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the
same Priesthood for so we were commanded.
The messenger who visited us on this occasion
and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was
John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament,
and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John,
who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood,
he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should
be called the first Elder of the Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery)
the second. (JS-H 1:68 72; emphasis in verses 70, 72 added)
Oliver was more specific in identifying the fact
that they had just been translating 3 Nephi when this manifestation
took place. He declared:
No men, in their sober senses, could translate
and write the directions given to the Nephites from the mouth
of the Savior, of the precise manner in which men should build
up His Church, . . . without desiring a privilege of showing the
willingness of the heart by being buried in the liquid grave,
to answer a "good conscience by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
On 28 September 1835, Oliver also recorded a very
interesting description of the physical setting and procedural events
of that day while copying into a book some blessings which had been
given on 18 December 1833 by Joseph Smith, Jr. Oliver wrote:
He [Joseph Smith] was ordained by the angel John,
unto the lesser or Aaronic priesthood, in company with myself,
in the town of Harmony, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, on Fryday,
the 15th day of May, 1829, after which we repaired to the water,
even to the Susquehanna River, and were baptized, he first ministering
unto me and after I to him. but before baptism, our souls were
drawn out in mighty prayer to know how we might obtain the blessings
of baptism and of the Holy Spirit, according to the order of God,
and we diligently sought for the right of the fathers and the
authority of the holy priesthood, and the power to admin[ister]
in the same: for we desired to be followers of righteousness and
the possessors of greater knowledge, even the knowledge of the
mysteries of the kingdom of God. Therefore, we repaired to the
woods, even as our father Joseph said we should, that is to the
bush, and called upon the name of the Lord and he answered us
out of the heavens, and while we were in the heavenly vision the
angel came down and bestowed upon us this priesthood; and then,
as I have said, we repaired to the water and were baptized. After
this we received the high and holy priesthood.
The Prophet said that of necessity they at first
kept secret the circumstances of their baptism and priesthood ordination
because of the very real spirit of persecution extant in the neighborhood
where they worked: they had been threatened with being mobbed. Such
actions, however, were initially countered by the Hale family, who
stoutly opposed these unlawful measures and tried to extend their
Despite the intimidations of their enemies, Joseph
and Oliver concluded that the urgency of their message should not
be negated by oppression. Having been invested with the authority
of the Aaronic Priesthood, they soon began to "reason out of the
scriptures" with family members and other acquaintances. Among the
first to receive their ministrations was Samuel H. Smith. The two
men worked with Samuel out of the Bible and also showed him what
they had accomplished thus far in the work of translating the Book
of Mormon. Samuel was baptized on 25 May 1829 and thereafter "returned
to his father's house, greatly glorifying and praising God, being
filled with the Holy Spirit." Hyrum Smith,
similarly, came to Harmony, immediately following Samuel's baptism,
to make inquiries concerning their labors and requesting to know
what the Lord would have him do. He was the recipient of a revelation
admonishing him to "wait a little longer, until you shall have my
word, my rock, my Church, and my gospel, that you may know of a
surety my doctrine" (D&C 11:16). He was later baptized in Seneca
Lake, Fayette Township, Seneca County, New York, by Joseph Smith
in June 1829. Samuel and Hyrum each recognized
the newly invested authority to baptize bestowed on the Prophet
When was the Melchizedek Priesthood Restored?
During the appearance of John the Baptist, Joseph
and Oliver were informed by the angel that "he acted under the direction
of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of
Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred
on us" (JS-H 1:72). Just when was that
The day, month, and year designation which so precisely
identifies the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood (15 May 1829)
is absent in the case of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Similarly,
a knowledge of some of the attendant circumstances of that restoration
is lacking. Some elements of the historical puzzle can be put together,
however, to give us what may be a closer approximation of the elusive
time-sequence. The evidence suggests a date near the end of May
1829. Let me start at the late end of the chronological spectrum
and work backwards.
That the foretold restoration of the Melchizedek
Priesthood and ordination to the apostleship was subsequently accomplished
is amply attested in the scriptures. In August 1830, the Lord unmistakably
confirmed this fact when he spoke to Joseph of "Peter, and James,
and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you
and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name,
and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which
I revealed unto them" (D&C 27:12). Still earlier in the year, when
the Church was organized on 6 April 1830, reference was made to
commandments which "were given to Joseph Smith, Jun., who was called
of God, and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first
elder of this church; and Oliver Cowdery, who was also called of
God, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second elder of this
church, . . . and ordained under his hand" (D&C 20:2,3).
Under the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood,
a number of persons had been baptized by immersion for the remission
of their sins prior to the organization of the Church.
However, in obedience to John the Baptist's instructions that the
Aaronic Priesthood "had not the power of laying on hands for the
gift of the Holy Ghost" (JS-H 1:70), the brethren deferred this
ordinance until such time as the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood
could give validity to the act. Joseph Smith recognized the limitations
of John's power and later put it into perspective for the Saints:
John's mission was limited to preaching and baptizing;
but what he did was legal; and when Jesus Christ came to any of
John's disciples, He baptized them with fire and the Holy Ghost.
We find the Apostles endowed with greater power
than John . . . .John did not transcend his bounds, but faithfully
performed that part belonging to his office; and every portion
of the great building should be prepared right and assigned to
its proper place; and it is necessary to know who holds the keys
A situation similar to that facing Joseph and Oliver
also existed in the meridian of time. Philip (not the apostle),
one of seven men designated to assist the original Twelve, baptized
a number of people at Samaria. He did not have the authority to
confer the Holy Ghost upon those whom he had baptized. Peter and
John, who had been ordained to the apostleship under the hands of
Jesus Christ, were sent to officiate in performing the necessary
ordinance. "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received
the Holy Ghost" (Acts 8:5 6, 12, 14 15, 17).
Now, in a new gospel dispensation, a similar prerequisite
for higher priesthood authority to administer the gift of the Holy
Ghost was incumbant upon Joseph and Oliver. That they had received
the necessary keys under the hands of Peter, James, and John by
6 April 1830 is attested to by the proceedings of the organizational
meeting held on that day. Following the affirmation of the assembled
membership, Joseph and Oliver ordained one another to be the First
and Second Elders, respectively. They then used their Melchizedek
Priesthood to confirm those who had been baptized and to confer
upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost. Of that occasion the Prophet
We then laid our hands on each individual member
of the Church present, that they might receive the gift of the
Holy Ghost, and be confirmed members of the Church of Christ.
The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us to a very great degree some
prophesied, whilst we all praised the Lord, and rejoiced exceedingly.
Ordinations to various offices in the Aaronic and
Melchizedek Priesthoods were performed by these men both on that
day and on the occasion of the first conference of the Church, which
followed on 9 June 1830.
When searching for historical circumstances relative
to the restoration of priesthood authority, the words of persons
closely associated with the rise of the Church should not be discounted.
The statements of men who were intimately connected with the Prophet
and who sat in council with him provide an invaluable index to those
Orson Pratt, who joined the Church on 1 September
1830, understood the above process very well and affirmed:
It would be impossible for a Church to be re-organized
upon the earth, unless God had bestowed the authority upon men
to act in his name, that is, had spoken from on high and called
them by revelation.
They [Joseph and Oliver] read that those who dwelt
on this Continent eighteen hundred years ago were baptized by
immersion and that the ordinance had to be administered by men
holding the authority to do so from God. In answer to their prayers,
the Lord sent an angel to them on the 15th day of May, 1829, nearly
a year before the Church was organized, and this angel laid his
hands upon the heads of these two individuals, and ordained them
to the holy Priesthood, that is, the Priesthood which John the
Baptist held, which had the right to baptize, but not to confirm
by the laying on of hands.
After Joseph and his scribe had been baptized
for the remission of their sins, they sought after authority in
order that they might have hands laid upon them for the Holy Ghost.
The lesser Priesthood could not do this, the Priesthood that John
the Baptist held was not authorized to lay on hands; he could
only baptize believers in water. But John, when upon the earth,
said there was one coming after him mightier than he, who held
a greater Priesthood and authority than he the Priesthood after
the order of Melchizedeck and he would bestow upon them the higher
baptism the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. Joseph Smith and
Oliver Cowdery sought after this higher authority, and the Lord
gave it to them, before the rise of this Church, sending to them
Peter, James and John. What for? To bestow upon them the Apostleship.
. . .
Now, who would be better qualified to administer
the sacred office of the Apostleship than the three men who held
it while they were here on the earth? . . . It has to be a man
who holds authority in heaven that can bestow it here on the earth;
and such men were Peter, James and John, who restored that authority
to earth in our day, by bestowing it upon Joseph Smith. When
this authority was restored, the Church was organized, on the
6th day of April, 1830, consisting of six members, and then there
was power in existence, not only to baptize, but to confirm by
the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost;
and from the authority then sent down afresh from heaven has this
Church been enabled to pass along, and receive the great blessings
which the Lord has bestowed upon it.
Hiram Page, a son-in-law of Peter Whitmer, Sr.,
and one who was present on the day of organization, later confirmed
that Peter, James, and John had come prior to the 6 April meeting
in 1830. Having left the LDS Church, Hiram, in company with David
Whitmer, John Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, and William E. McClellin,
gathered in 1847 to structure their own movement. McClellin baptized,
confirmed, and ordained these men and organized a First Presidency
with David as President. The next year, the recipients of McLellin's
ministrations repudiated the action. On behalf of the others, all
of whom but McLellin had been present with the Prophet at the 1830
organization, Hiram Page wrote to McLellin - denouncing the course
which had been taken. The letter shows that the Whitmerite movement
still maintained that ancient apostles had initially bestowed the
complete priesthood as a prerequisite to the restoration of the
Lord's Church. Hiram wrote:
In the begin[n]ing we find the first ordinations
were by Peter James and John. They ordained Joseph and Oliver;
to what priesthood were they ordained[?] the answer must be to
the Holy priesthood or the office of an elder or an apostle which
is an addition[al] grace added to the office of an elder These
offices Oliver received before the
6th of april 1830.
Brigham Young, confidant of the Prophet, began
his examination of the gospel in 1830 and affiliated with the Church
in 1832. He declared: "I know that Joseph received his Apostleship
from Peter, James, and John, before a revelation on the subject
was printed, and he never had a right to organize a Church before
he was an Apostle." President Young further
[Joseph Smith] received the Aaronic Priesthood,
and then he received the keys of the Melchisedek Priesthood, and
organized the Church. He first received the power to baptise, and
still did not know that he was to receive any more until the Lord
told him there was more for him. Then he received the keys of the
Melchisedek Priesthood, and had power to confirm after he had baptized,
which he had not before. He would have stood precisely as John the
Baptist stood, had not the Lord sent his other messengers, Peter,
James and John, to ordain Joseph to the Melchisedek Priesthood.
Perhaps the earliest document referring to the
bestowal of the higher priesthood prior to the organization of the
Church is contained in a manuscript in the handwriting of Oliver
Cowdery with the designation, "Written in the year of our Lord &
Saviour 1829 A true copy of the articles of the Church of Christ."
In the "articles" the Lord specifies, "I command all men every where
to repent & I speak unto you even as unto Paul mine apostle for
ye are called even with that same calling with which he was called."
The reader will recognize that the essentials of that quotation
are contained in D&C 18:9, dated June 1829. As a preface to section
19, the Prophet recorded in his history: "The following commandment
will further illustrate the nature of our calling to this Priesthood,
as well as that of others who were yet to be sought after."
From the verses that follow, it is apparent that by this point sometime
in June 1829 not only were Joseph and Oliver participants in the
divine call, but David Whitmer had also received an injunction to
serve as another special witness. The Lord stated:
And now, Oliver Cowdery, I speak unto
you, and also unto David Whitmer, by the way of commandment; for,
behold, I command all men everywhere to repent, and I speak unto
you, even as unto Paul mine apostle, for you are called even with
that same calling with which he was called. (D&C 18:9)
Some have discounted the comparison with Paul as
evidence for an 1829 Melchizedek Priesthood restoration. They do
this by arguing that Paul was not an ordained member of the Twelve
Apostles in the same sense that Peter, James, and John were. The
inference is thus made that neither Joseph Smith nor Oliver Cowdery
wore the mantle of true apostles at this point in time but were
merely special witnesses of a general nature. However, Richard L.
Anderson has made a valuable observation in regard to the status
of Paul's apostleship:
Because no apostolic ordination is preserved,
some doubt that Paul was one of the Twelve. But Paul gave Timothy
guidelines on conferring priesthood by the laying on of hands (1
Tim. 5:22), which shows a practice that Acts and the Letters do
not need to detail. The book of Acts is a story of missionary labors,
not primarily a record book of ordinances, as we shall see more
plainly. Paul could have been ordained an apostle when Barnabus
first came to Tarsus with his transfer to preside at Antioch, or
when Barnabus and Paul visited Jerusalem with the welfare supplies
before the Gentile mission in Asia Minor. . . . We do know that
Luke calls Paul an apostle, that the term is strange if Paul is
not a member of the Twelve, and that there are clear opportunities
for ordination in connection with Paul's Antioch ministry.
David Whitmer maintained that he had received an
early priesthood ordination at the hands of the Prophet Joseph during
the month of June 1829. In relation to
this development, President Brigham Young related to the Saints:
"Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer were the first
Apostles of this dispensation, though in the early days of the Church
David Whitmer lost his standing."
In a letter dated 14 June 1829, Oliver Cowdery
wrote from Fayette, New York, to the Prophet's brother, Hyrum Smith,
who was then residing in Manchester Township, Ontario County, New
York. The letter is significant because it contains wording parallel
to section 18 of the Doctrine and Covenants. A comparison of the
words used in the two writings shows unmistakable similarities and
strongly suggests that Oliver was aware of the content of section
18 as he corresponded with Hyrum on 14 June 1829. One may examine
the lines of D&C 18:10 14, 21 25 and compare them with the corresponding
verses from Oliver's letter, shown in a table on the left.
In the letter, Oliver was apparently quoting or
referring to an existing revelation (section 18). If this is a valid
assessment, and believing that the apostleship spoken of in D&C
18:9 is the same held by Jesus' ancient Twelve, we might then conclude
that the date of that letter, 14 June 1829, would again narrow the
time period of the Melchizedek Priesthood restoration and place
it between that date and 15 May 1829.
There is evidence to support still another reduction
in the time sequence between the restoration of the Aaronic and
Melchizedek Priesthoods. Joseph and Oliver experienced a decided
increase in opposition to their work of translation and other activities
in the area of Harmony, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Lucy Mack
Smith mentioned that the situation had become so bad that "evil-
designing people were seeking to take away [Joseph's] life, in order
to prevent the work of God from going forth to the world."
As a consequence, Joseph and Oliver were searching for a safer location
to complete the translation of the Book of Mormon. A call for assistance
was sent out by Oliver to his friend, David Whitmer.
David later stated that a letter from Oliver told
"me to come down into Pennsylvania and bring him and Joseph to my
father's house, giving as a reason therefor that they had received
a commandment from God to that effect. I went down to Harmony, and
found everything just as they had written me."
Joseph Smith stated that they accordingly went to the home of Peter
Whitmer, Sr., "in the beginning of the month of June."
David Whitmer affirmed that "the translation at my father's farm,
Fayette Township, Seneca County, New York occupied about one month,
that is from June 1, to July, 1829." If
his report of 1 June is accurate, then the removal of Joseph and
Oliver to Fayette had been accomplished by that date. Did the restoration
then take place between 15 May 1829 and prior to their arrival in
Fayette on 1 June 1829? Could the event have transpired as the trio,
Joseph, Oliver, and David (Emma remained in Harmony with her parents
for a time) were on their way from Harmony to Fayette, perhaps by
way of their friends at Colesville? According to David Whitmer,
the answer is no. Orson Pratt asked David the direct question: "Can
you tell the date of the bestowal of the Apostleship upon Joseph,
by Peter, James and John?" David replied: "I do not know, Joseph
never told me. I can only tell you what I know, for I will not testify
to anything I do not know."
David's journey down to Harmony from Fayette had
occupied approximately three days. Assuming
that a similar amount of time was expended on the return trip and
that the arrival date at the Whitmer home was indeed 1 June, then
perhaps at least two, and possibly three, additional days could
also be pared off the end of the month of May 1829, in a further
reduction of the probable Melchizedek Priesthood restoration period.
If these circumstances are essentially correct, the visitation may
have occurred between 15 May 1829 and the latter part of that same
There is yet another question which must necessarily
be asked. Did Joseph and Oliver travel with David to the Whitmer
farm only to return to Harmony sometime during the month of June
on a hurried visit? Probably not. The demands of continued translation
of the Book of Mormon, securing the copyright on 11 June, Oliver's
previously mentioned letter to Hyrum Smith on 14 June that places
them in Fayette in that immediate period, and a continuous proselytizing
program in the area seem to preclude a return to Harmony during
that month. Joseph detailed just how busy they were with numbers
of persons seeking information. I believe
that the pressure of these matters kept Joseph and Oliver engaged
at Fayette during the month of June 1829 and that there was no intermediate
return to Harmony. The restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood
and apostleship apparently occurred between 15 May 1829 and 1 June
1829, and certainly before the - organization of the Church on 6
Where Did the Restoration of the Melchizedek
Priesthood Take Place?
Little firsthand information is extant from the
principals on the exact physical circumstances accompanying the
restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Both Joseph and Oliver
narrated the consequences of the visitation of Peter, James, and
John but gave very little information relative to the actual setting
for that event. There are, however, a number of observations which
could be useful in bringing that site into closer focus. In April
and May 1829, Joseph and Oliver were engrossed in the translation
of the Book of Mormon at Harmony. The urgency which they felt for
completing the work, which had already been delayed by the prior
loss of the 116 pages of manuscript, left little or no time for
them to engage in the daily pursuits of the necessities of life.
Although the Isaac Hale family was in a - position to assist them
in their plight, Joseph Knight, Sr., stated: "His wifes father and
familey were all against him and would not h[e]lp him."
This difficulty was greatly alleviated through the exceptional generosity
of the Knight family, who on more than one occasion supplied them
with food and even provided paper for the manuscript. While returning
from a business trip to Catskill, Joseph Knight, Sr., related:
I bought a barral of Mackrel and some
lined paper for writing. And when I Came home I bought some nine
or ten Bushels of grain and five or six Bushels taters [potatoes]
and a pound of tea, and I went Down to see him [Joseph Smith] and
they ware in want. Joseph and Oliver ware gone to see if they Could
find a place to work for provisions, but found none. They returned
home and found me there with provisions, and they ware glad for
they ware out.
Understandably, Joseph Smith felt a particular
affinity for the Knight family a feeling which was reciprocated.
Joseph Knight, Sr., had shown a genuine interest in the work of
the Prophet from the outset, having been present at the Smith's
Manchester home on 22 September 1827 when Joseph first retrieved
the gold plates from the Hill Cumorah. The Prophet made a number
of trips from Harmony to the Joseph Knight farm, which was situated
opposite the village of Nineveh on the east side of the Susquehanna
River in Colesville Township, Broome County, New York. It seems
apparent that the occasion for the restoration of the Melchizedek
Priesthood stemmed from one such visit undertaken by Joseph and
Oliver, conceivably in May 1829. While reminiscing on the singular
events of this period, the Prophet recorded: "The voice of Peter,
James and John, in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county,
and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring
themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation
of the fulness of times!" (D&C 128:20). Somewhere along the twenty-eight-mile
stretch of road which borders on the Susquehanna River from the
Joseph Smith homestead in Harmony to the dwelling of Joseph Knight,
Sr., in Colesville Township, the visitation took place.
It is possible that a reminiscence of a Church
member named Addison Everett may provide some important clues relative
to the site and circumstances of the restoration of the higher priesthood.
Learning that Brother Everett seemed to know something of that event
from the Prophet himself, Oliver B. Huntington wrote to Addison
requesting that he write to him and recite what details he could
remember. In correspondence dated 17 February 1881, Addison complied.
Similarly, President Joseph F. Smith also wrote Brother Everett,
saying that "some time ago Aunt Eliza R. Snow Smith, informed me
that you had or was supposed to have some information, not generally
known or understood, relative to the time and place at which Peter,
James and John conferred the higher or Melchisedec Priesthood upon
Joseph and Oliver." He asked him to forward "all the particulars."
Addison again responded and gave some added detail:
Jan 16th. 1882 St George Wash Co UT
Dearly Beloved Brother J F Smith
I hasten to give you all the Information I am
in possession of on the subject you call for. . . .
A few days Before Br Joseph & Hiram ware calld
to Carthage By Gov. Ford I wus Passing the Mansheon House I observed
Bro Joseph & Hiram & some five or six Brethren in earnest conversation
Before the Door of the House. I opened the gate and steped in.
. . .Br Joseph Ex[p]resed Greate simpathy for Br Oliver saying
Poor Boy[,] Poor Boy[,] casting his eyes to the ground. And then
Said as they Ware Tran[s]lating the Book of Mormon at His Father
In Laws in Susquhanah County Penny. T[h]ey ware thretned By a
Mob and in the same time Father Kn[i]ghts came Down from Cole[s]vill[e]
Broom[e] County New York and Desired them to go home with him
and preach to them in his Neighbourhood And on Account of the
Mob Spirit prevailing they concluded to goe. And they ware teachi[n]g
And preaching the Gospele they ware taken with [a] writ and Before
a Judge as fals[e] Prophets. And the Prossecuting Atorny had conceived
in his own Mind That A few simple qu[e]stions would Convince the
Court By the Answers Bro Joseph would giv[e] [to] that [the] charge
was Correct. So he calls out Jo which was the first Merical Jesus
raught[?] Why [said Br Joseph] we read He Created the worlds And
what He done previous to that I have not as yet Learned. This
answer completly confounded the Prossicuting Atorny that he requested
the Judge to Dismis the case. and went out To Organ[ize] the Mob
that was on the Out Side. At about this time a Lawyer By the Name
of Reede I think was his name came in to the court and Stated
He was Mr Smiths Atorney and wished to see him [in] a Private
room And was [put] in to [a] Back room and when in he hoisted
a window and told Br Joseph & Oliver to flee in to the forest
which was close at hand. And they wandered in a dense Forest all
Night and often times in Mud and water up to thare Knees. And
Brother Oliver got quite exausted in the After Part of the Night
and Brother Joseph had to put his arm arround him and allmost
carry him. And Just as the day Broke in the East Brother Oliver
gave out Entirely and he[,] Br Joseph[,] leaned him against an
Oake tree Just out side a field fenc[e] Br Oliver Crying out how
long O Lord O how Long Br Joseph hav[e] we got to suffer these
things[?] Just this moment Peter James & John came to us and Ordained
to [us to] the Holy Apostelship and gave [unto] us the Keys of
the Disp[e]nsation of the fullness of times. And we had some 16
or 17 miles to goe to reach our place of residence and Brother
Oliver could travel as well as I could .
Now as to time and Place. I heard the Name of the Banks of the
Susquehanah river spoken [of] But whare it was pla[c]ed I cannot
till. No doubt the Oake tree and the field fence was ajacent to
the river. As to time I cannot Be Very Explsit. But as the Mob
spirit had not abated when they returned they had to remove to
Father Whitmores to finish the Translation.
I should [jud[g]e] it to the Latter part of August.
Now Beloved Brother I am Not Writing as wone
of the Lords Historians But as your friend reproduc[i]ng the last
words I heard our Beloved and Gods Holy Prophet Speake before
his depart[ure] Into the Eternal Heavens to Dwell with the Holy
& Eternal gods forever & Ever!. . . Well Br Pleas Excuse sight
poor ha[n]d unsteady tharefore pleas[e] Except. A[ddison] Everett
I believe that Addison Everett was a man of veracity.
He was an early New York convert, baptized by Elijah Fordham in
New York City on 1 September 1837. Addison was later in Nauvoo,
then a bishop in Winter Quarters. He followed the fortunes of the
Church to the West, traveling into the Salt Lake Valley as a member
of the third ten in Brigham Young's initial pioneer company of July
1847. Addison served as a bishop of the 8th Ward in Salt Lake City
and eventually located in St. George, Utah, where he died on 12
Addison seems to be remembering some important
facets of Joseph and Oliver's experience with Peter, James, and
John at the time they were ordained to the "Melchizedek Priesthood"
(O.B. Huntington letter, 1881) at the Susquehanna River. Some of
what he recounts harmonizes with the compelling evidence for 1829,
while other portions seem coupled with later events of 1830. In
the letter to President Joseph F. Smith (1882), Addison chronologically
places the ordination to the "Holy Apostleship" under the hands
of Peter, James, and John as being prior to the relocation of Joseph
and Oliver to the Whitmer farm in Fayette, where they could finish
the translation of the Book of Mormon unmolested by the mob in Harmony.
Both Joseph Smith and David Whitmer placed the arrival time at the
Whitmers as being on or about 1 June 1829. Note Addison's recitation,
"As to time [of the ordination] I cannot Be Very Explicit. But as
the Mob spirit had not abated when they returned [to Harmony from
Colesville] to remove to Father Whitmores [at Fayet[te] Sen[e]ca
Co] to finish the Translation [of the Book of Mormon] I should judge
it to Be the Latter part of August [this would be the same year,
1829]." This sequence would have to place the restoration of the
Melchizedek Priesthood, the apostleship, and "the Keys of the Dispensation
of the fullness of times" prior to the organization of the Church
on 6 April 1830. Some have thought to give separate dates for the
time of restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the ordination
to the apostleship. Addison didn't remember it in that fashion.
He understood that both were restored on one common occasion.
However, there was some inconsistency in Addison's
mind as to just when that common occasion took place. Brother Everett's
remembrance of "a Lawyer By the Name of Reede I think was his name"
is undoubtedly a reference to John Reid, a lawyer hired by Joseph
Knight, Sr., to defend the Prophet in a trial sequence which commenced
at South Bainbridge, New York, on 1 July 1830 and concluded in Colesville,
New York, approximately three days later.
Some have concluded from this reference that the appearance of Peter,
James, and John was in July 1830, after the organization of the
Church a position which contradicts the best evidence. How well
Addison Everett was able to segregate his facts and not merge them
out of sequence is problematic.
Addison Everett wrote his recollections some thirty-seven
years after his overhearing the Prophet's Nauvoo comments on the
subject. The extent to which he may have groped to fit names and
circumstances together or to what degree his recall of the matter
was affected by published histories to which he was exposed during
the interim is a matter of conjecture. He was definitely trying
to recapture the salient elements of the Prophet's conversation.
However, portions of his remembrance are inconsistent enough to
warrant some obvious cautions when attempting to - reconstruct the
sequence of events surrounding the restoration process from his
citations. Addison apologized to President Joseph F. Smith for his
lack of technical skills, saying that he was "Not Writing as wone
[one] of the Lords Historians But as your friend reproduc[i]ng the
last words I heard our Beloved and Gods Holy Prophet Speake."
There are some obvious concerns which must be assessed in the utilization
of this rendition. But if elements of Addison's statement are a
factual remembrance, and correct in some of its content, then the
account may give some valuable information on this occurrence.
The Authority of God Among Men Statements by the
In later references to the restoration of the Melchizedek
Priesthood, both Joseph and Oliver were more concerned with the
ramifications of the event than with a delineation of time and circumstance.
One of the most telling statements in this regard comes from the
Prophet when he affirmed:
The Priesthood is everlasting. The Savior, Moses,
& Elias gave the keys to Peter, James, & John on the mount when
they were transfigured before him. The Priesthood is everlasting,
without beginning of days or end of years, without Father, Mother
If there is no change of ordinances there is
no change of Priesthood. Wherever the ordinances of the Gospel
are administered there is the Priesthood. How have we come at
the Priesthood in the last days? They [It] came down, down in
regular succession. Peter James & John had it given to them &
they gave it up [to us].
Among Oliver's statements on the matter was a very
positive response to Phineas H. Young. Writing from Tiffin, Ohio,
in 1846, he affirmed to his friend, Phineas: "I have cherished a
hope, and that one of my fondest, that I might leave such a character
as those who might believe in my testimony, after I shall be called
hence might do so, not only for the sake of truth, but might not
blush for the private character of the man who bore that testimony."
He further stated,
I have been sensitive on this subject, I admit,
but I ought to be so you would be, under the circumstances, had
you stood in the presence of John, with our departed Joseph, to
receive the Lesser Priesthood and in the presence of Peter, to
receive the Greater, and look down through time, and witness the
effects that these two must produce.
When Oliver and his family returned to the Church
at Kanesville, Iowa, in the fall of 1848, he addressed the conference
of the Saints on 21 October, bearing a strong personal witness of
the priesthood to the congregation:
The channel is here, the priesthood is
here, I was present with Joseph when an holy angle from god came
down from heaven and confer[r]ed, or restored the Aronic priesthood.
And said at the same time that it should remain upon the earth while
the earth stands. I was also present with Joseph when the melchesideck
priesthood was confe[r]red by the holy angles of god, which we then
confirmed on each other by the will and commandment of god. This
priesthood is also to remain upon the earth untill the Last remnant
of time. This holy priesthood we confer[r]ed upon many. And is just
as good and valid as if god had confer[r]ed it in person.
Oliver was even more definitive in a statement
which he wrote for Samuel W. Richards while a guest in the latter's
home in the "upper part of Missouri," 13 January 1849. Oliver and
his wife, Elizabeth Ann Whitmer, were en route from Council Bluffs,
Iowa, to Ray County, Missouri, for a visit with members of Elizabeth's
family prior to the Cowdery's departure for the Salt Lake Valley
with the Saints. A snow storm forced them to take shelter with the
Richards family. The Cowderys remained there for almost two weeks,
during which time Oliver penned the following lines at the request
of his host:
While darkness covered the earth and gross darkness
the people; long after the authority to administer in holy things
had been taken away, the Lord opened the heavens and sent forth
his word for the salvation of Israel. In fulfillment of the sacred
Scripture the everlasting Gospel was proclaimed by the mighty
angel, (Moroni) who, clothed with the authority of his mission,
gave glory to God in the highest. This gospel is the "stone taken
from the mountain without hands."
John the Baptist, holding the keys of the Aaronic
Priesthood; Peter, James and John holding the keys of the Melchizedek
Priesthood, have also ministered for those who shall be heirs
of salvation, and with these ministrations ordained men to the
same Priesthoods. These Priesthoods, with their authority, are
now, and must continue to be, in the body of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints. Blessed is the Elder who has received
the same, and thrice blessed and holy is he who shall endure to
the end. Accept assurances, dear Brother, of the unfeigned prayer
of him, who, in connection with Joseph the Seer, was blessed with
the above ministrations, and who earnestly and devoutly hopes
to meet you in the celestial glory.
Imbued with a personal knowledge of the great labor
which had been inaugurated by the powers of heaven through vested
servants, Oliver sought opportunity to give a fervent testimony
of that experience in what Samuel Richards described as the "last
living testimony, though oft repeated, of the wonderful manifestations
which brought the authority of God to men on earth."
However, Oliver did continue to bear testimony.
What was to have been an interim visit to Richmond, Missouri, prior
to Oliver's going to the Rocky Mountains, turned out to be an extended
visit as his health steadily declined with a consumptive illness.
While attempting to recuperate at the home of his father-in-law,
Peter Whitmer, Sr., Oliver entertained an old acquaintance from
Ohio and Missouri days. Elder Jacob Gates, assigned as a Latter-day
Saint missionary to England, had stopped in Richmond on his way
from Utah to the port at New Orleans. In the course of their conversation
Jacob pressed two all-important questions. First:
Oliver, I want you to tell me the whole
truth about your testimony concerning the Book of Mormon the testimony
sent forth to the world over your signature and found in the front
of that book. Was your testimony
Oliver seemed deeply touched. Without saying a word
he moved from his chair to the bookcase and retrieved a first edition
of the Book of Mormon. He then read in a solemn manner the words of
testimony to which he had subscribed his name, and addressing Elder
Gates, he said,
based on a dream, was it the imagination of your
mind, was it an illusion, a myth tell me truthfully?
Jacob, I want you to remember what I say to you.
I am a dying man, and what would it profit me to tell you a lie?
I know that this Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and
power of God. My eyes saw, my ears heard, and my understanding
was touched, and I know that whereof I testified is true. It was
no dream, no vain imagination of the mind it was real.
Then Jacob followed with a second question and
asked him about the validity of the angel, John the Baptist, under
whose hands he had first received the priesthood. Oliver replied,
"Jacob, I felt the hand of the angel on my head as plainly as I
could feel yours, and could hear his voice as I now hear yours."
Perhaps this was a very simple observation, but the implications
are there: "I felt the hand. . . .I could hear his voice."
Similarly, Oliver is reported to have employed
this same "physical" evidence in describing his own ordination to
the Melchizedek Priesthood by heavenly messengers. David H. Cannon
and his brother Angus visited David Whitmer in Richmond, Missouri,
in 1861. At the site of Cowdery's grave, David re-created for the
two men Oliver's last moments. David Cannon said of Whitmer:
The thing which impressed me most of all
was, as we stood beside the grave of Oliver Cowdery the other Witness,
who had come back into the Church before his death, and in describing
Olivers action, when bearing his testimony, said to the people in
his room, placing his hands like this upon his head, saying "I know
the Gospel to be true and upon this head has Peter James and John
laid their hands and confer[r]ed the Holy Melchesdic Priestood,"
the manner in which this tall grey headed man went through the exhibition
of what Oliver had done was prophetic. I shall never forget the
impression that the testimony of. . . David Whitmer made upon me.
Though the experiences of Jacob Gates and David
H. Cannon were recounted many years after the event, Oliver's graphic
illustration of the sense of the messengers' hands on his head seems
nevertheless to have been indelibly impressed on the minds of these
Priesthood Restoration was a Set of Sequential
Reflecting back on the development of the priesthood
and its offices in 1861, President Brigham Young outlined the course
of priesthood restoration in a set of sequential steps:
How came these Apostles, these Seventies,
these High Priests, and all this organization we now enjoy? It came
by revelation. Father Cahoon, who lately died in your neighbourhood,
was one of the first men ordained to the office of High Priest in
this kingdom. In the year 1831 the Prophet Joseph went to Ohio.
He left the State of New York on the last of April, if my memory
serves me, and arrived in Kirtland sometime in May. They held a
General Conference, which was the first General Conference ever
called or held in Ohio. Joseph then received a revelation, and ordained
High Priests. You read in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants how
he received the Priesthood in the first place. It is there stated
how Joseph received the Aaronic Priesthood. John the Baptist came
to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. When a person passes behind
the vail, he can only officiate in the spirit-world; but when he
is resurrected he officiates as a resurrected being, and not as
a mortal being. You read in the revelation that Joseph was ordained,
as it is written. When he received the Melchisedek Priesthood, he
had another revelation. Peter, James, and John came to him. You
can read the revelation at your leisure. When he received this revelation
in Kirtland, the Lord revealed to him that he should begin and ordain
High Priests; and he then ordained quite a number, all whose names
I do not now recollect; but Lyman Wight was one; Fathers Cahoon
and Morley, John Murdock, Sidney Rigdon, and others were also then
ordained. These were the first that were ordained to this office
in the Church. I relate this to show you how Joseph proceeded step
by step in organizing the Church. At that time  there were
no Seventies nor Twelve Apostles.
That the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood
took place as a prerequisite to the reestablishment of Christ's
Church upon the earth is attested in scripture and in the history
of the Latter-day Saints. The priesthood thus conferred by holy
Apostles Peter, James, and John embraced all of the offices of the
priesthood from higher to lesser. The keys of presidency contained
within the apostleship conveyed on that occasion represented the
highest authority conferred upon men in the flesh. By virtue of
these keys of priesthood, the Prophet Joseph Smith proceeded to
ordain and set in order the various quorums as they are known in
the Church today. All of this was done in accordance with the design
of the Lord in order that he might "raise up a peculiar people to
himself, a holy nation, a royal Priesthood a kingdom of Priests,
that shall be saviors upon Mount Zion, not only to preach the Gospel
to the scattered remnants of Israel, but to save to the uttermost
the nations of the Gentiles, inasmuch as they will listen and can
be saved by the plan which God has provided."
- Dean C. Jessee, ed., The
Papers of Joseph Smith, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book,
1989 92), 1:10. Original spelling and punctuation are retained
in all quoted sources in this article.
- Jessee, The Papers of Joseph
Smith, 1:9 10; Joseph Smith, History
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols.,
ed. B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 1:20 28,
32 35; hereafer HC.
- Messenger and Advocate, October
- Cf. HC 1:39 40; and D&C 13.
Because of various reports which had been put in circulation by
those whom the Prophet termed "evil-disposed and designing persons"
relative to the rise of the Church, he proposed to "put all inquirers
after truth in possession of the facts" by this recitation of
events (JS-H 1:1 2); see also Jessee, The Papers of Joseph Smith,
1:230 33, 265 68, 290 91.
- Messenger and Advocate, October
1834, 15; note following JS-H 1, par. 3.
- "Father Joseph Smith's Patriarchal
Record 1834," vol. 1, pp. 8 9, LDS Church Archives. Oliver's statement
is part of an explanatory note which he entered in the record
book identifying some blessings which were given by the Prophet
Joseph Smith, Jr., in Kirtland on 18 December 1833, but not recorded
in this record until September 1835; see also p. 10. The reader
will note the close similarities between part of Oliver's text
and Abraham 1:2: "We diligently sought for the right of the fathers,"
etc. These lines are undoubtedly an outgrowth of the translation
of the Abraham papyri, which the Prophet Joseph Smith had received
in July 1835.
- JS-H 1:75; HC 1:43 44; Jessee,
The Papers of Joseph Smith, 1:231 32, 291 92.
- HC 1:44; Jessee, The Papers
of Joseph Smith, 1:292.
- HC 1:51; Jessee, The Papers
of Joseph Smith, 1:292 93.
- HC 1:40; Jessee, The Papers
of Joseph Smith, 1:290 91.
- HC 1:76n 77n. At the same
time Hyrum Smith was baptized, David Whitmer and Peter Whitmer,
Jr., were also - immersed in the waters of Seneca, June 1829.
Joseph said, "From this time forth many became believers, and
some were baptized whilst we continued to instruct." HC 1:51;
Jessee, The Papers of Joseph Smith, 1:294.
- Joseph Smith, Teachings of
the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake
City: Deseret Book, 1938), 336.
- HC 1:77 78; Jessee, The Papers
of Joseph Smith, 1:302 3.
- Donald Q. Cannon and Lyndon
W. Cook, eds., Far West Record (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book,
1983), 1 2.
- Orson Pratt, 2 November 1873;
Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (Liverpool: LDS Book Depot, 1855
86), 16:294 95; emphasis added; hereafter JD.
- Letter of Hiram Page to "Brother
Wm.," 4 March 1848, Fishing River, Missouri, Second Part, RLDS
Archives, - Independence, Missouri; transcript in possession of
Richard L. Anderson; emphasis added. See also Larry C. Porter,
"The Odyssey of William Earl McLellin: Man of Diversity, 1806
83," inThe Journals of William E. McLellin 1831 1836, ed. Jan
Shipps and John W. Welch (Urbana: University of Illinois Press,
1994), 343. Angle brackets ([ ]) represent material inserted above
the line by the original author.
- Brigham Young, 6 April 1853;
JD 1:137; emphasis added.
- Brigham Young, 23 June 1874;
JD 18:240. Presidents John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff likewise
expressed strong views on the sequence of the restoration of the
Melchizedek Priesthood and the apostleship under the hands of
Peter, James, and John, and the organization of the Church. See
John Taylor, 5 March 1882; JD 23:32; and Wilford Woodruff, 24
June 1884; JD 25:206 7.
- Oliver Cowdery, "Written
in the year of our Lord & Savior 1829 A true copy of the articles
of the Church of Christ," Ms. 1829, LDS Church Archives.
- HC 1:61 62; Jessee, The Papers
of Joseph Smith, 1:300.
- Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding
Paul (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 35 36. Even though
Paul had a vision of the Lord, he was still directed by the Savior
to go to the local officers who would tell "thee what thou must
do." And at their hands he received baptism and direction (Acts
9:5 20). The Prophet Joseph Smith spoke of the ordinances to fulfill
the requirements of the gospel being the same in all ages. Such
preachers of righteousness must be baptized and ordained to the
priesthood by the laying on of hands. See Teachings of the Prophet
Joseph Smith, 264.
- David Whitmer, An Address
to All Believers in Christ (Richmond: David Whitmer, 1887), 32.
- Brigham Young, 7 April 1852;
JD 6:320. Wilford Woodruff recognized the exclusiveness of Joseph
and Oliver's particular apostolic calling as he recalled his recruitment
to Zion's Camp in 1834: "There were no Apostles in the Church
then except Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery." See Conference Report,
8 April 1898, 57.
- Letter of Oliver Cowdery
to Hyrum Smith, 14 June 1829, Fayette, New York, LDS Church Archives;
- Kansas City Daily Journal,
5 June 1881.
- HC 1:48 49; Jessee, The Papers
of Joseph Smith, 1:293
- Kansas City Daily Journal,
5 June 1881.
- "Report of Elders Orson Pratt
and Joseph F. Smith," Deseret Evening News, 16 November 1878.
- Ibid.; David Whitmer stated:
"Oliver told me that Joseph had informed him when I started from
home, where I had stopped that first night, how I read the sign
at the tavern, where I stopped the next night, etc., and that
I would be there that day before dinner, and this was why they
have come out to meet me." Apparently the trip involved a three-day
- HC 1:51.
- Dean C. Jessee, "Joseph Knight's
Recollection of Early Mormon History," BYU Studies 17 (autumn
- Ibid., 36.
- Letter of Addison Everett
to Oliver B. Huntington, 17 February 1881, St. George, Utah, recorded
in "Oliver Boardman Huntington, Journal #14" under back-date of
31 January 1881, Brigham Young University Archives. See also "O.
B. Huntington Diary #15," 18 February 1883, 44 47, where the letter
is again recorded with a few additional particulars.
- Letter of Addison Everett
to Joseph F. Smith, 16 January 1882, St. George, Utah, Joseph
F. Smith Collection, Personal Papers, Ms. 1325, LDS Church Archives;
underlining in original. Addison followed this with yet another
letter to Joseph F. Smith on 24 January 1882 in which he gave
a brief paragraph on Oliver Cowdery and miscellaneous commentary.
- Andrew Jenson, comp., Latter-day
Saint Biographical Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City: Deseret News
Press, 1936), 4:702.
- HC 1:87 97; cf. Jessee, The
Papers of Joseph Smith, 1:312 18; Edwin Brown Firmage and Richard
Collin Mangrum, Zion in the Courts (Urbana: University of Illinois
Press, 1988), 50 51.
- Letter of Addison Everett
to Joseph F. Smith, 16 January 1882, St. George, Utah, LDS Church
- "Willard Richards Pocket
Companion, written in England," 65. See Willard Richards Journals,
1836 1854, Ms. 1490, Box 2, fd. 6, LDS Church Archives.
- Letter of Oliver Cowdery
to Phineas H. Young, 23 March 1846, Tiffin, Ohio, Oliver Cowdery
Papers, 1835 1849, LDS Church Archives.
- Reuben Miller Journal, 21
October 1848, Ms. 1392, fd. 1, vol. 1, LDS Church Archives.
- Statement of Oliver Cowdery
to Samuel W. Richards, 13 January 1849, cited in Deseret Evening
News, 22 March 1884; Statement of Samuel W. Richards concerning
meeting with Oliver Cowdery, January 1849, Salt Lake City, 21
May 1907, Ms. 3703, LDS Church Archives.
- Statement of Oliver Cowdery
to Samuel W. Richards, 13 January 1849, cited in Deseret Evening
News, 22 March 1884.
- Jacob F. Gates, "Testimony
of Jacob Gates," Improvement Era 15 (March 1912): 418 19. Elder
Jacob Gates was later one of the First Seven Presidents of the
Seventy in the Church, 1862 92.
- David H. Cannon, Autobiography,
13 March 1917, p. 5, photocopy of holograph in possession of Richard
- Brigham Young, 7 May 1861;
JD 9:88 89.
- Erastus Snow, 6 May 1882;
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