Members of the original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Top row, left to right:
Thomas B. Marsh (no picture available), David W. Patten (no picture available),
Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball. Middle row: Orson Hyde, William E.
Mc’Lellin, Parley P. Pratt, Luke S. Johnson. Bottom row: William B. Smith,
Orson Pratt, John F. Boynton, Lyman E. Johnson (1835).
More original plans
Kirtland Temple Side View
Kirtland Temple rear view. The central panel of the lower windows (the arched
window) is the window of the Holy of Holies of the temple. It was inside this
window that Jehovah, Moses, Elias, and Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and
Oliver Cowdery (110). The most upper room (third floor) open into the fifth
room where the vision of the Celestial Kingdom was given (137).
Kirtland Temple Front View
Melchizedek Pulpits: Located on the west end of
the first floor.
Melchizedek Pulpits and Veil
On April 3, 1836, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery dropped the veil that separated the
pulpits from the rest of the room and offered prayer. In response to that prayer, one of
the most important events of the restoration took place. First, Jesus Christ, calling
himself Jehovah, appeared. After his appearance, Moses, Elias, and Elijah appeared
committing the necessary keys to perform temple ordinances (D&C 110).
Across the front of the pulpits is a folding sacrament table shaped like an oxen
yoke. The Melchizedek Priesthood pulpits represent the line of authority in the
P.E.M. = Presidency Elders Melchizedek
= Elders (bottom row)
M.H.P. = Melchizedek High Priesthood
= High Priests (second row from
P.M.H. = Presiding Melchizedek High
= Quorum of the Twelve
(third row from bottom)
M.P.C. = Melchizedek Presiding Council
First Presidency (top row)
This is an inside view of the translating room, president’s office. Hebrew
School was held here in Jan. and March of 1836. Anointing heads with oil was
Doctrine and Covenants 137 (vision
of the celestial kingdom) was
received in that room.
Joseph also beheld the Twelve Apostles of the
Lamb who were then on the earth, who held
the keys of this last ministry, in foreign lands,
standing together in a circle, much fatigued,
with their clothes tattered and feet swollen,
with their eyes cast downward, and Jesus
standing in their midst, and they did not behold
Him. The Savior looked upon them and wept.
Joseph beheld Elder McLellin in the south, standing
upon a hill, surrounded by a vast multitude, preaching
to them, and a lame man standing before him
supported by his crutches; he threw them down at his
word and leaped as a hart, by the mighty power of
God. Also, I saw Elder Brigham Young standing in a
strange land, in the far south and west, in a desert
place, upon a rock in the midst of about a dozen men
of color, who appeared hostile. He was preaching to
them in their own tongue, and the angel of God
standing above his head, with a drawn sword in his
hand, protecting him, but he did not see it. And I
finally saw the Twelve in the celestial kingdom of God.
I also beheld the redemption of Zion, and many things
which the tongue of man cannot describe in full (HC,
The third level was divided into five rooms. Windows on both the north and
south sides of each room. The fifth or last room on the west side was the
Glorious Days in Kirtland
The Egyptian Mummies:
Joseph purchased them in July of 1835 from a man named
The mummies came from tomb #22 in the “Valley of the Kings”
in Egypt (King Tutt’s tomb is #62).
The scroll of Abraham was never translated in it’s entirety.
The scroll of Joseph was never translated because Joseph said
the people were not ready for it.
It was purchased for somewhere in the range of $2,000-
First Two Stakes of the Church:
1. Kirtland Stake - Joseph Smith Jr.
2. Liberty Stake - David Whitmer
Oliver Cowdery served as assistant to the
President of the Church.
Keep in mind that the men on the High Council
were viewed like today’s General Authorities.
The Steve Young Story
n 22,000 cars passed through the street every day that
separated the different Church Historical sites in
n President Kimball was almost hit by a car while
crossing the street during a visit.
n Karl Anderson was asked by the “Brethren” to try and
convince the City Council to change the roadway so it
would be safer.
n The council met on the subject, but voted it down.
Later that same month Steve Young and Joe Montana were
pictured in the May 31st, 1993 Sports Illustrated.
Steve Young just happened to be wearing his lucky “Kirtland t-
shirt” that read “Kirtland, City of Faith and Beauty.”
In the article Steve Young mentioned that he wore the t-shirt
under his shoulder pads for all of his games and that it was his
Some of the locals in Kirtland saw the picture and were pretty
excited about it.
By chance (?) Steve Young was scheduled to play an
exhibition football game in Ohio later that month and was
asked by the “Brethren” to pitch the idea again of changing the
street so it would be safer. Amazingly, this time it passed 7-0.
The Church paid for all the work that was done.
Newel K. Whitney Store and Home
Newel K. Whitney Store
The Kirtland Temple
Dedicatory prayers are always read (Some members
left the Church over it).
The dedicatory prayer was pronounced by Joseph
Smith in the afternoon.
Joseph announced that Peter the Apostle had been in
their midst to accept the dedication.
Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Warren Cowdery
and Elder W. Parrish, and myself assisted in
writing a prayer for the dedication of the house
(Oliver Cowdery’s Journal).
The Kirtland Temple cost $70,000 dollars and
took three years to build at great sacrifice to
The Church still owed $13,000 dollars on the Kirtland
Temple and took collections at the door on the day of
They raised $1,000 dollars on the day.
Frazier Eaton donated $700 dollars and was not
allowed in the Temple because he arrived late and no
seating was available.
Frazier felt like his substantial donation guaranteed
him a “saved seat” for the dedication.
He left the Church because of it.
The Kirtland Temple was dedicated on March
It was never intended to be a full endowment
The First Presidency provided the ushering at
the dedicatory service.
The “Spirit of God” was sung by the Saints and
it is still sung at every Temple dedicatory
The Service lasted 7 hours and no one left.
About 800 Saints were turned away and went to the
school house and conducted a meeting of their own.
The Sacrament was passed. Frederick G. Williams
saw the Savior, Peter attended and sat by Joseph
Joseph blessed the congregation, and the meeting
concluded with the Hosanna Shout.
That evening 416 bearers of the priesthood gathered
and witnessed more marvelous manifestations.
Of these days in Kirtland Elder Heber C.
Kimball in his Journal said:
“The Church was in a state of poverty and
distress, in consequence of which it appeared
almost impossible that the commandments
could be fulfilled relative to the Kirtland
Temple; at the same time our enemies were
raging and threatening destruction upon us,
and we had to guard ourselves night after
night, and for weeks were not permitted to
take off our clothes, and were obliged to lay
with our fire locks in our arms” (Times and
Seasons, vol. vi, 771).
That the Son of Man might have a place to manifest
himself to his people.
A House of learning!
When dedicating a building, we present if officially as
our gift to the Lord. This means tomorrow morning
when anyone enters this building, they come here as
guests of the Lord. It then belongs to him (Boyd K.
D&C 109:35-37 “Thy Lord’s Acceptance”
D&C 109:44 “Thy will be done”
D&C 109:79-80 “Hosanna”
The word hosanna as we know it, originated
from two Hebrew words found in Psalm 118:25,
and roughly means, “save us, we beseech
After this meeting, Fast days began and were held on
the first Thursday of every month. It was an all day
The Kirtland Temple was used for many meetings
besides the performance of sacred ordinances.
Active and worthy Saints as well as less active Saints
were invited to attend the meetings held.
Children were also allowed to enter the Temple.
On April 3rd, 1836, the Jews were expecting Elijah to
come and he came. It was Easter Sunday ---
President Joseph Fielding Smith noted an interesting
aspect of Elijah’s return to the earth on April 3rd 1836.
“Edersheim in his work, the Temple says: ‘To this day,
in every Jewish home, at a certain part of the Paschal
service (i.e., when they drink the “third cup”)- the
door is opened to admit Elijah the prophet as
forerunner of the Messiah, while appropriate passages
are at the same time read which foretell the
destruction of all heathen nations. It is a remarkable
coincidence that, in instituting his own Supper, the
Lord Jesus connected the symbols, not of judgment,
but of his dying love, with his “third cup.’”
“It was, I am informed, on the third day of
April, 1836, that the Jews in their homes at the
Paschal feast, opened their doors for Elijah to
enter. On that very day Elijah did enter – not
in the home of the Jews to partake of the
Passover with them but he appeared in the
house of the Lord in Kirtland, and there
bestowed his keys to bring to pass the very
things for which these Jews, assembled in their
homes, were seeking” (Doctrine of Salvation,
“The Lord’s Acceptance”
Although we do not normally think of the Lord as bestowing
keys on this occasion, as did the other heavenly visitors, Orson
Pratt informs us that He did indeed give “keys of instruction
and counsel and authority to his servants.”
The main object was to build unto the Lord a house whereby
He could reveal unto His people the ordinances of His house
and the glories of His kingdom, and teach the people the way
of salvation; for there are certain ordinances and principles
that, when they are taught and practiced, must be done in a
place or house built for that purpose (Temple Ordinances).
The gospel of Abraham was one of Celestial Marriage. This
power and commission is what Elias restored (Mormon
A man called Elias apparently lived in mortality in the days of
Abraham, who committed the dispensation of the gospel of
Abraham to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland
Temple on April 3rd, 1836. We have no specific information as
to the details of his mortal life of ministry (Bible Dictionary,
Elijah restored the sealing power that comes with the fullness
of the Melchizedek Priesthood (Teachings, 330).
Three-fold Mission of the Church:
1. Perfect the Saints - Gospel of Abraham
(Elias) - Endowment
2. Missionary Work - Gathering of Israel
(Moses) - Aaronic Priesthood
3. Redeem the Dead - Sealing Power
(Elijah) - Calling and Election
All of this brings us to a most
interesting comparison between the
activities that took place at the
Kirtland Temple pulpits during the
visions we have discussed and those
that transpired on the Mount of
Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9,
Mark 9:2-9, Luke 9:28-36).
The location was a secluded and high mountain.
The Savior was engaged in prayer.
The Savior’s clothing was white.
The angels who appeared on the holy mountain
were the very same ones that visited the
A cloud appeared that veiled the Father and
through which his voice was heard.
The Father gave his Son “honor and glory,” which may
have reference to the keys of the priesthood (D&C
The Savior received the “More Sure Word of
A vision was seen of the earth in its paradisiacal state.
A charge was given by the Savior not to reveal what
had been experienced.
If one considers that the Kirtland Temple pulpits
somewhat resemble a miniature mountain, then the
parallels are even more striking.
John Tanner and His Generosity
According to today’s standards John Tanner would be
considered a multi-millionaire.
Jared and Simeon Carter taught and baptized him.
It took John Tanner two years to liquidate all of his
assets and join the Church.
In 1834 the Church was $2,000 dollars in debt for the
Temple property and John Tanner gladly paid it.
Shortly after he had bailed the church out with $2,000
dollars for the temple property, the Prophet again,
needed more money for the Church.
John Tanner gave him $15,000 dollars. Joseph gave
him a note stating that the Church would pay him
back in full.
Ten years later on the streets of Nauvoo, Joseph came
upon across John Tanner. He was embarrassed and
apologized for not having paid back the money he
John Tanner said, “you owe me nothing.” He then
took the promissory note Joseph had given him in
Kirtland and burned it in the fire.
Joseph began to weep and asked if he
could give him a blessing. John accepted
his request and Joseph placed his hands
on his head and blessed him saying,
“Because of your faith and obedience,
there will never come a time when your
family will want for temporal things.”
John Tanner was a faithful man and was
blessed with many descendants (N. Eldon
Tanner and O.C. Tanner, to name a few).
My mother comes from the Tanner line!
In a fifteen week period starting in January 1836, there were
more revelations given than any other similar time frame in the
History of the Church.
Jan. 21, 1836, Joseph received section 137, “a vision of the
Celestial Kingdom.” He said he saw resurrected beings,
mortals, and departed spirits.
On Jan. 22, 1836 many people saw visions and experienced the
gift of tongues. Angels mingled their voices with those of
mortals. It lasted for over an hour and a half.
On Jan. 28, 1836 Roger Orton saw six angels, one was riding a
beautiful white horse outside of the temple with the assignment
to keep the legions of evil spirits away.
Several non-members of the Church saw the
temple with a beautiful glow. Some saw angels
walking back and forth along the roof acting as
sentinels to ward off evil spirits hovering in the
air, trying to get in to the temple.
Zebedee Coltrin saw the Savior in the Kirtland
Temple in all of His glory. In his journal he
wrote that he had viewed the crucifixion of
Christ. He said that they wrapped a white
sheet around his waist and then drove into his
hands metal spikes similar to railroad spikes
Others have had that same vision (Orson F.
Whitney and David B. Haight).
On March 27th 1836, (Sunday and also the
dedication), an angel walked down the aisle
and up to the stand and took a seat next to
Frederick G. Williams.
The angel was the Apostle Peter. He was the
one sent to accept the dedication of the
David Whitmer saw three other angels at the
dedication though they were not identified.
Jesus Christ came later.
During the Priesthood meeting that night angels came
down through the ceiling and the temple was filled
with the hosts of heaven. This was the same evening
that a strange light rested upon the outside of the
temple which people could see from a distance and
knew that it was filled with the glory of God.
Even those outside the temple could hear the
The Kirtland Dedication Program:
Started at 9:00 a.m.
They sang “Ere Long the Veil will Rend in Twain.”
Sidney Rigdon offered the invocation.
They sang “O Happy Souls who Pray.”
Sidney Rigdon read and preached from Matt. 18:18-20.
Sidney Rigdon delivered a discourse lasting two and a half
Joseph said it was eloquent.
They sang “Now Let Us Rejoice.”
They took a twenty minute intermission.
All the Church officers were sustained. It was
unanimous to the affirmative.
Joseph read the “dedicatory prayer.”
They sang “The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning.”
It is interesting that Sidney carried the bulk of the meeting.
We need to remember that he was a gifted man (The Lord
would not have allowed him to do that had he been out of
On March 30th, 1836 many saw angels and the Savior.
John the Beloved was in attendance and Joseph stood up at
the end of the meeting and apologized to him for failing to
recognize him earlier.
Joseph was so familiar with these men that he sometimes
forgot to recognize them in the presence of others.
On April 6th, 1836 Joseph saw angels administering unto many.
It was a day of Pentecost.
It is not hard to understand why it has been called the
“Glorious Days of Kirtland?”
In January 1836, at the Kirtland Temple, the
Hebrew School was started.
Joseph indicated that the members of the
Church needed to meet “the learned” on their
Joseph had a gift for Hebrew and learned a lot
on his own.
Orson Pratt was also very good at it.
There were eventually four Hebrew Schools
with forty students per school.
Joshua Seixas was hired to teach the class. He
was a brilliant man who knew many languages.
We don’t know if he ever joined the Church or
Brigham Young had a hard time learning
The Spirit of God Like A Fire is
The following two verses were taken out of the
original hymn written by William W. Phelps for
the temple dedication:
We’ll wash and be wash’d, and with oil be
Withal not omitting the washing of feet
For he that receiveth his penny appointed,
Must surely be clean at the harvest of wheat.
We’ll sing and we’ll shout, etc.
Old Israel that fled from the world for his
Must come with the cloud and the pillar,
A’Moses, and Aaron, and Joshua lead him,
And feed him on manna from heaven
We’ll sing and we’ll shout, etc.
Other Interesting things that took place
Lorenzo Young was called out of the congregation to serve on
the Kirtland High Council. He declined the calling and was
never called to another calling while Joseph was alive.
Lorenzo Young did go on the exodus to Salt Lake City and
would serve in many capacities of the Church.
Martin Harris made the comment that he knew more about the
Book of Mormon than Joseph Smith ever would.
Joseph was called to a hearing (Church Discipline) because of
Sylvester Smith and his accusations from Zion’s Camp.
Other Interesting things that took
place in Kirtland!
In 1834 Joseph received “Lectures on Faith” (School
of the Elders).
On Feb. 7th, 1835 Brigham and Joseph Young sang to
Joseph at Joseph’s request. After they finished Joseph
told Brigham Young that he would be called as one of
the Twelve the next week and that Joseph Young
would preside over the 70’s. This was the same time
period in which Joseph received a revelation about the
status of those who died from cholera in Zion’s Camp
and the reward they would received in heaven (almost
a year later).
Church government began to unfold during the
On Feb. 14th, 1835 the calling of the Twelve
took place. They were called right out of the
Seniority among the Twelve was determined by
The three witnesses had been called to choose
the twelve. They had six years to prepare for it
Thomas B. Marsh
D&C 31:9, 12 Govern Your House!
The wife of Thomas B. Marsh (President of the Twelve
Apostles) and Sister Harris concluded they would
exchange milk in order to make a little larger cheese
than they otherwise could. To be sure to have justice
done, it was agreed that they should not save the
strippings, but that the milk and strippings should all
go together (the strippings were the part of the milk
richest in cream).
Mrs. Harris, it appeared, was faithful to the
agreement and carried to Mrs. Marsh the milk
and strippings, but Mrs. Marsh, wishing to
make some extra good cheese, saved a pint of
strippings from each cow and sent Mrs. Harris
the milk without the strippings.
Mrs. Harris learned that Mrs. Marsh had saved
the strippings, and it became a matter to be
settled by the Teachers. They examined the
matter and it was proved that Mrs. Marsh had
saved the strippings…
An appeal was taken from the Teachers to the
Bishop, and a regular Church trial was held.
President Marsh did not consider that the
Bishop had done him and his lady justice, for
they (the Bishop’s court) decided that the
strippings were wrongfully saved, and that
Sister Marsh had violated her covenant.
Marsh immediately took an appeal to the High
Council…, but the High Council confirmed the
Bishop’s decision (Mrs. Harris’s husband
George, was on the High Council).
Marsh not satisfied, made an appeal to the First Presidency of
Joseph and his counselors sat upon the case and they
supported the decision of the High Council.
This little affair kicked up a considerable breeze, and Thomas B.
Marsh then declared that he would sustain the character of his
wife, even if he had to go to hell for it.
Heber C. Kimball wished him well on his way.
Thomas B. Marsh would later sign a document that
brought mobs against the Saints which caused deaths
to the Saints and much suffering.
The then President of the Twelve Apostles, the
man who should have been the first to do
justice and cause reparation to be made for
wrong, committed by any member of his
family, took that position (JD 3:283-84).
David W. Patton returned after his death from
the Spirit World and asked Thomas, “How could
you have forgotten so soon?”
Thomas B. Marsh and David W. Patton had
made a covenant to keep each other in line
while in mortality.
President Gordon B. Hinckley
Pres. Hinckley repeated the story in General Conference and
“The man who should have settled this little quarrel, but
who, rather, pursued it,… literally went through hell for it .
He lost his standing in the Church. He lost his testimony of
the gospel. For nineteen years he walked in poverty and
darkness and bitterness, experiencing illness, and loneliness.
He grew old before his time. Finally, like the prodigal son in
the parable of the Savior, he recognized his foolishness and
painfully made his way to this valley (Salt Lake), and asked
Brigham Young to forgive him and permit his re-baptism into
He had been the first President of the
Council of the Twelve, loved,
respected, and honored in the days of
Kirtland, and the early days of Far
West. Now he asked only that he
might be ordained a deacon and
become a doorkeeper in the house of
the Lord (C.R. April, 1984, 111).
Path to Apostasy
You that don’t know him, have heard of Thomas B.
Marsh, who was formerly the President of the Twelve
Apostles, but who apostatized some years ago, in
Missouri. He is on his way here, a poor, decrepit,
broken down, old man. He has had a paralytic stroke
--- one of his arms hangs down. He is coming out
here as an object of charity, destitute, without wife,
child, or anything else. He has been an apostate
some eighteen years. Most of you know his history..
In meeting with some of the apostates, Thomas B. Marsh said
to them, “You don’t know what you are about; if you want to
see the fruits of apostasy, look on me…”
Many have said to me, “How is it that a man like you, who
understood so much of the revelations of God as recorded in
the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, could fall away?” I told
them not to feel to secure, but to take heed lest they also
should fall; for I had no scruples in my mind to the possibility of
men falling away.
I can say, in reference to the Quorum of the Twelve, to which I
belonged, that I did not consider myself a whit behind any of
them, and I suppose that others had the same opinion; but, let
no one feel too secure; for, before you think of it, your steps
will slide. You will not think for a moment as you did before
you lost the Spirit of Christ; for when men apostatize, they are
left to grovel in the dark.
I have sought diligently to know the Spirit of Christ since I
turned my face Zion-ward, and I believe I have obtained it. I
have frequently wanted to know how my apostasy began, and I
have come to the conclusion that I must have lost the spirit of
the Lord out of my heart.
The next question is, “How and when did you lose the
I became jealous of the Prophet, and then I was double,
and overlooked everything that was right, and spent all my
time in looking for evil; and then, when the Devil began to lead
me, it was easy for the carnal mind to rise up, which is anger,
jealousy, and wrath. I could feel it within me; I felt angry and
wrathful; and the Spirit of the Lord was gone, as the scriptures
say, I was blinded, and I thought I saw a beam in brother
Joseph’s eye, but it was nothing but a mote, and my own eye
was filled with the beam… (Thomas B. Marsh, J.D., vol. 5,
The School of the Elders
The School of the Elders started in December, 1834 to
prepare Elders to become full-time missionaries. They
studied history, geography, literature, philosophy,
politics, grammar and theology.
They were given “7 major lectures.”
Hiram Page was the teacher.
Joseph taught grammar and Hebrew before Joshua
Seixas became their teacher.
We consider that God has created man with a
mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which
may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and
diligence given to the light communicated from
heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer
man approaches perfection, the clearer are his
views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he
has overcome the evils of his life and lost every
desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at
that point of faith where he is wrapped in the
power and glory of his Maker, and is caught up
to dwell with Him (Joseph Smith, HC, vol. 2, 8).
The Twelve Apostles called in 1835
1. Thomas B. Marsh, (age 35, apostatized and came
2. David W. Patton, (age 35, didn’t know his birth
David rode a white mule and had the gift of healing.
He is the one who President Spencer W. Kimball in
Miracle of Forgiveness mentioned his encounter with
Cain. He said that Cain was dark and covered with
hair and had no clothing on. Cain told David that he
was seeking death.
David asked God if he could die as a martyr.
David once threw a heckler at a meeting over
10 feet in the air into a wood pile after the
heckler said, “I understand Mormons kick out
devils, is that true?” The people in the building
who saw it said it was true after David threw
him. He possessed great strength.
Later in vision, Joseph Jr. said that David
Patton was welcomed with great excitement
into the Spirit World as he had been
commissioned to teach the John Wesley family.
3. Brigham Young:
Age 33, faithful to the end! He presided over the Church for 33
years, no one has served as Prophet longer in this dispensation
(June 1844-1877), he was formally sustained in 1847.
4. Heber C. Kimball:
Age 33, faithful to the end! Joseph said that if he ever needed
someone to prophesy it was Heber. He once rebuked the wind
at the bowery on Temple Square and commanded it to be
silent, and it was done. Moroni visited him two weeks before
he died and told him the Savior was pleased with him.
5. Orson Hyde:
Age 30, faithful. Dedicated the Holy Land, learned the German
language in eight days, learned Hebrew and memorized the
Bible in English. Later in his life he got a disease that caused
him to become obese. He was so large that he couldn’t roll
over by himself which caused him constant pain.
6. William E. McLellen:
Age 29, not faithful, became a bitter enemy to Joseph and the
Church. He was an evil man who later sought the blood of
Joseph. He tried to write a revelation but failed. He was
excommunicated in 1838 and never returned.
7. Parley P. Pratt:
Age 27, martyred in Arkansas at the age of 50 in May of 1857.
He was the second Apostle killed in this dispensation.
8. Luke S. Johnson:
Age 27, faithful. He lost his membership but came back.
However, Brigham Young would not put him back in the
Twelve. He died in Tooele, Utah while serving as a Bishop. He
helped convert his friend Ezekiel in the middle of the night.
9. William Smith:
Age 23, not faithful.
10. Orson Pratt:
Age 23, faithful. First to view the Salt Lake Valley, and was the
first President of the Elders Quorum. Brigham Young said once
of him, “You can cut him up into little tiny pieces and every
piece would cry out saying, ‘Mormonism is true!’” He crossed
the ocean 16 times serving missions for the Church.
11. John F. Boynton:
Age 23, not faithful. Great Scientist, invented the soda
fountain and some small electrical appliances. He left the
Church in 1837 and said, “I have never seen a happy moment
since I joined the Church.” He was with Warren Parrish and
Lyman Johnson when they took 100,000 dollars from a bank
through fraud. He was excommunicated and never returned.
12. Lyman E. Johnson:
Age 23, not faithful. Excommunicated and never
returned. He cursed Joseph Smith at the top of his
lungs until his face went black.
The Apostolic Charge was given to the Twelve by
In the meridian of times, the Savior himself gave that
This should give you and idea of the importance and
the strength of Oliver Cowdery.
Visitors in 1835
By the mid-1830's, Joseph was spending hours each week with
visitors. He said, “I have been hindered by a multitude of
Joseph created a Tran biblical world unlike anything known in
Christian churches and had no interest in forming alliances with
less venturous souls.
Joshua the Jewish Minister came to Kirtland. Some speculated
that he was the notorious Robert Matthias, who had recently
stood trial for murder in New York and served time for
whipping his adult daughter. Later he admitted that he was
Matthias and claimed he was a descendant of the apostle
Matthias who was chosen to replace Judas. He taught that
Matthias’s spirit was resurrected in him.
Joseph told Matthias that “his doctrine
was of the Devil and that he was in reality
in possession of a wicked and depraved
spirit.” Joseph told him to leave and as he
reflected in his journal, “cast our the Devil
in bodily shape.”
Joseph’s historical role, as he understood
it, was to give God a voice in a world that
had stopped listening.
Texts --- 1835
William E. McLellin, was chosen as an apostle in
February 1835. He left the church a year later,
disillusioned by his failure to receive a manifestation at
the Kirtland temple dedication. The journal he kept of
a missionary journey with the Twelve from may
through September 1835 is the best account we have
of Mormon missionary work in the early years.
Missionaries had no plan, no pamphlet for
investigators to study, no standard message. The
Book of Mormon was the only printed literature they
carried with them.
The 1835 Doctrine & Covenants was meant to
summarize the Church’s major beliefs and
provide a handbook of its policies.
The “Lectures on Faith” were a perfect example
of orderly presentation. Given in the fall of
1834 by Sidney Rigdon and others, with input
from Joseph Smith, the lectures were included
in every edition of the Doctrine & Covenants
In 1835 Michael Chandler came to Kirtland with
four mummies and some rolls of papyrus.
Chandler’s account of the mummies was full of
contradictions. He claimed he inherited the
artifacts from his uncle, Antonio Lebolo. Lebolo
had indeed obtained Egyptian artifacts around
1829 but never mentioned Chandler. Lebolo
sold eleven mummies to a Trieste merchant in
new York. Chandler probably purchased them
in New York.
Joseph announced that one roll contained the
writing of Abraham of Ur and the other the
writings of Joseph of Egypt. He purchased the
four mummies and the papyri for $2,400, a
huge sum when money was desperately
needed for other projects.
Joseph would continue to show the relics until
The reader was suddenly dropped into
Abraham’s mind and world, and Joseph the
translator was entirely invisible.
The exclusion of black men from the priesthood was publicly
stated only after his death.
Except for a brief lapse in early 1836, Joseph advocated taking
the gospel to “both bond and free,” ignoring race.
Nothing was done during Joseph’s lifetime to withhold
priesthood from black members.
Joseph knew Elijah Abel, a black man who was ordained as a
seventy, and was said to have entertained him.
Blacks “come into the worlds slaves, mentally and physically,”
he once said in private conversation. “Change their situation
with the whites and they would be like them.” He favored a
policy of “national Equalization,” though he retained the
common prejudice against intermarriage and blending of races .
Now with the Egyptian papyri before
them, Joseph again let the men with the
greatest interest in such undertakings —
Oliver Cowdery, William W. Phelps,
Warren Parrish, and Frederick G. Williams
—attempt translations. Parrish was told he
“shall see much of my ancient records,
and shall know of hidden things, and shall
be endowed with a knowledge of hidden
Eventually they pulled their work together into a
collection they called “Grammar & Alphabet of the
Egyptian Language,” written in the hands of Phelps
Of all the men working on the papyri, only Joseph
produced a coherent text.
In 1967, that view of translation suffered a blow when
eleven scraps of the Abraham papyri, long since lost
and believed to have been burned were discovered in
the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and
given to Latter-day Saint leaders in Salt Lake City.
Color pictures were printed and scholars
went to work. The texts were thought to
be the Abraham papyri because Joseph
had published facsimiles from the papyri
with his translation, and the same pictures
appeared on the museum fragments. The
translation of these texts by expert
Egyptologists would finally prove or
disprove Joseph’s claims to miraculous
translating powers. Would any of the
language correspond to the text in his
book of Abraham?
Some Mormons were crushed
when the fragments turned out to
be rather conventional funerary
texts placed with mummified
bodies, in this case Hor’, to assure
continuing life as an immortal god.
According to the Egyptologists,
nothing on the fragments
resembled Joseph’s account of
Some Mormon scholars, notably Hugh Nibley, doubt
that the actual texts for Abraham and Joseph have
His book of Abraham picked up themes found in texts
like the Book of Jasher and Flavius Josephus’s
Antiquities of the Jews.
Dr. Daniel L. M. Peixotto, a professor of medicine at
Willougby University four miles from Kirtland, was
hired to teach Hebrew in the School of the Prophets.
When Peixotto could not come, the brethren hired
Joshua Seixas, a Jewish convert to Christianity then
teaching at the Western Reserve College.
Joseph proudly recorded Seixas’s comment that
“they were the most forward of any class he
had ever taught.” Joseph was one of ten to
meet for extra sessions with the professor.
Seixas called Joseph and “indefatigable”
student. Excited by his learning, Joseph
resolved “to pursue the study of languages until
he should become the master of them, if he
were permitted to live long enough.” The
Hebrew classes continued until the dedication
of the temple in March, when Seixas dropped
Every attempt to regularize belief was diffused
by new revelations. Who could tell what would
be revealed next—what new insights into the
patriarchal past, what stories of Abraham,
Moses, or Enoch, what glimpses into heaven?
Joseph himself could not predict the course or
Mormon doctrine. All he could say he summed
up [in a later article of faith: “We believe all
that God has revealed, all that he does not
reveal, and we believe that he will yet reveal
many great an important things pertaining to
the kingdom of God.”
Strife August — December 1835
Be assured brethren I am willing to stem the
torrent of all opposition, in storms in tempests
in thunders and lightning by sea and by land in
the wilderness or among false brethren or
mobs or wherever God in his providence may
call us and I am determined that neither
heights nor depths, principalities nor powers,
things present or to come, nor any other
creature shall separate me from you (Joseph
Smith to the Twelve Apostles, January 1836).
Joseph’s journal for September 22, 1835,
through April 3, 1836 was the most extensive,
comprehensive, and revealing he ever kept.
The 1835-36 journal contains almost daily
entries for six months.
Like everyone raised in the culture, the Smiths
had a clannish loyalty to one another and a
fiery resentment against the slightest
derogation of their worth. In the culture of
honor, one would battle to the death in defense
of reputation. An honorable man who suffered
an insult would spare nothing to get even.
Through the fall of 1835, he engaged in a series of small
quarrels, domestic disturbances, and squabbles. He did not
rise above the fray in the serene majesty of his calling.
While Joseph was sensitive to the spirit of others, he may have
been tone-deaf to the spirit of his own words. Unable to bear
criticism, he rebuked anyone who challenged him. Benjamin
Johnson, a great admirer, said, “Criticism, even by associates,
was rarely acceptable, and contradiction would rouse in him the
lion at once, for by no one of his fellow would he be
superseded or disputed.”
Joseph admitted sometimes being too “harsh from the impulse
of the moment.” Then his affection returned. “In as much as I
have wounded your feelings, he implored the Twelve, “I ask
your forgiveness, for I love you and will hold you up with all my
heart in all righteousness before the Lord.” A flood of pledges
Once people gave way, Joseph forgave and forgot the
matter. When he could not have his way, Joseph
sometimes rained down curses on his opponents.
Once Joseph said that William was as ugly as the
devil. At this, William rushed Joseph, who had pulled
off his coat to defend himself. Joseph had to be
rescued from William’s blows. When he got home, he
could not sit or stand without help. Ashamed at being
beaten, Joseph explained why his younger brother
had won the fight.
Joseph had been “marred” by mobbers who
had debilitated his body, he reminded William.
On the other hand, he warmly welcomed them
back when they were contrite.
In a remarkable passage in his journal, he
moved from simple gratitude to exaltation of
the woodcutters who had cut his winter’s wood
In the name of Jesus Christ I invoke the rich benediction of
heaven to rest upon them and their families, and I ask my
heavenly Father to preserve their health, and those of their
wives and children, that they may have strength of body to
perform their labors in their several occupations in life, and the
use of activity of their limbs, also powers of intellect and
understanding hearts, that they may treasure up wisdom,
understanding, and intelligence, above measure, and be
preserved from plagues, pestilence, and famine, and from the
power of the adversary, and the hands of evil designing men
and have power over all their enemies; and the way be
prepared before them, that they may journey to the land of
Zion and be established on their inheritances, to enjoy
undisturbed peace and happiness forever, and ultimately to be
crowned with everlasting life in the Celestial Kingdom of God,
which blessings I ask in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Joseph prayed for 800 to 1,000 well-
armed men to accomplish the work of
going back and taking Jackson
County. David Whitmer was appointed
“Captain of the Lord’s Host.” In
September Joseph challenged the
Kirtland High Council that “we go next
season to live or die in Jackson
The Order of Heaven
January — April 1836
The winter and spring months of 1836 were among
Joseph’s happiest. For a time, everything went right.
Life in Kirtland
How the Smiths paid the bills in those years was a
mystery. Joseph’s journal showed no evidence of
working for money. He opened a store in Kirtland, but
the store was not profitable. The Smith’s never lived
well, but in their small house on the hill neither did
The temple committee was so far in debt it
appealed constantly for contributions in order
to pay the workers. Joseph negotiated loan
after loan until the size of the debt drove him
to pleading and bargaining with the Lord.
Heber C. Kimball later estimated final
construction cost at between $40,000 and
$50,000, a huge sum when a laborer was lucky
to receive $400 a year. A large part was paid
by one wealthy convert, John Tanner, who
donated $13,000 and may have loaned another
The elders were meeting in the temple primarily to
prepare for the “endowment of power.” Spiritual
blessings, much like an endowment, were received at
first session of the school of the Prophets in 1833.
Oliver Cowdery told the Twelve, when they were
ordained in February 1835, that they were “not to go
to other nations till they received their endowments.”
Because they had not known Jesus in mortality, these
modern apostles had to know Him by revelation.
“Never cease striving until you have seen God face to
face,” Cowdery told them.
Joseph was preoccupied with the right
order of everything. Church councils
had to follow the pattern of the
ancients. His history said the
cornerstones of the Kirtland temple
were laid “after the order of the
priesthood,” which was to divide
twenty-four priesthood holders into
four groups of six and assign each to
Beginning at the Southeast
A variant of this assemblage of authorities,
called “the Grand Council,” William W. Phelps
wrote his wife that the “Grand Council” was
“one of the most interesting meetings he ever
Women remained invisible in the organization
and were absent from most ritual events. Some
resented it. But in this spiritual season,
weddings and dinners involving women were
turned into holy celebrations.
During the winter, a small committee under
Joseph’s direction worked out rules for temple
1. No going up the stairs during worship.
2. No marring the house with knife or pencil.
3. No children playing in the rooms.
4. Speakers were not to be interrupted by
laughter, whispering, or “menacing gestures.”
5. Presiding officers were not to be insulted.
Decorum apparently had to be perfect for the
Saints to receive the outpouring of heaven.
Later the Saints removed their shoes and
dressed in white on entering the temple.
In January 1833, Joseph had washed the feet
of thirteen brethren following the example of
Jesus Christ in the gospel of John. In 1836, a
new kind of washing, one for the whole body,
was instituted, following Old Testament
Oliver Cowdery gave a full description of washings performed
the previous Saturday.
Met in the evening with Brother Joseph Smith Jr. at his house,
in company with Brother John Corrill, and after pure water was
prepared, call upon the Lord and proceeded to wash each
other’s bodies, and bathe the same with whiskey, perfumed
with cinnamon. This we did that we might be clean before the
Lord for the Sabbath, confessing our sins and covenanting to
be faithful to God. While performing this washing unto the Lord
with solemnity, our minds were filled with many reflections
upon the propriety of the same, and how the priests anciently
used to wash always before ministering before the Lord. As we
had nearly finished the purification. Brother Martin Harris came
in and was also washed.
When the brethren met the following Thursday,
they added an anointing with oil. While the
high councils from Kirtland and Missouri waited
in two adjoining rooms, Joseph and six other
men attended to “the ordinance of anointing
our heads with holy oil.” Joseph Sr. rose and
anointed the others in order of age.
One searches in vain for such rituals among
Joseph’s Protestant contemporaries. Joseph
drew upon ceremonies in Exodus. Later the
Saints clothed themselves in holy garments like
After Joseph’s anointing, he wrote, “the heavens were
opened upon us and I beheld the celestial kingdom of
God (D&C 137). He saw the Twelve Apostles in a
foreign land “standing together in a circle much
fatigued, with their clothes tattered and feet swollen,
with their eyes cast downward, and Jesus standing in
their midst, and they did not behold him, the Savior
looked upon them and wept.” All through the night,
Joseph saw visions: Elder McLellin in the south healing
a lame man, and Brigham Young in a southwest
desert preaching from a rock to a “dozen men of
color, who, appeared hostile.” Young was protected
by an “angel of God standing above his head with a
drawn sword.” Joseph said that many of the brethren
“saw glorious visions also.”
Washings and anointings were done from oldest to youngest.
Through January and February, the brethren read Hebrew by
day, and washed, anointed, prayed, and beheld visions by
Joseph’s method for bringing his people to holiness differed
from the approach of evangelical preachers. Rather than
convicting people of their sins, thus humbling them before God,
Joseph relied upon the power of ritual to arouse their spirits.
Joseph said nothing about a revelation on washings and
anointings. The only scriptural authorization came from Exodus.
Yet Joseph assured the brethren that the orders were
“according to the mind of God.” He introduced the washings,
anointings, and sealings as rigorously as any commandment.
After the seven-month suspension, the missionaries
were to return to the field to gather Israel,
empowered now by their spiritual experiences.
The next Sunday, about a thousand people attended
the morning service and returned in the afternoon for
the sacraments. At the conclusion, Joseph and
Cowdery went into one of the pulpits and had the veil
dropped, cutting them off from view of the
congregation. In seclusion, they experienced one of
Joseph’s most spectacular visions, later recorded by
Warren Cowdery, Joseph’s clerk and Oliver’s brother
The frequency of announced
revelations slowed in ensuing
years. Doctrine came through
sermons. The revelation behind
the veil suggested that Joseph
was moving ahead of his
followers. He began to speak of
revelations they could not bear.