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Remarks made during a meeting in the Kirtland Temple on Wednesday March 30, 1836 at Kirtland, Ohio
Source: Jesse Hitchcock record in Joseph Smith journal, LDS Archives

Remarks on the Seventy and Their Duties - Covenant to Avenge Further Wrongs in Missouri

. . . I ascended the pulpit and remarked to the congregation that we had passed through many trials and afflictions since the organization of this church and that this is a year of Jubilee to us and a time of rejoicing, and that it was expedient for us to prepare bread and wine sufficient to make our hearts glad, as we should not probably leave this house until morning; to this end we should call on the brethren to make a contribution, the stewards passed round and took up a liberal contribution and messengers were dispatched for bread and wine, tubs [of] water and towels were prepared and I called the house to order . . . I observed that we had fasted all day, and lest we faint; as the Saviour did so shall we do on this occasion, we shall bless the bread and give it to the 12 and they to the multitude, after which we shall bless the wine and do likewise; while waiting I made the following remarks, that the time that we were required to tarry in Kirtland to be endued1 would be fulfilled in a few days, and then the Elders would go forth and each must stand for himself, that it was not necessary for them to be sent out two by two as in former times; but to go in all meekness in sobriety and preach Jesus Christ & him crucified not to contend with others on the account of their faith or systems of religion but pursue a steady course, this I delivered by way of commandment, and all that observe them not will pull down persecution upon their heads, while those who do shall always be filled with the Holy Ghost, this I pronounced as a prophesy sealed with a Hosanna & amen. Also that the seventies are not called to serve tables or preside over churches to settle difficulties, but to preach the gospel and build them up, and set others 2 who do not belong to these quorums to preside over them who are high priests-the twelve also are not to serve tables, but to bear the keys of the kingdom to all nations, and unlock them and call upon the seventies to follow after them and assist them. The 12 are at liberty to go wheresoever they will and if one shall say, I wish to go to such a place let all the rest say Amen.

The seventies are at liberty to go to Zion if they please or go wheresoever they will and preach the gospel and let the redemption of Zion be our object, and strive to affect it by sending up all the strength of the Lords house whereever we find them, and I want to enter into the following covenant, that if any more of our brethren are slain or driven from their lands in Missouri by the mob that we will give ourselves no rest until we are avenged of our enimies to the uttermost, this covenant was sealed unanimously by a hosanna and Amen. - I then observed to the quorums that I had now completed the organization of the church and we had passed through all the necessary ceremonies, that I had given them all the instruction they needed and that they now were at liberty after obtaining their lisences to go forth and build up the kingdom of God, and that it was expedient for me and presidency to retire, having spent the night previous in waiting upon the Lord in his temple, and having to attend another dedication on the morrow, or conclude the one commenced on the last sabbath for the benifit of those of my brethren and sisters who could not get into the house on the former occasion but that it was expedient for the brethren to tarry all night and worship before the Lord in his house I left the meeting in the charge of the 12 . . .


1. The endowment referred to here was not the same as the one introduced in Nauvoo in 1842. Instead it was a kind of a preliminary version, consisting of anointings but no long formalized instruction, although Joseph seems to feel the process is completed at this time. However, the next few days would bring dramatic changes with the April 3rd "Elijah" revelation. The April 3rd revelation was never announced or discussed by Joseph Smith or Oliver Cowdery during their lifetimes. It was not mentioned in print until 1852 and was not published until November of that year. However, Joseph Smith clearly linked the coming of Elijah with the later temple rituals. For example see 21Jan44 and notes there.

2. The suggestion here that the Seventy may ordain high priests to take charge of new congregations raised up by the traveling Seventy was a point of controversy well into the twentieth century. It was finally resolved by reversing the procedures announced at the 6Apr37 meeting. The members of current Seventy's quorums are all high priests. Similar concerns were raised about the Apostles and whether they needed to be high priests to have full presiding authority. When Joseph Smith's nephew, Joseph Fielding Smith, Sr. was president of the Church, he ordained newly minted apostle George Albert Smith a high priest, saying that this was necessary to preside over the Church as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Brigham Young on the other hand felt that the apostle's office included the authority of the high priesthood. The point is moot in present practice since new apostles for the past eight decades have already been high priests and that seems unlikely to change as the typical level of experience of new apostles mandates previous ordination to the high priesthood.

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