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Remarks delivered at the General Conference of the Church at Nauvoo, Ill. on April 8, 1841
Source: Times and Seasons 2 (15 April 1841):387-88

Quorum Organization

At an early hour this morning the different quorums, who had Previously been organized, came to the ground and took their seats as follows: the First Presidency, with the presidents of the quorums on the stand; the High Council, on the front of the stand; the High Priesthood 1 on the front to the right of the stand; the Seventies immediately behind the high priesthood; the Elders in the front, to the left; the Lesser Priesthood on the extreme right.

¶ On motion; Resolved: that this session of Congress continue until Sunday evening.

¶ Pres't. J. Smith declared the rule of voting, to be a majority in each quorum, exhorted them to deliberation, faith and prayer, and that they should be strict, and impartial in their examinations. He then told them that the presidents of the different quorums would be presented before them for their acceptance or rejection . . . .

Temple Committee

¶ Pres't. Joseph Smith presented the building Committee of the "House of the Lord," to the several quorums collectively, who were unanimously received.

Vacancy in 12

¶ Pres't. Smith observed, that it was necessary that some one should be appointed to fill the quorum of the twelve, in the room of the late Elder David W. Patten, whereupon, Pres't. Rigdon nominated Elder Lyman Wight to that office, which was unanimously accepted. . . . [P.M.]

Baptism for the Dead

¶ [P.M.] Pres't. Rigdon delivered a discourse to the conference on the subject of "Baptism for the dead" which was set forth in a manner new and interesting, and with an eloquence peculiar to the speaker, which was listened to with intense interest by the assembly.

¶ Gen. Bennett made some very appropriate observations in continuation of the subject.

¶ Pres't. Smith likewise followed on the same subject, threw considerable light on the doctrine which had been investigated.


1. "High Priesthood" (with varying capitalization) in all of Joseph Smith's written revelations refers to those ordained as "High Priests." LDS D&C 84:29-30, written prior to the distinction of "Melchizedek" and "Aaronic" priesthood groupings, identifies the priest office as the "lesser priesthood." In that revelation, the offices of bishop and elder are identified as "appendages" to the office of high priest whereas the offices of deacon and teacher are appendages to the office of priest (the lesser priesthood). In other words, priesthood groupings were as follows:

High Priest
Elder - - Bishop

Deacon - - Teacher

With the advent of further priesthood offices (seventy, apostle), since 1835, priesthood offices began to be grouped under the Melchizedek and Aaronic umbrellas rather than the "high priest[hood]," "lesser priest[hood]" umbrellas as

Melchizedek Priesthood
Apostle -- Seventy -- Patriarch -- High Priest -- Elder -- [Bishop]

Aaronic Priesthood

This allowed for a more inclusive terminology, since the offices of Seventy and Apostle clearly fit the profile of higher priesthood. The terminological development led to some literary problems, especially when applying the early revelations to the expanded organization. For example, John Corrill, in his 1839 "History of the Mormons" confuses the two terms high or higher priesthood with Melchizedek priesthood and lesser priesthood with Aaronic priesthood, an apparently more common confusion as time passed. The new terminology gradually began to be overlayed on the older revelations, sometimes creating confusion in interpreting the texts. The high priest[hood] remained the presiding office in the the Church however, with the President of the high priesthood being the presiding officer of the LDS Church (see D&C 107:22). Driving the revamped terminology in part was D&C 107, ironically a mixture itself of the new and old (the bulk of the text following verse 58 dates from 1831 and uses the old terms -see verse 64 for example, and the contrary instruction of verse 61 (old regulations) and 87, 88 (new regulations)). Adding somewhat to the confusion in terminology was the attempt of the 1835 publication committee to back-date the new "flow-chart" into some of the older revelations e.g., D&C 20, and the wish to add new information to older texts e.g. D&C 68. The remarks of Joseph Smith at the 6Apr37 meeting are relevant to explanations of the newer terms.

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