8 April 1840 (Wednesday Afternoon).

Times and Seasons 1 (April 1840): 94[1]

Conference met pursuant to adjournment, after singing the President arose and read the 3d chap. of John's Gospel after which prayer was offered by elder Erastus Snow. [2]

The President commenced making observations on the different subjects embraced in the chapter particularly on the 3d, 4th, 5th verses illustrating it with a very beautiful and striking figure, and throwing a flood of light on the subjects which were brought up to review. [3]

He then spoke to the elders respecting their mission, and advised those who went into the world, to preach the gospel, to leave their families provided for, with the necessaries of life; and to teach the gathering as set forth in the Holy scriptures. [4]

That it had been wisdom to, for the greater body of the church to keep on this side of the river, in order that a foundation might be established in this place, but that now, it was the privilege of the saints to occupy the lands in the Iowa, or wherever the spirit might lead them. [5]

That he did not wish to have any political influence, but wished the saints to use their political franchise to the best of their knowledge.

He then stated that since Elder Hyde had been appointed to visit the Jewish people, he had felt an impression that it would be well for Elder John E. Page [6] to accompany him on his mission.

—8 April 1840


[1] See History of the Church, 4:109. Not in Teachings. The History of the Church entry is based on the Times and Seasons account given in the text. The following remarks were made at the April 1840 General Conference of the Church.

[2] Erastus Snow (1818-88) was baptized in 1833 and served numerous preaching missions 1836-44. He was ordained an apostle in 1849.

[3] John 3:3-5.

[4] A great number of passages of scripture dealing with the gathering of Israel were prominently used when this subject was presented. Representative passages include the following: Deuteronomy 30:1-5; Psalm 107:1-7; Isaiah 2:2-5; 5:25-26; 11:11-12; 43:5-7; 54:7-8; 61:4; Jeremiah 3:12-15, 18; 16:14-16; 31:7-17; 33:7-11; 34:31-34; Ezekiel 20:34-35, 42; 37:21-27; Amos 9:14-15; Matthew 24:31. See also Teachings, pp. 79-80, 83-89, 94-102 for letters Joseph Smith wrote on the principle of the gathering of Israel.

[5] In May and June 1839 Church land agents purchased nearly 20,000 acres of land in Lee County, Iowa. Although it appears that the Prophet's desire in 1839 was to have the Saints settle on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River, opportunities subsequently allowed the Saints to acquire large parcels of land at Nauvoo, and the choice was made to build up the Illinois side. With the headquarters now firmly established, Joseph Smith is counseling the Saints to occupy the Iowa lands or "whenever the spirit might lead them" in the vicinity of Nauvoo.

[6] John E. Page (1799-1867) was baptized in 1833. He was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in December 1838.