JS, Authorization, for , , Adams Co., IL, 6 May 1839; handwriting of ; signature of JS; one page; CHL. Includes docket.
One leaf measuring 10⅞ × 7¾ inches (28 × 20 cm). The authorization was folded for transmission and filing. The document has undergone conservation work to fix tearing along the folds. The top section of the leaf is missing; although the text of the authorization is intact, the missing section may have contained a title. The verso contains a docket in unidentified handwriting: “Conference | Recommend to | O. Granger”.
The document came into the possession of Phineas Kimball Jr., who was the brother-in-law of ’s daughter and who appears to have retained this and other documents belonging to Granger. The authorization was passed down in the family to Phineas Kimball Jr.’s granddaughter Margaret Rheinburger Burke. At the time of her death, the document was given to her stepdaughter Sylvia Burke Van Blarcom, who sold it to a collector. The Church History Library acquired the document in January 2011.
See the full bibliographic entries for Authorization for Oliver Granger, 6 May 1839, and Authorization for Oliver Granger, 1 Nov. 1839, in the CHL catalog.
On 6 May, JS signed an authorization for , instructing him to travel to , Ohio, take charge of the there, and preside over affairs in the region. Granger was assigned these tasks during the first session of a general the church held on 4–5 May 1839. He had been acting as an for JS and the church since 1837. In July 1838, JS dictated a revelation directing Granger to go to Kirtland to “contend earnestly for the redemption of the .” By October 1838, Granger had resolved debts with several , Ohio, merchants and was working to resolve other debts that JS and fellow church leaders owed.
continued to manage church affairs in in 1839, traveling between that area and . Several Saints living in Illinois, including JS, still held property in the Kirtland area and provided Granger with powers of attorney and other agreements allowing him to manage their property. Granger was also running a store in Kirtland by 1839, although it is not clear whether this store was a new venture or a continuation of one of the earlier mercantile firms that church members had established.
The responsibilities assigned to at the 4–5 May general conference highlighted the church’s continued presence in and expanded his earlier assignment to resolve financial matters there. During the conference, the congregation also resolved that Latter-day Saints living in the eastern should be encouraged to move to the area, if they preferred to settle there rather than in or , and again recognized Kirtland as a of . This information was included in Granger’s authorization because of his assignment to preside in Kirtland and perhaps also because the information provided important direction for Saints in the eastern United States with whom Granger might communicate.
The authorization featured here was written on 6 May and may have been produced as part of a meeting of church leaders held that day. One week after wrote this authorization and JS signed it, the First Presidency created a lengthier authorization that provided further detail regarding ’s assignment in and expressed the church leaders’ confidence and trust in him. Granger may have carried both authorizations with him or may have taken only the latter.
For example, on 15 April 1839 Granger received two powers of attorney, one from Aaron Johnson and another from John W. Clark, to rent out their houses and land in Kirtland. On 7 May, William Marks provided Granger with powers of attorney for two Kirtland buildings that Marks owned. (John W. Clark, Power of Attorney, to Oliver Granger, 15 Apr. 1839; Aaron Johnson, Power of Attorney, to Oliver Granger, 15 Apr. 1839; William Marks, Power of Attorney, to Oliver Granger, 7 May 1839, Hiram Kimball Collection, CHL.)
This is to Certify that at a General held at , Adam’s County, Illinois, by the , on Saturday the 4th May 1839.
Joseph Smith Jr presiding
It was Resolved, That be appointed to go <to> and take the Charge and oversight of the and preside over the general affairs of the Church in that place.
It was also Resolved— That the advice of this conference to the Brethren living in the Eastern , is, to for them to move to and the vicinity thereof, and again settle that place as a of , provided that they may feel so inclined in preference to their moving further Westward.
The wording of this sentence is almost the same as that of the fifth resolution recorded in the minutes for the general conference session on 4 May 1839. In the minutes, the phrase “provided that they may feel so inclined, in preference to their moving further west” was inserted at a later time by Mulholland, who inscribed both the minutes and this certificate. It may be that this idea originated during the creation of this certificate and was then copied into the 4 May 1839 minutes. The concept of maintaining or rebuilding Kirtland as a stake of the church, rather than calling all the Saints to gather to one location, was not new. The location where the main body of the church would settle became uncertain during the Missouri troubles and the Saints’ flight to Illinois, perhaps contributing to church leaders’ continued interest in Kirtland. (Minutes, 4–5 May 1839; Letter to Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young, 16 Jan. 1839.)