This section is an account of an open vision received by President Joseph Smith at Lamoni, April 16, 1902. It was accepted by the quorums and the General Conference as inspired guidance to meet the existing needs of the church.
To the Officers and Members of the Conference:
1. On the night of April 16 I made the condition of the church a subject of prayer, intensely desirous of receiving light and information in relation thereto and my duty. I awoke at the hour of three and had in presentation the following vision:
2a. I saw the assembly of the Saints and the general authorities, the latter being arranged upon a platform with the seats arranged in lines, each line from the front of the platform slightly raised to the rear.
2b. On that platform I saw the quorum of the Presidency, the Bishopric, the Twelve, and a line above the Twelve on the seat behind them, a number of the brethren, including four of the present members of the Twelve and the patriarchs now ordained and recognized in the church.
2c. The Quorum of the Twelve was filled, and the places of the four whom I saw on the upper tier of seats were occupied by others known to the church.
3. I asked the question who these men occupying the upper row of seats were, and I was told that they were evangelical ministers, called to minister in spiritual blessings to the church and to preach the gospel undeterred by the burden of the care and anxiety of presiding over missions and districts.
4. I saw in the Presidency two known to the church, but who have not hitherto been connected with the Presidency.
5a. I saw the Bishopric as at present constituted, with the attendant bishops upon either side. I asked what was the meaning of this.
5b. I was told that the Bishop should not be burdened with the spiritual care of the church except as such might be brought before him in pursuance of the law which provided for the bishop’s court.
6. I then asked what was meant by the choosing of members for the presidency so young in years. I was informed that it was for the purpose that before the Presidency should be invaded by death these younger men should be prepared by association to be of assistance to whosoever should be chosen as the President upon the emergency which should occur.
7a. The names of those of the present Quorum of Twelve whom I saw upon the upper tier of seats were James Caffall, John H. Lake, Edmund C. Briggs, and Joseph R. Lambert. These were sitting with the other evangelical ministers.
7b. Those whom I saw sitting with the Quorum of the Twelve were Frederick A. Smith, Francis M. Sheehy, Ulysses W. Greene, Cornelius A. Butterworth, and John W. Rushton.
8. Sitting with the Presidency were Frederick M. Smith and Richard C. Evans.
9. The assembly seemed to be large and orderly, with the different officers of the church in their quorums assembled in much the same order as observed at our annual conferences, but did not seem to be so large as at other times I had seen them.
10a. In regard to the gathering and the work of the Bishopric in regard to the law of tithing and consecration, I made inquiry what should be the attitude of the church in regard thereto.
10b. To this question I was answered, that the Book of Doctrine and Covenants as accepted by the church was to guide the advice and action of the Bishopric, taken as a whole, each revelation contained therein having its appropriate bearing upon each of the others and their relation thereto;
10c. and unless the liberties of the people of the church should be in jeopardy, the application of the law as stated by the bishopric should be acceded to.
10d. In case there should be a flagrant disregard of the rights of the people, the quorums of the church in joint council should be appealed to, and their action and determination should govern.
10e. I inquired what quorums of the church were meant, and I was answered, the three quorums the decisions of which are provided for in the law—the Presidency, the Twelve, and the Seventy.
11. In case of transgression in his office the Bishop should be called in question before the council which is provided for in the law, to which court all the general officers of the church are to be subject.
12. After much thought and pondering upon what I had seen as related above, together with the information contained in the answers to my inquiries, I did not see my way clear to present the matters therein contained in yesterday’s session until the church had by its votes sustained the officers of the quorums referred to.
13. It will be seen that there is an apparent invasion of the rule which has been supposed to govern the selection of evangelical ministers, but for this I am not responsible; and the whole matter is hereby submitted for the approval or disapproval of the church.
April 18, 1902