In a short time the quorums of the church were filled. Of the ten men who occupied in the Quorum of Twelve in 1873, only seven were left, and at the Conference of 1887 four more men were chosen by revelation to occupy in the Quorum, James W. Gillen, Heman C. Smith, Joseph Luff, and Gomer T. Griffiths. These four men proved by the length and quality of their service to the church the wisdom of their calling. The church was never after without a complete or nearly complete Quorum of Apostles. The first year the full quota of Twelve occupied in the Quorum was in 1897.
In 1890 the Standing High Council, the judicial quorum of the church which had become greatly depleted, was reorganized so that it could function as intended by the law of the church. This important body has been maintained from that date at full strength.
The work of the seven presidents of seventy became stabilized by direct revelation in relation to the perpetuation of the quorums of seventy and their own council.
For a few years, President Joseph Smith had for his counselors two men who were especially set apart for other work, Patriarch Alexander H. Smith and Bishop Edmund L. Kelley. At the Conference of 1902, the Presidency was filled with two men who could devote their entire time to the work, R. C. Evans and Frederick M. Smith, eldest son of the President. The two former counselors were now able to revert to their own work.
A significant development in the field of foreign missions occurred when Peter Andersen, a Dane, John W. Rushton of England, and Cornelius A. Butterworth, who had made his home in Australia, were called into the Quorum of Twelve. These ordinations were hailed as forerunners of a great expansion in foreign missionary work. At the same time bishops were ordained in England (Thomas Taylor), in Australia (George Lewis), and in the Society Islands (Metuaore). The ordination of bishops extended throughout the States and was expected to establish important local centers in this country. As part of the same period of expansion, tracts were ordered printed in foreign languages.
Perhaps no event in this period of church history had as great appeal to the Saints as the forming of "stakes" in Lamoni and Independence. There had been a stake at Kirtland in the early days, and the word, however peculiar its connotation in this connection might be to others, had very clear associations to old-time Saints. Early in 1853 a stake had been authorized at Zarahemla. It was premature; nothing further was heard of it except that the Word of Consolation only a short time later said: "there is no stake to which the Saints on this continent are commanded to gather." In 1901 they were instructed by revelation to organize two stakes: one at Lamoni and one at Independence. The organizations were very impressive. Mothers took their children that they might say in future years they had been present at this history-making event. Independence Stake was organized Wednesday, April 24, 1901 and Lamoni Stake Tuesday, April 30. George H. Hulmes became president of the Independence Stake and John Smith, president of the Lamoni Stake. Roderick May, bishop of Independence District, and William Anderson, bishop of Decatur District, and their counselors were chosen to form the bishoprics of the new stakes and were so ordained. Twelve men were also chosen and ordained in each stake as high councilors. The Independence Stake was further divided in 1916, becoming Kansas City, Holden, and Independence Stakes. This Independence Stake was still later (1920) organized as the City of Zion under the immediate supervision of the Presidency, Presiding Bishopric, and Standing High Council. Meanwhile in May, 1917, the Far West and Nodaway Districts were combined to form the Far West Stake with Richard S. Salyards, president, and Beauford J. Scott, bishop.
In 1946, Holden Stake was renamed "Central Missouri Stake," and in 1950 two new stakes were organized: Los Angeles (California) and Detroit (Michigan) International. By action of the same General Conference (April, 1950), Independence was reorganized into the "Center Stake of Zion."
With the completion and orderly assignment of priesthood affairs, the church had grown also. The conferences where each member cast his vote after the manner of a general assembly had very soon grown unwieldly, and it was necessary for the General Conferences to become representative bodies. After some discussion and some amendment, the rules of representation now provide that the Melchisedec priesthood of the church shall be ex-officio members of the Conference, and that the delegate vote of the Conference shall consist of representatives on the basis of one delegate to every hundred members, with one delegate for each isolated branch having less than one hundred members.
There were many events of exceptional interest through the years. The original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, those precious yellowed pages entrusted to David Whitmer by Oliver Cowdery just before his death--pages that the old man would have guarded with his life if necessary, was always a point of interest. Many were the visitors who went to Richmond, Missouri, where the white-haired, one-remaining witness of the Book of Mormon lived, to listen with joy to his testimony and look on the pages written by the hand of Oliver Cowdery and others back in that long ago day, when the history of the church had yet to be lived and suffered. Once a committee met at Richmond to correct the current edition of the Book of Mormon by the original manuscript. All future editions followed that corrected copy. At length, after the death of Whitmer (1888), the manuscript came into the hands of the Reorganized Church (April, 1903), together with a history written by John Whitmer, first church historian, a few pages of manuscript revelations, and the original manuscript of the characters taken to Professor Anthon and Doctor Mitchell.
Another aspect of the growth of the church has been its institutional development.
On November 12, 1895, the cornerstone for Graceland College, the church's own school, was laid, and in 1897, January 1, the building was dedicated. College classes in the meantime had started in September, 1895, and have continued to this date. Frederick M. Smith, eldest son of Joseph and third president of the church, was the first graduate, coming from the large and more efficient university at Iowa City to complete his work at the church college, being graduated in 1898. Over the years, new buildings have been added to the Graceland campus. Now a two year junior college--the oldest in the state of Iowa--Graceland regularly enrolls approximately 600 students. The United States, Canada, and numerous countries abroad are represented in its student body.
Ten years after Graceland opened her doors, the church was directed in 1906 by special command to build a "sanitarium, a place of refuge and help for the sick and afflicted,"1 with Doctor Joseph Luff of the Twelve in charge. Independence was the place of its location. Excavation for the building was begun in August, 1907, and the building was formally opened on December 16, 1909, entirely free from debt. This hospital has been in constant operation ever since.
In the year 1930, the community and the church joined hands to raise funds, which resulted in the erection of a building adjacent to the old building. During the depression, work on this was stopped, but the building was kept in a good state of preservation during that period.
In 1941, negotiations carried on with the United States Government resulted in the receiving of a grant in the amount of $288,000 which made, possible the completion of four floors of the building for hospital facilities, and in addition to this a complete heating plant for the entire new building and the old building as well. This grant was allotted because of the civilian hospitalization needs of the community having been increased, due to the placing of a war ordnance plant east of the city of Independence, which caused a substantial increase in the civilian population of eastern Jackson County.
The grant given was allotted outright to the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital, and the ownership and management of the institution and all assets belonging thereto are controlled entirely by the church, through the Board of Trustees consisting of the three members of the First Presidency, the three members of the Presiding Bishopric, the church physician, and two ex-officio members, viz., the mayor of the city of Independence and one member of the county court.
In 1952 all of the new building was finished for occupancy. It now has seven floors with a bed capacity of two hundred. The total investment in the hospital to date is $1,350,000, and it is now valued at $3,000,000, according to current prices. Approximately 8,000 patients are cared for each year. The instillation of new facilities such as the laundry, storeroom, maintenance shop, physical therapy department, cast room, enlarged blood bank, etc., have been completed. The hospital is approved by the American College of surgeons and the American Hospital association.
The School of Nursing is an important department of the hospital. It was opened in 1910 and has a capacity for one hundred students. It is the only institution of higher learning in Independence. It has been accredited by the Missouri State Board of Nurse Examiners for many years, and was given temporary accreditation by the National Nurse Accrediting Service in May, 1952. The faculty is now working toward permanent accreditation by the national service. The school is a basic three-year course in nursing and is open to young women between the ages of 17 and 35 who have a minimum education of high school graduation, and who rank in the upper half of their graduating class.
In the year 1906 provision was made for the realization of a project long planned and discussed by the "Daughters of Zion," the women's organization of the church. A committee, selected from some of the prime workers in this movement, was appointed to serve in conjunction with the Bishop of the church and his counselors to provide for this home for children when it could be accomplished without accruing debt. The committee of women were: Mrs. B. C. Smith, Callie B. Stebbins, Ruth Lyman Smith, Eveline Burgess, and Emma Hougas. In a short time plans were perfected, and the Children's Home in Lamoni was opened August 15, 1911. It functioned for a number of years.
Homes for old people have been provided in various centers: Lamoni, Iowa; Independence, Missouri; Kirtland, Ohio; and eventually Holden, Missouri. Recently, two homes have been maintained: one at Lamoni, and the other at Independence. Early in 1955 these two were consolidated into a single unit at Independence. A new building near the Sanitarium has been erected. It is called "Resthaven."
Sunday schools were always encouraged by the church, although some were dubious about them. The third Joseph Smith, son of the Martyr, remembers being one of sixty boys in a Sunday school class in old Nauvoo. "I remember," he says, "the meetings in the grove on the hillside near the temple, and going there to Sunday school. Here I was a scholar in a class of about sixty boys under the teaching of Almon W. Babbitt, who, as my memory now recalls him, was a kind, friendly, pleasant teacher.... He was a man of good presence, and quite able to teach."2
Edwin Stafford speaks of the same Sunday school, "I well remember the first time my brother and myself attended Sabbath school at Nauvoo, from the fact that this was the first time we had ever done so since becoming members of the church; there existing in the minds of the Saints with whom we had associated before going there, a prejudice against Sunday, schools styling them sectarian institutions. It was held in the grove just west or south of west of where the temple was in process of erection; and it seemed as if the grove was filled with the different classes of which such schools consist. The superintendent was Brother William Marks, President of the Stake of Nauvoo."3
Very shortly after Joseph Smith (Young Joseph) came to the church in 1860, he established a Sunday school in Nauvoo, and one was started in St. Louis as early as 1864. By 1869 the church was publishing a paper for Sunday school, by the name of Zion's Hope. The President of the church, Joseph Smith, was its first editor, though much of the work devolved upon Marietta Walker (Frances) and Mark H. Forscutt (Uncle Mark).
In those early days a small book of lessons or questions was published for use in the Sunday schools, and branch presidents were urged to encourage Sunday schools and organize them wherever possible. The General Sunday School Association was organized April, 1891, and operated efficiently for years, with every Sunday school in the church a member, and even the Home Department taking active part in its legislative sessions. The association took over the publication of the Sunday school papers and lesson helps, and operated at a profit to the church.
A young people's society, designated by the ambitious title of "Zion's Religio Literary Society," was the outgrowth of several "Student Societies" and other young people's organizations. Soon an association was formed that paralleled the Sunday School Association. Although never so large or financially prosperous, this organization was a force for good among the people of the church for years. The church-wide organization for young people has since 1937 been known as Zion's League.
In 1918 the General Conference legislated to co-ordinate the departments with the general church work, placing all under the supervision of the general church authorities, and the associations were abolished, and legislation involving them was to be done upon the General Conference floor.
The women of the church have long had an organization of their own, although it has functioned under various names, the earliest being the "Prayer Union" and the "Daughters of Zion." They are now known as the Department of Women. The women of the church carry on the same church activities as have occupied the time and attention of church women everywhere.
Joseph Smith, in his declining years, crowned the gathering which had been slowly developing in Independence, by moving to Independence. The Bishop of the church, Edmund L. Kelley, had previously moved there, and soon the headquarters of the church were set up in the "goodly land"--a process of evolution so gradual that the Saints themselves hardly realized that at length the dreams of their forebears were being fulfilled.
As the burden of years fell upon the loved Bishop Kelley, Benjamin R. McGuire became Bishop in 1916, followed by Albert Carmichael in 1925, L. F. P. Curry in 1931, and G. Leslie DeLapp in 1940, all men with reputations for honor and uprightness in the world and in the church.
1 Doctrine and Covenants 127: 1.
2 "What Do I Remember About Nauvoo," Journal of History, Volume 3, page 142.
3 "Incident in the Life of One of Earth's Pilgrims," by Edwin Stafford, Autumn Leaves, Volume 1, page 506.