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Historic

Sites

Red Brick Store

Nauvoo, Illinois

Introduction

In his Red Brick Store at Nauvoo, Illinois, the Prophet Joseph Smith prepared his successors to carry on the "great and mighty work" of God. 1 Originally built in 1841, the store became headquarters for the Church shortly after its completion. A dry goods store was located on the ground floor, and Joseph's office and a meeting hall occupied the upper level.

Here, priesthood keys to govern the Church were "rolled on to the shoulders" 2 of the Twelve Apostles. The Prophet spent many hours instructing these brethren during the last months of his life so that they could lead the Church in his absence.

In the upstairs room, Joseph organized the Female Relief Society 3 of Nauvoo, "not only to relieve the poor, but to save souls." 4 Here the Prophet administered to some Church members sacred ordinances that would later be made available to all worthy Saints in holy temples. 5 And here, Joseph Smith recorded the revelation on the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, completed the translation of the Book of Abraham, and wrote the famous Wentworth letter containing the Articles of Faith.

The building was demolished in 1890. The Community of Christ reconstructed the Red Brick Store on its original site in the late 1970s and opened it to visitors in 1980.

Quotes

Joseph Smith Quotes

In front of the stairs opens the door to my private office, or where I keep the sacred writings, with a window to the south, overlooking the river below, and the opposite shore for a great distance, which, together with the passage of boats in the season thereof, constitutes a peculiarly interesting situation, in prospect, and no less interesting from its retirement from the bustle and confusion of the neighborhood and city, and altogether is a place the Lord is pleased to bless. (History of the Church, 4:491.)

I spent the day . . . in council . . . , instructing them in the principles and order of the Priesthood, . . . and so on to the highest order of the Melchisedek Priesthood, setting forth . . . all those plans and principles by which any one is enabled to secure the fullness of those blessings which have been prepared for the Church. (History of the Church, 5:1–2.)

Witnesses

William Clayton, Clerk and Scribe for Joseph Smith

After receiving his endowment in the Red Brick Store, William Clayton recorded: "This is one of the greatest favors ever conferred on me and for which I feel grateful. May the God of Joseph preserve me and mine house to walk in the paths of righteousness all the days of my life and oh that I may never sin against him or displease him. For thou oh God knowest my desire to do right that I may have eternal life." (Quoted in James B. Allen, Trials of Discipleship (1987), 128.)

Key Events

Revelations Received

  • D&C Section 127  — 

    Sept. 1, 6, 1842. Performance of ordinances for the dead without any organization or record keeping led to the instructions relative to baptisms for the dead in these two letters from the Prophet.

  • D&C Section 129  — 

    Feb. 9, 1843. Satan’s continued efforts to deceive the Saints necessitated instructions on how to perceive if a being was from God or the devil.

  • D&C Section 132  — 

    July 12, 1843. This section came at the request of Hyrum Smith for a written revelation to convince Emma Smith of the truthfulness of the principles of eternal marriage.

Readings

Online Resources at LDS.org

Online Resources at BYU

  • "The John Taylor Nauvoo Journal: January 1845–September 1845" – 

    Includes the dedication of the Seventies Hall, construction of the temple, and increased mob violence, as well as copies of letters, public documents, and proclamations.

     Edited by Dean C. Jessee, Brigham Young University Studies 23, no. 3 (1983): 1–105

 

Footnotes

[1] Wilford Woodruff, in Susa Young Gates, "The Temple Workers' Excursion," Young Woman's Journal, Aug. 1894, 513.

[2] Deseret News, Dec. 22, 1869, 544.

[3] An organization founded by the Prophet Joseph Smith on March 17, 1842, to provide relief for the poor and needy and to save souls (True to the Faith, "Relief Society," 130).

[4] History of the Church, 5:25.

[5] See History of the Church, 5:1–2.