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Kirtland Camp Constitution


The constitution of the Kirtland Camp was drafted and approved on March 13, 1838. See History of the Church 3:90-91. This manuscript is located in the Church Archives, and spelling and punctuation have been preserved as in the original document.

The council of the seventies met this day in the attic story of the Lord's House and took into consideration the propriety and necessity of the body of the seventies going up to the land of Zion, in a company together, the present season; and adopted the following resolutions. Viz—Resolved. That we, as a body do agree to put our strength, our properties, and monies together, for the accomplishment of this work, and that we adopt the following rules, & laws, for the organization, and government, of the Camp.

1st That the Presidents of the Seventies, seven in number, shall be the counsellors [i.e., leaders] of the camp, and that there shall be one man appointed as treasurer, who shall by the advice of the counsellors, manage the financial concerns, during the journey, and keep a just and accurate account of all monies received, and expended for the use of the camp.

2nd That there shall be one man appointed to preside over each tent, to take charge of it, and that from the time of their appointment they [the tentmen] shall make all necessary arrangements for the providing of teams, and tents, for the journey, and they shall receive counsell and advice from the counsellors, and furthermore shall see that cleanliness, and decency are observed in all cases, the commandments kept, and the word of wisdom heeded, that is, no tobacco, tea, coffee, snuff or ardent spirits of any kind, taken internally.

3rd That every man shall be the head of his own family, and shall see that they are brought into subjection, according to the order of the camp.

4th That all those that shall subscribe to these resolutions, rules, and regulations, shall make every exertion, and use all lawful means to provide for themselves, and their families and for the use and benefit of the Camp to which they belong. And also, to hand over to the Seven Counsellors all monies appropriated for that purpose, on or before the day the camp shall start.

5th That the moneys shall be retained in the hands of the counsellors, being divided proportionately among them for safety, and shall be paid over to the Treasurer, as circumstances may require.

6th That any faithful brethren wishing to journey with us, can by subscribing to, and observing these rules and regulations.

7th That every individual shall at the end of the journey, when a settlement is to be made, pay their proportional part of the expenses of the journey, or as soon thereafter as their circumstances will admit. By expenses it is understood all that is necessarily paid out for the use of the Camp, after it starts: and that no individual is to receive any thing for services, nor for the use of a team, wagon or cow, if they safely arrive at the place, where the camp shall finally break up.

8th That these rules and laws shall be strictly observed, and every person who shall behave disorderly and not conform to them, shall be disfellowshipped by the Camp and left by the wayside.

9th That this shall be the law of the camp in journeying from this place up to the land of Zion and that it may be added unto or amended as circumstances may require, by the voice of those who shall subscribe to it. And we whose names are hereunder written do hereby bind ourselves to pay our proportional part, or the expenses of the Camp and to observe, and see that our families observe during the journey, the above rules, and regulations. In witness whereof we hereunto affix our names. [The names and number in each family who signed this constitution have been arranged in the list below at the end of this appendix in alphabetical order (with the signatures inserted above each printed name) and an asterisk has been placed in front of each individual who was ordained a seventy before the camp left Kirtland.]