Church History
Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources: Newel K. Whitney

Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources: Newel K. Whitney, Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources (2021)

Newel K. Whitney, Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources (2021)

Newel K. Whitney


Engraving of Newel K. Whitney

Newel K. Whitney, 1884, engraving by H.B. Hall and Sons, based on drawing by Danquart A. Weggeland of a William W. Major painting, Church History Library, PH 2592.

Newel K. Whitney was born in Marlborough, Vermont. He married Elizabeth Ann Smith in 1822 and was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in November 1830. The following year he was ordained a high priest and appointed bishop at Kirtland, Ohio (Doctrine and Covenants 72:7–8). He subsequently traveled with Joseph Smith to Missouri (see Doctrine and Covenants 78:9) and then to New York City, Albany, and Boston (Doctrine and Covenants 84:114).

Whitney became a member of the United Firm in 1832 (Doctrine and Covenants 82:11). By revelation through Joseph Smith, he was directed to operate a store for the benefit of the Saints (Doctrine and Covenants 63:42; 72:9–10; 104:39–41). He attended the organizational meeting of the School of the Prophets in Kirtland in January 1833. Whitney also purchased the Peter French farm, on which the Kirtland temple was later built. In 1838, a revelation instructed Whitney to leave Kirtland (Doctrine and Covenants 117:1), and he and his family eventually moved to Commerce (later Nauvoo), Illinois, where he was appointed a bishop in 1839. He was admitted to the Council of Fifty in March 1844.

After Joseph Smith’s death, Whitney was named trustee-in-trust for the Church. Later in 1844 he was appointed “first bishop” of the Church. He migrated with the Latter-day Saints to the Salt Lake Valley in 1848, where, the following year, he was again appointed bishop.

References in the Doctrine and Covenants

Doctrine and Covenants 63, 64, 72, 78, 82, 84, 93, 96, 104117