A series of inspired instructions were given to the General Conference of 1885 at Independence, Missouri, through President Joseph Smith III. Read paragraph 6 before studying the section as a whole.
1a At the April session of conference of 1885, during the consideration of the sustaining of the officers of the church made the special order for the 11th, when David H. Smith, second counselor to the President, was presented, the question was asked whether any communication had been received in regard to it.
1b The President of the church replied: “The voice of the Spirit is that David H. Smith be released. He is in mine hand.”
2a When the Quorum of the Twelve were presented the question was again asked: Has any information been received concerning said quorum?
2b President Joseph Smith replied: “The voice of the Spirit is that E.C. Briggs be sustained for the present. J.W. Briggs and Z.H. Gurley are in your hands, to approve or disapprove as wisdom may direct. Be merciful, for to him that is merciful shall mercy be shown.”
3 On the 14th of the month, the eighth day of the session, when the mission of Elder E.C. Briggs was being considered, the following instruction was presented as the will of the Lord concerning the Chicago mission, over which some trouble had occurred:
4a “It is my will that my servants shall contend no longer one with another in regard to the Chicago Branch. Let the branch be instructed to report to the conference of my Saints of the district where the branch is located, the Northern Illinois District.
4b “My servants, the elders, when passing to and from, should labor in the city when time and opportunity permit, that my people there may be strengthened and encouraged.
4c “And this should be agreeable to the elders in charge of the branch and the district, who should ever be willing to aid such ministration; and this should be without jealousy on either part.”
5a The following also received in 1885, is added by direction of the conference of 1894:
5b “My servants of the Seventy may select from their number seven; of which number those now being of the seven presidents of Seventy shall be a part; who shall form the presidency of seven presidents of Seventy as provided in my law.”
6a The foregoing was accepted as proper instruction, and the conference acted upon it as such; but the word received was not presented to the quorums, nor acted upon by them as is the usual custom of the church in regard to revelations received for the guidance of the church.
6b It is given here as having been acquiesced in by all, in answer to prayer and decisive upon the matters referred to.