Mormon History, Jan 4, 1836

-- Jan 4, 1836
Joseph Smith and associates begin their first day of "Hebrew School." However they receive a message from the teacher they had hired, Doctor Piexotto, that he will not be able to give his first lecture for two days. The school votes to drop Piexotto and to hire a new teacher. Joshua Seixas is hired two days later for "the term of 7 weeks for $320.00" to teach 40 students. Joseph Smith writes of Seixas, "He is highly celebrated as a Hebrew Schollar and proposes to give us sufficient knowledge in the above term of time to read and translate the language." (1)

Hebrew school organized (without Dr. Peixotto). " the translating room (west room in the upper part of the temple), "which was consecrated this morning by prayer, offered up by Father Smith. "Altercation" in the temple over singing school arrangements resolved by choosing committee of six. (2)

Kirtland, Ohio. In the translating room of the Kirtland Temple, Joseph Smith met with and organized a school for the study of the Hebrew language. (3)

[Lucy Mack Smith] Hebrew school begins. (4)

-- Jan 5, 1836
Joseph Smith writes in his diary: "Attended Hebrew School [and] divided them into classes. Had some debate with Elder Orson Pratt. He manifested a stub[b]ourn spirit, which I was much grieved at." The next day he writes, "Spent most of the fore noon in set[t]ling the unple[a]sant feelings that existed in the breast of ElderO Pratt. After much controversy, he confessed his fault and asked the forgiv[e]ness of the whol[e] school and was forgiven by all." (1)

Hebrew class is divided into classes. Joseph Smith and Orson Pratt argue over the pronunciation of a Hebrew letter. "He manifested a stubborn spirit, in which I was much grieved." (2)

-- Jan 6, 1836
Joshua Seixas, author of "Manual of Hebrew Grammar for the Use of Beginners" (1833, second edition 1834) and former Hebrew instructor of Lorenzo Snow, is "hired" for a term of seven weeks, to teach "forty scholars," beginning in about fifteen days. It is reported that he will "give us sufficient knowledge during this term to start us in reading and translating the language." He does not actually arrive in Kirtland until Jan 26. (1)

In Kirtland the stake presidency of Zion ordains 5 members of the high council in Zion to replace four who had been called to be apostles, and one who had passed away. (2)

Joseph, Orson, and school members settle Orson's "unpleasant fleeings." "And after much controversy, he confessed his fault for entering into any controversy concerning so small a matter as the sound of a Hebrew letter, and asked the forgiveness of the whole school, and was cheerfully forgiven by all." (2)

William E. McLellin returns from Hudson and reports that he has arranged for a Hebrew scholar (Joshua Seixas) to teach forty students for seven weeks for $320, beginning in two weeks. Hudson: Western Reserve College at Hudson, Summit Co., Ohio, 28 miles south of Kirtland, founded 1826. (2)

[Higbee, Elias] Set apart as member of Clay County high council in Kirtland 6 January 1836. (5)

[Lucy Mack Smith] William McLellin hires Joshua Seixas to teach Hebrew for seven weeks for $320. He begins teaching 19 January. (4)

[Whitmer, Peter, Jr] Arrived in Kirtland before 6 January 1836; appointed and set apart as high councilor for Missouri (to fill vacancy occasioned by death of brother Christian). (5)

1 - On This Day in Mormon History,
2 - Kenny, Scott, "Mormon History 1830-1844,"
3 - BYU Studies Journal, volume 46, no. 4: A Chronology of the Life of Joseph Smith
4 - Anderson, Lavina Fielding, Editor, Lucy's Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith's Family Memoir, 2001, Signature Books
5 - Cook, Lyndon W., The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith: A Historical and Biographical Commentary of the Doctrine and Covenants, Seventy's Mission Bookstore, Provo UT, 1985

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