[Joseph Smith Sermon] Clayton JournalNeibaur Journal Joseph preached on his side [of the river-Clayton lived on the Iowa side] on baptism for the dead .
Fine day. Elder Joseph Smith preached from 9th Romans on the principles of Election. (1)
-- May 9, 1841. Sunday.
[William Clayton Journal] Joseph preached on his side on baptism for the dead (see Record). Afterwards a number was baptized both for remission of sins and for the dead. I was baptized first for myself and then for my Grandfather Thomas and Grandmother Ellen Clayton, Grandmother Mary [Critchley] and Aunt Elizabeth Beurdwood. (2)
-- Jul 1, 1841
[Nauvoo Temple] The Times and Seasons reported on the progress towards erecting the baptismal font: "The font is intended to be supported by twelve oxen, several of which are in the state of forwardness, and are certainly good representations of the animal, and do great credit to the mechanics carving the same. It is intended to overlay them with gold, and when finished will have a very grand appearance indeed."
Prior to this day William Weeks had drawn up plans for the font, which Joseph Smith approved. Weeks reported that the font, which would be constructed of wood, would be in the east end of the basement. Weeks began to work on the oxen. Joseph Smith "approved and accepted a draft for the font, made by Brother Wm Weeks."
Apparently during the initial work on the basement area, workmen dug a ten-foot deep well in the western end of the basement, but apparently it proved inadequate and was not used; it was replaced by a deeper well in the eastern end of the basement. The St. Louis Morning Missouri Republican reported in its 24 Sep 1846 issue the discovery of the western well in a room "under the portico of the Temple..., and situated in a room to which there was no entrance except by an opening made in the floor [above]." (3)
-- Jul 4, 1841
A certificate reads "Catharine Fory renewed her covenant with the Lord, and was baptised in behalf of ..." (4)
-- Jul 12, 1841
Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith appointed John Patten to be the recorder of baptisms for the dead in Iowa. (5)
-- Aug 4, 1841
Sidney Rigdon preaches baptism for the dead. However his influence in Nauvoo has waned to an all time low. (6)
-- Aug 8, 1841
[Nauvoo Temple] William Weeks began work on the font proper. (3)
-- Aug 11, 1841
[William Clayton Writings] On the 11th day of August, Brother Weeks began carving the oxen, twelve in number, upon which the font was to stand. After carving for six days, he consigned this branch to Brother Elijah Fordham, the principal carver, who continued until they were finished. They were completed about two months after their commencement. (7)
-- Aug 18, 1841, Wednesday
[William Clayton Writings] In conformity with the foregoing item of law, 7 in the Summer and Fall of the year 1841, the brethern entered into measures to build a baptismal font in the cellar floor near the east end of the temple. President Joseph approved and accepted a draft for the font, made by Brother William Weeks; and on the 18th day of August of that year, Elder Weeks began to labor on the construction of the font with his own hands. He labored six days and then committed the work to carpenters. (7)
-- Oct. 2-5, 1841
[Joseph Smith] An important general conference is held in the Grove at Nauvoo. Joseph gives a sermon on baptisms for the dead. He announces that "there shall be no more baptisms for the dead, until the ordinance can be attended to in the Lord's House; and the Church cannot hold another General Conference, until they can meet in said house. For thus saith the Lord!" A motion is passed that the Twelve write an epistle abroad to encourage the Saints to exchange, purchase, or donate monies or lands to satisfy the Hotchkiss debt. (8)
1 - The Parallel Joseph, http://www.boap.org/LDS/Parallel/
2 - George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle; The Journals of William Clayton, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1995, http://amzn.to/william-clayton
3 - Brown, Lisle (compiler), Chronology of the Construction, Destruction and Reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple
4 - Quinn, D. Michael, "The Practice of Rebaptism at Nauvoo," BYU Studies (1978), 18:2:226
5 - BYU Studies Journal, volume 46, no. 4: A Chronology of the Life of Joseph Smith, http://byustudies.byu.edu
6 - Broadhurst, Dale R., Mormon Chronology, http://olivercowdery.com/history/morchrn2.htm
7 - Fillerup, Robert C., compiler; William Clayton Nauvoo Diaries and Personal Writings, A chronological compilation of the personal writings of William Clayton while he was a resident of Nauvoo, Illinois. http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/clayton-diaries
8 - Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology
LDS History Chronology: Unconventional Baptisms
Mormon History Timeline: Forms of Rebaptism in LDS History