On 3 September 1837, after months of determined and outspoken opposition against him, JS convened a of the in , Ohio, at which he was sustained as of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Many other church leaders were also supported by the congregation, including , who was unanimously sustained as one of four assistant counselors to JS despite having “been in transgression.” Other church leaders were rejected, including three dissenting and others deemed to be guilty of misbehavior.
The day after the conference, JS sent to and the Saints in the letter featured here, which included a copy of the conference minutes. In directing his letter to Corrill, who had been a member of the Missouri and was the church’s in the West, and to Missouri church members generally, JS bypassed the Missouri , some of whom were in at the time. In sending an open letter to church members in Missouri, JS may have been seeking to encourage them to push for regulation of the church there, much like the reorganization he had overseen in Kirtland the previous day. Following the minutes, JS added a note regarding the wrongdoings of various individuals, including and Missouri president . Though Cowdery had retained his church position, JS advised the church members in Missouri that unless he changed his attitude and more diligently fulfilled his obligations in the presidency, he should be removed from office. JS also warned about Whitmer, , and others who he said “have been in transgression.” JS may have wanted the Missouri church members to have this information prior to the arrival of Whitmer and Cowdery, who soon left Kirtland for .
JS sent the letter to with , who departed for in company with shortly after 4 September 1837. The two men arrived at their destination in October. JS himself arrived in Missouri by early November and presided over meetings to further reorganize church leadership, settle differences within the church, and organize new of in Missouri. At a 7 November 1837 conference held in for the purpose of sustaining church leaders, served as clerk but was not sustained to his former office as JS’s counselor, perhaps because of the unnamed offenses alluded to in this letter.
copied the letter into JS’s journal sometime in mid-March 1838, at the time he copied in a series of document transcripts and summaries pertaining to JS’s efforts to set church leadership in order and replace dissenting leaders.
Esplin, Ronald K. “The Emergence of Brigham Young and the Twelve to Mormon Leadership, 1830–1841.” PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1981. Also available as The Emergence of Brigham Young and the Twelve to Mormon Leadership, 1830–1841, Dissertations in Latter-day Saint History (Provo, UT: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History; BYU Studies, 2006).
may know how to proceed to set in order & regulate the affairs of the in whenever they become disorganized The minuits are as follows;
Minuits of a assembled in committee of the whole Church on the 3rd. of Sept. 1837 9 o clock A.M. was called upon to take the minuits of the conference, then presented Joseph Smith Jr to the Church to know if they still looked upon & would still receive & uphold him as the of the whole Church And the vote was unanymous in the affirmative: Prst. Smith then presented & for his councilors and to constitute with himself the three first Prest. of the Church. Vote unanymous in the affirmative, Prest. Smith then introdused , & for assistant Councilors. These last four together with the three first are to be concidred [considered] the heads of the Church, Carried unanymously. Voted that hold his office as & continue to act as such in & that & continue to act as councilors to the Bishop The were then presented one by one When , were received unanymously in their & & were rejected & cut off though privileged with conffesing and making sattisfaction, (which was the only one present at the time) arose and endeavoured to confess, Justifying himself in<on> <in> his former conduct by reason of the failure of the &c his conduct was strongly protested by [p. 20]
What follows is a later version of the official minutes of the conference found in Minute Book 1. For the complete text of the official version and annotation of these 3 September 1837 minutes, including significant differences between the two sets of minutes, see Minutes, 3 Sept. 1837.