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).
in a plain and energetic manner, Stating verious reasons why he would or could not receive him into fellowship until a hearty conffession and repentance was manifested, He was followed by who acquiesed in testimo[n]y & resolutions again arose & still attributed his difficulties to the failure of the , stating that he had understood the Bank was instituted by the will of God, and he had been told that it never should fail let men do what they would Prest. Smith then arose and stated that if this had been declared, no one had authority from him for so doing, For he had allways said unless the institution was conducted on richeous [righteous] principals it would not stand, A Vote was then taken to know if the congregation was sattisfied with s confession Voted in the negative Conf— Adjourened for one hour——
assembled at 2 o clock P M. Op[e]ned by reading singing & prayer, The Prest. then arose & said he would call upon the church to know if they were sattisfied with their and should proceed to name them individualy & <*> wire [were] objected to, also but this case put over untill he should be present, , These were voted to retain their office & were chosen to fill the place of those objected to, The Prest. then called upon the congregation to know if the recent appointed presidents of the should stand in their calling Voted that [p. 21]
TEXT: The asterisk, inscribed in the margin next to Harris’s name, references a note reading “over *” that appears at the foot of manuscript page 22. This “over” footnote refers the reader to the top of manuscript page 23, which adds part of a mistakenly passed-over section of minutes.