Minutes, , OH, 1 Sept. 1831. Featured version, titled “Minutes of a Conference held in Kirtland Geauga County Ohio, Sept. 1. 1831,” copied [between ca. 6 Apr. and 19 June 1838] in Minute Book 2, p. 5; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 2.
On 1 September 1831, soon after his return from , JS held a in , Ohio, in which was a church and others were disciplined. Whitney was the second such agent appointed in the church. A May 1831 revelation had mandated the appointment of the first agent, who would “provide food & raiment according to the wants of this people,” and was called to fill that role. After Gilbert, JS, and other arrived in Missouri, a 1 August revelation directed that there be “an agent appointed by the voice of the Church”—apparently a second agent in addition to Gilbert. Upon JS’s return to , a 30 August revelation designated Whitney as the “agent unto the that shall tarry.” Accordingly, ordained Whitney to this position at the 1 September conference of elders.
The conference also revoked the right to preach from and William Carter. Using conferences as a venue for institutional discipline was common among some Protestant denominations at this time; conferences were especially used to discipline those who had been called to preach. Disciplinary procedures within the at this time were still developing, though the February 1831 revelation of the “Laws of the Church of Christ” outlined procedures for adjudicating charges against those accused of committing adultery. These same procedures were apparently also to be applied when individuals committed “any manner of iniquity.” According to these instructions, the accused would “be tried before two Elders of the Church or more and every word shall be established against him by two witnesses of the Church.” These procedures were apparently followed in this conference, although the minutes do not specify the identity of those testifying, how many people testified, or the specific offenses with which Fuller and Carter were charged. The minutes do not record whether Fuller and Carter were present during the proceedings.
served as the clerk of the conference and kept minutes. Sometime in 1838, copied the minutes into Minute Book 2.
Minutes of a held in Geauga County Ohio, Sept. 1. 1831.
Joseph Smith jr.
Br. was an unto the in this land under the hand of br. . Upon testimony given satisfactory to this Conference it was voted that our brethren & William Carter be silenced from holding the office of Elders in this Church. By request of br. Lorin Page the Conference received his as a .
An early convert in Kirtland, Fuller had engaged in what many considered to be spiritual excesses. One account claimed that Fuller “while lying on the floor has been seen to jump up and cling to a beam for a while and then drop like a log on the floor.” This same account stated that Fuller and others received their commission to preach “on a roll of paper handed to them from above,” rather than from a group of elders as outlined in the “Articles and Covenants” of the church. On 6 June 1831, Fuller was called in a revelation to travel to Zion with Jacob Scott. Along the way, Scott “threw down the Book of Mormon And jumped on it and said he would go to hell before he would preach it.” (Jones, “Mormon Bible.—No. V,” 135–136; Hancock, Autobiography, 96; Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:64]; Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52:28].)
Jones, Josiah. “Mormon Bible.—No. V.” The Evangelist 9 (1 June 1841): 132–136. Cordell, Vera, Alice McMillan, and Genevieve Smalling, comps. Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Colchester Twp., Colchester, Ill. Macomb, IL: McDonough Co. Genealogical Society, 1983.
Hancock, Levi. Autobiography, ca. 1854. Photocopy. CHL. MS 8174.
Little is known about Carter, but he was also called in the 6 June revelation to travel to Zion, in company with Wheeler Baldwin. What then transpired is not entirely clear. A late nineteenth-century history states that Jacob Scott, Fuller, and Carter “apostatized” and “refused to go” to Zion. Jared Carter wrote in 1833 that David Johnson, whom Fuller had baptized about summer 1831, requested rebaptism because Fuller had been “under the influence of an evil spirit” when he performed Johnson’s baptism. In a copy of minutes from a June 1831 conference that Ebenezer Robinson included in Minute Book 2, “denied the faith” appears next to both Fuller’s and Carter’s names. These parenthetical redactions were probably added after the creation of the original document. (Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52:28, 31]; History of the Reorganized Church, 1:195; Carter, Journal, 66–67; Minute Book 2, 3 June 1831.)
The History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 8 vols. Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1896–1976.
Apparently, the conference withdrew Fuller’s and Carter’s authority to preach as elders in the church, probably by taking their elders’ licenses. According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, to “silence” meant “to restrain from preaching by revoking a license to preach.” (“Silence,” in American Dictionary .)
An American Dictionary of the English Language: Intended to Exhibit, I. the Origin, Affinities and Primary Signification of English Words, as far as They Have Been Ascertained. . . . Edited by Noah Webster. New York: S. Converse, 1828.