Minutes, , Geauga Co., OH, 19 Feb. 1834. Featured version copied [ca. 19 Feb. 1834] in Minute Book 1, pp. 36–39; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 1.
These minutes of a 19 February 1834 meeting detail the final steps in organizing the “ of the ”—later known as the high council—and the proceedings of the first case adjudicated by the council. Two days earlier, on 17 February 1834, a council of fifty-eight holders and church members initially organized the new council. Believing the minutes contained some errors, the organizing council charged JS with making “all necessary corrections” to the minutes of the meeting, which delineated the procedures the new council should follow when dealing with church members accused of transgression. Included in the minutes presented here is the council’s discussion and acceptance of the corrected 17 February minutes as well as JS’s declaration that the high council was “organized according to the ancient order, and also according to the mind of the Lord.” The newly organized high council then heard its first case, which concerned charges against Curtis Hodges Sr. for “loud speaking, and a want of clearness in articulation” at various meetings. Several witnesses supported the charges, though no extant contemporary record identifies the precise circumstances, locations, or dates of Hodges’s offenses.
To the president of the of the : The following charges, I prefer against brother Curtis Hodges Sen. an in of this Church.
First, an error in Spirit, and secondly an error in address, or communication: which was in loud speaking, and a want of clearness in articulation, which was calculated to do injury to the cause of God; and also of contending or persisting that that was a good, or propper spirit which actuated him to thus speak: all of which, I consider unbecomeing an elder in this Church and request a hearing before the high council
Bro. Hodges plead not quilty [guilty] of the above charges.—
Father Lions was called on for evidence to substantiate the above Charges, and his testimony was pointed against bro. Hodges. Bro. Story was then called on to tell what he knew about the case, and he said that bro. H. talked so loud, at a prayer meeting, that the neighbours came out to see if some one was not hurt. At another meeting, he said that rebuked him for his error, but he did not receive the rebuke; he said also that he raised his voice so high that he could not articulate so as to be understood, and that his teaching brought a damper on the meeting, and was not edifying.
Bro. E. Babbit was then called upon, and he said that bro. Hodges was guilty of hollowing so loud that he, in a measure, lost his voice, and uttered but little else distinctly, than “GlorytoheavensKing”, and in fine, his testimony was pointed against bro. H. Bro. was then called upon and he testified about the same things.— closed the examination of witnesses and bro. stood up on the part of the accuser and laid open the case handsomely and clearly. Bro stood up on the part of the accused, but could say but few words. [p. 38]
Hodges had originally been a member of the Methodist church. Along with his wife, Lucy, he was baptized in 1832 in Kirtland. Hodges or one of his sons had testified against Doctor Philastus Hurlbut in a preliminary hearing held in January 1834 that tried Hurlbut on charges that he had threatened to kill JS. (Shepard, “Notorious Hodges Brothers,” 281–282.)
Shepard, Bill. “The Notorious Hodges Brothers: Solving the Mystery of Their Destruction at Nauvoo.” The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 26 (2006): 260–286.
In 1864, George A. Smith provided more information on what Hodges had done. According to Smith, “While speaking in meeting [Hodges] had gone into Methodist spasm shouting and screams in such a manner as caused one of the elders to rebuke him.” (George A. Smith, Discourse, 15 Nov. 1864, in George D. Watt, Discourse Shorthand Notes, 15 Nov. 1864, Pitman Shorthand Transcriptions, CHL; Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 597.)
Pitman Shorthand Transcriptions, 1998–2013. CHL.
Staker, Mark L. Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2009.
According to the revised minutes of the 17 February 1834 meeting that outlined the procedure the council was to follow when hearing a case, the counselors were to “cast lots by numbers and thereby ascertain who of the twelve shall speak first.” Those who drew even numbers were to “stand up in the behalf of the accused and prevent insult or injustice.” Those who drew odd numbers were to speak on behalf of the accuser. If the case was considered to be a simple one, only two counselors, one to represent the accused and one to represent the accuser, would be asked to speak. Cowdery and Coe had drawn numbers 1 and 2, respectively, at the initial organization of the council on 17 February 1834. (Revised Minutes, 18–19 Feb. 1834 [D&C 102:12–13, 17]; Minutes, 17 Feb. 1834.)