, Minutes, , Hancock Co., IL, 20 Jan. 1843; handwriting of ; three pages; Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Minutes, 1840–1844, CHL. Includes docket.
Bifolium measuring 9⅛ × 7¼ inches (23 × 18 cm) when folded. After inscription, the document was folded in half twice and docketed for filing.
The document was docketed by , who served as the regular clerk of the since at least 1841, keeping minutes of meetings and writing correspondence on behalf of the quorum. He also served as JS’s scribe from December 1841 until JS’s death in June 1844 and served as church historian from December 1842 until his own death in March 1854. Richards presumably retained the minutes after inscribing them, and they were likely among the “Minutes of the Twelve 1840 to 1844” listed on an 1846 inventory of the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department). By the mid-1970s, the minutes were included as part of the Brigham Young Office Files at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). In 1986 the minutes of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the 1840s in the Young files were transferred to the Office of the First Presidency. The minutes were returned to the CHL in 2008 but cataloged separately from the Young files in 2016. The document’s early docket, inclusion in the 1846 inventory, and subsequent provenance indicate continuous institutional custody.
See the full bibliographic entry for Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Minutes, 1840–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 20 January 1843, JS participated in a meeting of the in , Illinois, to discuss ’s standing in that . Earlier in 1842, and , Orson’s wife, had accused JS of proposing marriage to Sarah. In turn, JS and others had accused Bennett and Sarah Pratt of having an extramarital affair. In summer 1842, Orson Pratt was deeply conflicted over whether to believe his wife or JS. In a letter he wrote in July 1842, Pratt lamented that “if the testimonies of my wife & others are true then I have been deceived for 12 years past” but that if “the other testimonies are true then my family are ruined forever.” On 22 July 1842, Pratt opposed a public resolution in Nauvoo proclaiming JS to be “a good, moral, virtuous, peaceable and patriotic man,” but he never came forward in open opposition to the , as Bennett had urged him to do. In mid-August, the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles living in Nauvoo spent several days trying to convince Pratt to “recall his sayings against Joseph & The Twelve,” but he refused. Finally, on 20 August, Pratt was “cut off from the Church” and was to replace him in the quorum—actions that JS apparently sanctioned or directed. By January 1843, the tension between Pratt and JS seems to have ebbed. This was especially true after 16 January, when Pratt delivered to JS a private letter that Bennett wrote to Pratt and informing them of his plans to instigate a new effort to extradite JS to .
Four days later at ’s house, JS and met with and the seven apostles then in to consider restoring Pratt’s standing in the church and in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. noted that Pratt had “repented in dust & ashes as it were for opposing Joseph & the Twelve” and that he “desired much to return to the quorum.” At the meeting, JS announced that the actions cutting off and replacing Pratt were invalid because only three of the apostles had been present, and Pratt retained his standing. The meeting’s participants discussed additional business that was not recorded in the minutes. JS proposed that he, Hyrum Smith, all twelve apostles, and several other church members undertake a mission in 1843, preaching throughout the before traveling to , mainland Europe, and eventually . At three o’clock in the afternoon, the men retired to the riverbank near JS’s home, broke through the ice, and rebaptized Orson and as well as . Granger’s connection to the Pratts in this matter is unknown.
Apostle , a frequent scribe for JS and the , kept the minutes of this meeting. He recorded two separate accounts of the meeting, one in JS’s journal, which he was keeping, and the other on loose leaves of paper, which is the version featured here. Richards emphasized different elements of the meeting in these two accounts. In the minutes, he included only the discussion of ’s status in the quorum, while in JS’s journal he recorded a lengthy dream JS related to the council, two prophecies he made, and his proposal for his and the Twelve’s combined missionary efforts the next year. In the journal, Richards wrote nothing about Pratt or his situation. It is unclear why this discrepancy exists, though it suggests that Richards may have taken contemporaneous notes—no longer extant—during the meeting and then copied certain parts of the notes into the minutes and other parts into JS’s journal. After completing the official minutes of the meeting, Richards signed the document for as president of the Quorum of the Twelve and for himself as scribe.
It unclear whether Sarah Pratt shared her husband’s renewed enthusiasm for JS and the church. Though she accompanied her husband on several missions following their rebaptism and joined him in Utah Territory in 1851, in May 1874 she testified before the House Committee on Elections in Washington DC that she had “not been a believer in the Mormon doctrines for thirty years.” (“The Polygamous Delegate,” National Republican [Washington DC], 22 Jan. 1875, , .)
In his epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul explained that while the Israelites were foreordained as God’s chosen people, their unbelief would cause the gospel to be given to the Gentiles instead. However, Paul explained that after “the fulness of the Gentiles,” the Israelites would again receive the gospel. The journal account of the meeting contains statements from Orson Hyde and JS about Hyde’s recent mission to Jerusalem and the desire for future missions there. (Romans chaps. 9–11; JS, Journal, 20 Jan. 1843.)