Appeal and Minutes, 21 June 1833
- Source Note
These minutes contain an account of the continued disciplinary action against , an who was accused of “unchristian conduct with the female sex while on a mission to the east.” A few weeks earlier, on 1 June, Hurlbut, who had apparently not yet returned from his mission, was tried in absentia by a composed of several . The council “decided that his commission be taken from him and that he be no longer a member of the .” Upon learning of his dismissal, however, Hurlbut appealed to JS to reconsider the decision.A November 1831 revelation outlined the procedures by which a disputed decision made by a bishop’s court could be adjudicated. It declared that in the most difficult and important cases presented before the church, when a dispute arose over the verdict, the case would be “handed over & carried up unto the court of the church before the . . . thus the president of the high priesthood & his councellors shall have power to decide upon testimony according to the laws of the church & after this desision it shall be had in remembrance no more before the Lord for this is the highest court of the church of God & a final desision upon controvers[i]es.”The following minutes reproduce, apparently verbatim, ’s written statement of appeal requesting a new hearing by the president’s court. The minutes, which were probably copied from an original text inscribed on loose pages, bear the signature of JS in his own hand rather than a copied signature, suggesting that these minutes were treated at the time as an official church record of Hurlbut’s appeal and reinstatement., who was present at the meeting, later explained that “didn’t deny the charge but begged to be forgiven [and] made every promise on the face of the earth that a man could make that he would from that day out live a faithful and virtuous life.” Following his importuning, the council finally “agreed that he might on confession be restored to the church.” Although the council restored Hurlbut’s membership because of his penitent confession, George A. Smith recalled that “as soon as this council had made its decision upon Hurlburt[,] Joseph arose and said to the council he is not honest what he has promised he [will] not fulfill[.] what he has confessed is not the thoughts and intents of his heart [and] time will prove it.” Two days after this meeting concluded, Hurlbut’s case was again taken up on grounds that Hurlbut “had deceived Joseph Smith’s God.”
Smith, Hyrum. Diary, Mar.–Apr. 1839, Oct. 1840. CHL. MS 2945.
Historian’s Office. Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861. CHL. CR 100 93.
Winchester, Benjamin. Plain Facts, Shewing the Origin of the Spaulding Story, concerning the Manuscript Found, and Its Being Transformed into the Book of Mormon; with a Short History of Dr. P. Hulbert, the Author of the Said Story . . . Re-published by George J. Adams, Minister of the Gospel, Bedford, England. To Which Is Added, a Letter from Elder S. Rigdon, Also, One from Elder O. Hyde, on the Above Subject. Bedford, England: C. B. Merry, 1841.