Minutes, 16 June 1836

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Met in the in June <​16th​> 1836. and Presiding.
Counsellors. , , , — Appointed Clerk
Council opened by prayer by and the counsellors charged according to the law of God.
The case of brother was first considered.
He was charged by J. Smith Junr with a want of benevolence to the poor and charity to the .
Bishop testifies that he does not know that has assisted him in relieving the poor or in assisting the church. He once gave 50. to send to but thinks he has not been as liberal as others in these matters. Counsellors appointed three of the counsellors to speak on each side.
Elder says he has been in a situation to know of the liberality of the Saints, being one of a committee to build the . donated some but too little for one who knows & intends to do his duty in this respect: seeing so many loud calls have been given for the rich to assist the poor, he knows not that he has assisted.
There is a general complaint against him in the church, from Spiritual men, men of God, knows that some individuals have suffered for want of assistance, and he has not heard them thank God for ’ liberality as they did for the liberality of others.
says he lives near Brother Fisher who has lived for the most part on the charity of the church saints. Many have assisted him [p. 212] in getting wood. was never present, although a public call had been given out frequently; he thinks the poor have generally been the most forward to assist the needy, he once gave a half a dollar to assist . Many of the poor gave much more. says he is knowing to the giving about 35. some time since— in may, yet did not feel that he has been sufficiently liberal according to his circumstances and the wants of the brethren. J[onathan] Hampton says he is acquainted with brother Fisher’s poverty. he took it upon himself to call for a donation to get him a cow, did not call on nor receive any thing from him.
The counsellors proceeded to speak according to their impressions made by the testimony, 1 2d, said the charge of a want of charity to the church was not sustained. The accusor called to say whether the church was not poor, he answered yes, then says the accusor I have sustained the charge. 3d , 4th 5.th & 6th . When the counsellors appointed to speak were through, the accusor rose & spoke concerning the sin of a want of charity to the the poor and quoted several instances to prove the fact, &c. such as feed the hungry, clothe the naked administer to the wants of the widow and fatherless, &c. He also testified that himself in Co. with Pres. did once call on for a donation to assist the poor & gave him a plan which (to me said he) was the most noble, Which was to send up money to help build up , purchase land &c. He referred us to his wife, we could not reconcile her to the plan, which we laid before her. H said that he had promised her that [p. 213] if she would come to this place, he would settle down and not remove again, & therefore he could not help us as we wished in building up . Whe[n] he P. Smith had closed his remarks. The arose and spoke for himself. says he has a considerable property in his hand has helped the poor some, got his property by hard work, Some that are liberal with others property, do not labor to get much to give to the poor themselves: he may have failed in some things, but has done as he felt before God.
The case was then submitted.
P. arose and said the case before us is an important one. The poor, Zion to be built and we have not means to do it unless the rich assist. & because the rich have not assisted, the heads of the church have to suffer and are now suffering under severe embarrassments and are much in debt. In regard to the charge preferred against brother by P. J. S. Junr. it is my opinion they are fully sustained to the satisfaction of the .
arose and said many things concerning the law of God upon the subject of property, showing clearly that it is the duty of the saints to offer their all to the will of God for the building up of the Kingdom & for the sustenance of the poor, of property, life & all that he possesses, & he that is not willing to make this sacrifice cannot be considered a saint of the most High God & unworthy of the fellowship of the Saints, Christ suffered the loss of all things, that he might save all, We must follow him and be made perfect through sufferings also, or lose all. As to the charges preferred against it is the decision of this council that they are fully sustained and that the hand of fellowship is with [p. 214]drawn from him until he shall see that the course he is pursuing is contrary to the gospel of Jesus.
The decision of the was concurred in by the 12 councellors unanimously and the adjourned for one hour.
P.M. met according to adjournment in the council room and proceeded to examine a complaint preferred by Prest. J. Smith Junr against for a want of benevolence to the poor and charity to the church. Voted that the six counsellors who did not speak in the former case take the lead in the investigation of this case. says that has never given any thing for the poor to his knowledge though there may be many in the who stand in need of the charity of the Saints, and he thinks has not born his proportion of the burden of the poor and this complaint is pretty general in the church. Elder J. Hampton says, that he wished to obtain money to buy a cow for brother Fisher, who had fallen from a house and sustained a great injury personally and stood in need, he called on the for help for this poor brother, but he only received excuses &c. but no help from him. & it was returned for he did not with all his exertions get enough to buy a cow, and further said that he could more easily get two dollars from a poor man than one from the rich. He considerd to be rich. Eld. says that he heard the say that he brought two thousand dollars from the East. Prest. says that he blessed the with a patriarchal blessing but thinks that he received nothing from [p. 215] him for the poor as it was usual for him on such occasions. says he thinks from what he told him, he was worth at least two thousand dollars. says he has been acquainted with the for several years before and after he came into the and thinks he has always been two covetous he has been compelled to doubt at times whether he was a full believer in the Latter Day work in consequence, yet he had sometimes known him to give a little, but it always came hard. He had a considerable property or had given it to his unbelieving son! thinks that he does not deal with that liberally as a man of God should do. He once took a dollar from brother Hadlock for the use of a few dollars a little time but afterwards restored four dollars fearing the fulfilment of a prophecy delivered against him at the dedication. that requested security of him and Eld. Lyon for about $,.20. whe [which?] he obtained of him for the expenses which they bore in taking care of Eld. Coltrin who had the small pox at Eld. Lyon’s The Elders frequently complaned of his want of liberality. Brother Joel Haskins says, that his circumstances are pretty low, has one cow & works for bread. A brother lent a horse & waggon to him to go to . The has never given him any bread or other things necessary. he lives in a small cabin on his farm and occupy a little yard for vines, he knows not whether he will charge him for it or not. It is less than a quarter of an acre. He expects to pay him for pasturing a cow. said he wished to be a a over his own and rather felt indignant <​repugnant​> at the idea of giving all for the good of the church [p. 216] Never saw him give any thing for the help of the poor. thinks he is in good temporal circumstances.
says he heard the say that he did not believe that a Saint ever accused his enemies. Witness labored to show him his error, he said he did not believing believe in this kind of interpreting scripture. A Brown says he called on the for help for a poor brother and could get none but observed that the manifested a kind of angry spirit rather than a spirit of love; he frequently heard complaints against him for not assisting the poor, he is considerable rich, he once gave Eld Green about six dollars considered him to be a covetous man. The testimony here closed and the counsellors were here called upon to speak. 1.st. considered the case clearly proven according to the nature of the charges. 2d. considered that he was liberal in some things but still the case was clear and the charges fully sustained. thought the case a clear one. thought the case clear. , clear, also concurred in opinion with his brother counsellors. The accusor arose and spoke as he felt stating that he in company with Prest. called upon the for money to send up to but, could get none, afterwards saw him and asked him if he would sell his farm. He at first seemed willing, he wished to build up Zion He plead excuse in consequence of his liberality to the poor. We offered him $.3000. for his farm. would give him $.400. or 500. to take him to Zion and settle him there and obligation for the remainder with good security, and interest. He went & [p. 217] told father Lyon that we demanded all his property a[nd?] so we lost 4 or 500. dollars because the told him such a story he calculated to keep it himself The then arose and said it was the first time he had been called upon to clear himself before a . He complained of being called contrary to the rules of the Gospel before the council The President decided that as the case was now before the council it could not now be urged but should have been made in the beginning. He plead that he had relieved the wants of the poor. and did so many good things that he was astonished that he should hear such things as he had heard today, because he did not give all he had got to one man. If he had done wrong he asked forgiveness of God and the . [p. 218]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    Jared Carter was appointed to receive contributions to help build the House of the Lord in April 1834. He and Hyrum Smith traveled to the eastern United States soliciting donations in August 1835. After returning from the trip, Carter gave a sermon rebuking church members for their unwillingness to donate and was brought before the Kirtland high council for correction. (Notice, The Evening and the Morning Star, Apr. 1834, 151; Minutes, 19 Sept. 1835.)  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  2. 2

    No contemporary calls for assistance of the poor are extant, but Newel K. Whitney was reminded of the need to care for the destitute in Kirtland in a blessing on 7 October 1835. Whitney with the help of other church members held a feast for the poor in January 1836. (Blessing to Newel K. Whitney, 7 Oct. 1835; Note from Newel K. Whitney, 9 Jan. 1836; JS, Journal, 7–9 Jan. 1836.)  

  3. 3

    The identity and residence of “Brother Fisher” are not known. Four men with the surname Fisher were members of the church in Kirtland: Cyrus B. Fisher, Edmund Fisher, Jonathan Fisher, and Thomas G. Fisher. (Backman, Profile, 24–25.)  

    Backman, Milton V., Jr., comp. A Profile of Latter-day Saints of Kirtland, Ohio, and Members of Zion’s Camp, 1830–1839: Vital Statistics and Sources. 2nd ed. Provo, UT: Department of Church History and Doctrine and Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1983.

  4. 4

    Financial needs related to Missouri included money to purchase land, help poor Saints, and fund church members migrating from Kirtland. (See Prayer, 23 Oct. 1835; Minutes, 2 Apr. 1836; and Minutes, 22 Dec. 1836.)  

  5. 5

    Nancy Warren Harris.  

  6. 6

    The church was in debt from building the House of the Lord, purchasing goods in New York, and printing the Doctrine and Covenants. (See Revelation, 23 Apr. 1834 [D&C 104]; Prayer, 23 Oct. 1835; Minutes and Prayer of Dedication, 27 Mar. 1836 [D&C 109].)  

  7. 7

    Revelations commanding the Saints to consecrate their property to the church and receive inheritances in land were dictated in February and August 1831 and in November 1832. (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:30–36]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:35–36]; Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832.)  

  8. 8

    See Mark 8:34–36.  

  9. 9

    Isaac McWithy was born in New York and lived in towns in Genesee County before moving to Kirtland. (1820 U.S. Census, Covington, Genesee Co., NY, 83; 1830 U.S. Census, Bennington, Genesee Co., NY, 136[A]; Genesee Co., NY, Deed Records, 1792–1901, vol. 29, p. 337, 7 Apr. 1832, microfilm 987,179, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

    Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  10. 10

    Patriarch Joseph Smith Sr. was to be paid ten dollars a week by the church for the time he spent giving patriarchal blessings. Recipients of patriarchal blessings paid a fee to have them written in Patriarchal Blessing Book 1, and they may have also been charged for personal copies of the blessing. Here Joseph Smith Sr. suggests that he often received donations for the poor from church members when he gave patriarchal blessings; no other extant records mention this. (Minutes, 14 Sept. 1835.)  

  11. 11

    Likely a reference to the dedication of the House of the Lord in Kirtland on 27 March 1836. (See Minutes and Prayer of Dedication, 27 Mar. 1836 [D&C 109].)  

  12. 12

    Probably Aaron C. Lyon, who received an elder’s license on 3 June 1836. Aaron Lyon and Leonard Rich preached and proselytized together in Warsaw, Genesee County, New York, in the winter of 1832–1833. (“Conference,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, June 1836, 2:336.)  

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.

  13. 13

    William Smith.