Minutes, 28–29 September 1835

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Sept. 28th 1835
Joseph Smith Junr.
, & Presiding. [p. 119]
Names of counsellors called, and all present, council opened by prayer.
President then rose and named the order of the day and of the council with a solemn charge to the same relative to their duty, which remarks and instructions were received by the councellors, which they signified by the uplifted hand. Six counsellors were chosen to investigate the cases that were to be brought before them, (viz.) Three for, and three against the accused or in behalf of the church 1st. Charge preferred by the, , against for advancing heretical doctrines which were derogatory to the character of the .
Much altercation followed, whether his case could be legally brought before this court or not, which was decidid in the affirmative.
Elder called as testimony, testified as follows concerning the two witnesses spoken of in the Prophecies That he observed to a brother with whom he was talking, he might be one of them & he might be one himself. That he intended to prophecy the night that an advertisement was put up by an enemy, saying that the Mormon Prophet and others were to be sold at auction in public, That he would not be surprised if the man that put up the advertisement should die at the time of sale. Elder Young corroborated the above testimony that said that was very erroneous in his tenets of faith
called, and gave evidence in corroboration of the above.
testifyeth that said frequently told of women falling in love with him, that he observed frequently when passing people that they felt his spirit. That he was indolent, so much so, that his presence was oppressive and his absence desirable. [p. 120]
L. Johnson. testifies as follows, that on a former trial before a council of the twelve for error in doctrine, That he might be one of the two, witnesses spoken of in the Prophets, that he ought not to travel and preach on account of the women so often falling in love with him, That he was not humble when reproved but justified himself and preferred a charge against the counsel for treating him so harsh as they had.
Elder , testified that said after taking a stand against them finally said, that it was all right, that they had dealt with him in righteousness,
acquiesced with the above, and states also that he believes him capable of teaching in righteousness if he would.
Also corroborates the above, that he yielded after being overcome and that he is capable of magnifying his calling if he would.
’s testimony corresponds with the above, also that said said after he saw that his case was hopeless, that the council had turned him wrongside out. that he is capable of magnifying his calling if he would.
Eld. corroborated the above testimony in full, also in addition to the above, that he was so indolent, that he would not help himself to a drink of water. That he proposed to establish the Authority of the Book of Mormon and did not, That is not from the Bible.
Cause submitted.
Council adjourned for one hour.
After noon counsellors names called, all in their seats. Pleading commenced and the cause ably defended on both sides. & concluded and submitted the cause to the court for a decision. [p. 121]
then rose and made an humble confession for his transgression and asked forgiveness of the High-Council and all the Church. That he intended to learn wisdom from the revelations that God has given and submitted himself to the decision of the court, being perfectly satisfied with the whole course of the trial.
After much good instruction delivered by the Presidency they decided that the travelling council of on his case, was is in righteousness, also that his confession be published in the Messenger & Advocate & he be received in full fellowship, and receive his and again as before submitted to the 12 counsellors. They also decided that they acquiesce in the decision of the Presidency council adjourned for one hour.
Met on the adjournment and called the counsell[o]rs who were all in their seats. except one whose place was supplied. The court then proceeded to ordain Brother to the office of an .
Charges preferred against for adultery according to general report amongst the Brethren by
The accused plead not guilty to the charge preferred above. The accusation is now preferred of an illicit intercourse with a female. The , confesses that he has disgraced the girl, himself & the church but plead not guilty to the charge of illicit intercourse.
Elder called as testimony and sayeth, [p. 122] when called upon to said to an official station in the church said that his feelings revolted at the idea of his being ordained, yet submitted although president of the council on account of brother Porter’s saying that he had the testimony of the spirit of the Lord that he should be ordained.
testifies that told him of his engagement to marry, but said on his advis[i]ng him to do so, he chose to procrastinate the time and did not tell him of the circumstances that he was in consequence of his intercourse with her.
Elder , That he () should have married in a short time if he had not been called off.
Elder , Testifieth that desired to return home from and not go out on a Mission on account of his engagement to marry, but they, the counsellors insisted on his going on a mission.
saith that wrote. a letter after he started to his intended wife, & family, that he should not be at home for some time.
Pleadings on both sides were heard, the accuser called upon— to make remarks, but submitted the cause.
The accused was called upon, & confessed that he had done wickedly & that had, made all the reperation he could in his confession in the early part of this litigation and requested his name to be taken off from the Church records, or dispose of him according to the mind of the Spirit and submitted to the decision of the court.
The Presidency decided that Brother be cut off from the Church, being satisfied that the charge preferred is substantiated by evidence & the spirit of the Lord, but if he repent and humble himself to the satisfaction of the church, he shall be received [p. 123] into it again, and receive his . The counsellors acquiesce in the above decision.
Council adjourned till tomorrow morning 9’ oclock
Tuesday morning 10 o clock council met. Counsellors names were called, all in their seats except one whose place was supplied.
Council opened by prayer.
1st Charge preferred against an appealed case from an Court in who took away his license for rebelling against their decision. came forward & frankly & readily complied with the requisitions of the council to the entire satisfaction of all & the court decided that he be restored to full fellowship, & receive his license that is the office of an Elder. The counsellors acquiesied in the above decision, and he was ordained accordingly.
2d Elder ’s case called in question. Charge preferred against him by T. S. Cole.
Accuser & present.
Elder , accused of unchristian like conduct. The states as follows, that he left this place to go East on a Mission to preach the 24th June last, had three Books of Mormon. sold one to Brother Babit, and disposed of one more. Afterwards obtained two more of Mr. Harris. Went to Madison and left one with Ruth Judd, not sold, obtained one of Mr. Childs and told him if he returned that way he would have it, if not, he would give him another when he should visit his friends in . [p. 124]
That he after obtained the one he left with Mrs. Ruth Judd by her consent, & sold it, that he on his return, returned Mr. Childs his book, & took his receipt, which he exhibited before the court.—
Cause submitted to the court for their decision.
They decide that there is no cause of action upon the charges preferred, and that he is honorably acquitted & shall receive his again.
The counsellors acquiesce in full with the above decision.
Court adjourned for one hour.
Afternoon, Council met on adjourment Counsellors names called, all present.
Charge preferred against , which is this that poor men ought not to raise up seed or children.
Preferred by ,
President testified that the above declaration fell from the lips of said at the home of President J. Smith Junr also that he believed it was right to have sexual intercourse notwithstanding. President J. Smith Junr. corroborates the above testimony, also that he did not intend to have any more children. After hearing. The case was fairly laid open by the counsellors on both sides. The made his remarks. The then arose and made an humble acknowledgement to the satisfaction of the Presidency & counsellors who retain him in full fellowship as an in the .
Council adjourned— Sine Die
} Clerk [p. 125]


  1. 1

    Four of those listed here—Thomas B. Marsh, Levi Jackman, Newel Knight, and Orson Pratt—were original members of the Missouri high council. (Minutes, 3 July 1834.)  

  2. 2

    Having six counselors speak meant that the high council considered these cases to be difficult. (See Revised Minutes, 18–19 Feb. 1834 [D&C 102:13–14].)  

  3. 3

    In an explanation of Bishop’s hearing at the Massachusetts conference in August 1835, Orson Hyde stated that “there were some things in his [Bishop’s] teaching conduct, &c. for which the council chastised him, and he instead of confessing his faults, arose and justified himself. We saw that he was likely to cleave to the same things still; therefore, we took his lisence.” (“From the Letters of the Elders Abroad,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Aug. 1835, 1:167.)  

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

  4. 4

    See Revelation 11:3–12.  

  5. 5


  6. 6

    A report of this hearing in the Messenger and Advocate gave a different explanation of what Bishop said; the report claimed that he “stated that J. Smith, jr. and O. Cowdery” were the two witnesses. (“Extracts of Conference Minutes,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Sept. 1835, 1:186.)  

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

  7. 7

    Likely Lyman Johnson, though possibly his brother Luke. (Minutes, Discourse, and Blessings, 14–15 Feb. 1835; Record of the Twelve, 7 Aug. 1835.)  

    Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Record / Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “A Record of the Transactions of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of the Latter Day Saints from the Time of Their Call to the Apostleship Which Was on the 14th Day of Feby. AD 1835,” Feb.–Aug. 1835. In Patriarchal Blessings, 1833–, vol. 2. CHL. CR 500 2.

  8. 8


  9. 9

    No specific confession from Bishop was published in the Messenger and Advocate, but the newspaper did publish a summary of the meeting and stated that Bishop “made a humble confession and asked the forgiveness of the councils and the church; and promised to do better for the future.” (“Extracts of Conference Minutes,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Sept. 1835, 1:186.)  

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

  10. 10

    Arvin Allen Avery, the son of James Avery, was from Spafford, New York, and joined the church probably sometime in 1832 or 1833. He accompanied JS on the Camp of Israel expedition to Missouri and apparently stayed there. It is unclear why an elders’ court took away his license. In June 1835, JS and other church leaders wrote to John Burk, the president of the elders in Missouri, and told him that “the elders in Zion or in her immediate region have no authority, nor right to medelle [meddle] with her affairs to regulate, or even hold any courts.” The letter also told Burk that the presidency of the church had reviewed a disciplinary action taken by the elders against George Burket “and decided that the proceedings were illegal on the part of the Elders.” It is unclear whether Avery’s initial trial in Missouri came before or after this letter was written. (Avery and Avery, Groton Avery Clan, 1:347; Collins, Spafford, Onondaga County, New York, 22, 47–48; Account with the Church of Christ, ca. 11–29 Aug. 1834; Letters to John Burk, Sally Waterman Phelps, and Almira Mack Scobey, 1–2 June 1835, underlining in original.  

    Avery, Elroy McKendree, and Catharine Hitchcock Avery. The Groton Avery Clan. 2 vols. Cleveland: No publisher, 1912.

    Collins, George Knapp. Spafford, Onondaga County, New York. Syracuse, NY: Onondaga Historical Association, 1917.

  11. 11

    The Kirtland high council originally met on 18 August 1835 to hear Cole’s charges against Young. At that meeting, Burr Riggs testified that Young had borrowed a Book of Mormon from a Mr. Childs of Madison County, New York, and promised to return it but instead sold it. Riggs also said Young had given another Book of Mormon to “a poor female” and then borrowed it from her and sold it. The council decided to suspend Young from fellowship “until he returns to this place and makes ample satisfaction for a public offence.” (Minute Book 1, 18 Aug. 1835; Warren Parrish, Kirtland, OH, 17 Aug. 1835, Letter to the Editor, LDS Messenger and Advocate, Aug. 1835, 1:176.)  

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

  12. 12

    Possibly Martin Harris, who financed the printing of the Book of Mormon and obtained numerous copies to sell. (Historical Introduction to Agreement with Martin Harris, 16 Jan. 1830.)  

  13. 13

    A notice in the September 1835 Messenger and Advocate stated that the charges against Young were not sustained and that “he was honorably acquitted, and restored to his former standing and fellowship.” (“Extracts of Conference Minutes,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Sept. 1835, 1:186.)  

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

  14. 14

    TEXT: Possibly “house”.  

  15. 15

    Lorenzo Young.  

  16. 16

    Lorenzo Young.  

  17. 17

    At this time, Lorenzo Young and his wife, Persis Goodall Young, had four children: William, age eight; Joseph Watson, age six; Lucy Ann, age two; and Harriet Maria, age one. He and Persis had six more children after 1835. (Susa Young Gates and Mabel Young Sanborn, “Brigham Young Genealogy,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Oct. 1920, 178–179.)  

    Gates, Susa Young, and Mabel Young Sanborn. “Brigham Young Genealogy.” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 11 (Apr. 1920): 49–55.

  18. 18

    “Sine Die” is a Latin phrase signifying that no day was designated for the resumption of the meeting. (“Sine Die,” in Oxford English Dictionary, 9:74.)  

    Oxford English Dictionary. Compact ed. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971.