Minutes, 3 September 1837

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Sunday 4th 3rd Sept 1837 Minutes of a assembled in the , in committee of the whole at 9 O clock A. M. was requested by Joseph Smith Jr to take the proceedings of this meeting, The meeting was opened by prayer by who then introduced Joseph Smith Jr to the congregation to know if he should still act as their as the presiding officer of the , was chosen by a unanimous vois [voice] of the same. Pres. Smith then introduced & for councillors to Pres. Smith and together with him to constitute the three first presidents of the church, carried by a unanimous vote, Pres. Smith then introduced , [p. 234] & for assistant councillors & carried by a unanimous voice of the church these last four are allso, together with the first three to be concidered the heads of the Church Voted that continue to act as of this church in Voted that & be , The question was then asked the church if the should hold their office of They were named by the President individually Voted that should retain their office of apostleship; , , were rejected from serving in that office Privilege was given to those that were rejected of making their confession if they had any to make. which was the onley one present at the time arose and parsailly [partially] confessed his sins and partly justifying his conduct by reason of the failure of the , his acknowledgments appeared not to be satisfactory, his conduct was strongly protested against, by in a plain and energetick manner stating various reasons why he could not receive him into fellowship untill a hearty repentance was manifested, the was followed by who acquiesed in testimony, and allso disfellowshiped the conduct of [p. 235]
then arose, & made an address of conciderable length, showing the starting point or cause of all the difficulty of & , he allso cautioned all the Elders, concrning leaving their calling to persue any occupation derogatory to that calling, assuring them that if persued, God would let them run themselves into difficulties, that he may stop them in their career, that salvation may come unto them, then arose and still attributed his difficulties & conduct to the failure of the , stating that the bank he understood was instituted by the will & revilations of God, & he had been told that it never would fail let men do what they pleased, Pres. Smith then arose, and stated that if this had been published, it was without authority, at least from him, he stated that he allways said that unless the institution was conducted upon righteous principles it could not stand, The was then called upon to know whether they were sattisfied with the confession of , Voted in the negative Adjourned for one hour.
Congregation assembled at 2 O clock P.M. & called to order by the Pres. & meeting opened by prayer, by , the Pres. then arose and said he should next call upon the church to know if they were satisfied with the & next proceeded to name them individually [p. 236] , , , & , were objected to, allso , but his case was put over till he should be present, & were voted to stand in their office previously confered upon them. was dropped from the in consequence of his being absent and his situation such that he could not attend to the duties of the office. , , , , , , , & , were chosen to fill the place of those objected to, and the seats in the council which were vacated by reason of having moved to the west having been chosen one of the of the , & being excluded from the Church, all having belonged to the high council, The Pres. then called upon the church to know if the new Presidents of the should stand in their calling. Voted that , , , , , , should retain their office, , was objected to and on learning that one of the former presidents of the Seventies was not an , he was chosen in the place of . The Pres then arose & made some remarks concerning the former presidents of the Seventies, their calling the authority of the &.c.
Voted that the old or former presidents [p. 237] of the , be refered to the of , those which were previously ordained to the .
Closed by Singing an hymn & a short prayer by Pres. Smith
Clerk [p. 238]


  1. 1

    This is one of the earliest uses of the phrase “committee of the whole” to reference the church. In the 7 November 1837 reorganizational meeting in Far West, Missouri, both the men and women in the congregation were asked to vote on leadership positions. That may have been the case at this conference as well, though the minutes do not specify. (Minutes, 7 Nov. 1837.)  

  2. 2

    The 4 September copy of the minutes replaces this section with the following: “S[idney] Rigdon then presented Joseph Smith Jr to the Church to know if they still looked upon & would still receive & uphold him as the Prest. of the whole Church.” (Letter to John Corrill and the Church in Missouri, 4 Sept. 1837.)  

  3. 3

    The titles “assistant counselor” and “assistant president” seem to have been used synonymously. Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith Sr., and Hyrum Smith were ordained as assistant presidents on 5 and 6 December 1834 and had been serving in that capacity since that time. Before this 3 September meeting, John Smith had acted as the president of the Kirtland high council. In the meeting, JS appointed him an assistant counselor and member of the presidency of the church. (Account of Meetings, Revelation, and Blessing, 5–6 Dec. 1834.)  

  4. 4

    Despite their earlier discontent, both Parley P. Pratt and Orson Pratt had reconciled their differences with JS by this time and were in full fellowship and proselytizing in New York. Orson Hyde, who may have had some involvement with dissenters, had repented before leaving to preach in England with Heber C. Kimball. Although William E. McLellin was elected here, he was absent from Kirtland and would later claim that he was disaffected from the church at this time. (Julia Smith and Mary Jane Smith, Kirtland, OH, to Elias Smith, Shinnston, VA, Aug. 1837, Elias Smith Correspondence, CHL; V. Kimball to H. Kimball, ca. 10 Sept. 1837; see also Historical Introduction to Revelation, 23 July 1837 [D&C 112].)  

    Smith, Elias. Correspondence, 1834–1839. In Elias Smith, Papers, 1834–1846. CHL.

    Kimball, Heber C. Collection, 1837–1898. CHL. MS 12476.

  5. 5

    The 4 September copy of the minutes adds “& cut off” after “rejected.” (Letter to John Corrill and the Church in Missouri, 4 Sept. 1837.)  

  6. 6

    The 4 September copy adds “conffession” to Young’s requirements for Boynton being received back into fellowship. (Letter to John Corrill and the Church in Missouri, 4 Sept. 1837.)  

  7. 7

    Rigdon may be referring to the mercantile store run by Boynton and Lyman Johnson as an “occupation derogatory” to their calling in the Twelve. According to Heber C. Kimball and Ira Ames, Boynton and Johnson borrowed “considerable money” from Saints in Boston including Polly Vose, and purchased thousands of dollars’ worth of goods for their Kirtland store, which they were never able to repay. (Kimball, “History,” [48]; Ames, Autobiography and Journal, [13].)  

    Kimball, Heber C. “History of Heber Chase Kimball by His Own Dictation,” ca. 1842–1856. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box 2.

    Ames, Ira. Autobiography and Journal, 1858. CHL. MS 6055.

  8. 8

    The synopsis of Rigdon’s address is not included in the 4 September copy of the minutes. (Letter to John Corrill and the Church in Missouri, 4 Sept. 1837.)  

  9. 9

    Disparaging newspaper articles printed in 1837 and Warren Parrish writing in 1838 echoed the claim that the society had been established by revelation and, therefore, should have been incapable of failure. Dissenters and detractors used the failure of the society to further question JS’s prophetic role. (“How Have the Mighty Fallen!!,” Western Reserve Chronicle [Warren, OH], 7 Feb. 1837, [3]; “About Matters in Kirtland,” Ohio Observer [Hudson], 2 Mar. 1837, [2]; Warren Parrish, Kirtland, OH, 5 Feb. 1838, Letter to the Editor, Painesville [OH] Republican, 15 Feb. 1838, [3].)  

    Western Reserve Chronicle. Warren, OH. 1816–1854.

    Ohio Observer. Hudson. 1827–1855.

    Painesville Republican. Painesville, OH. 1836–1841.

  10. 10

    In contrast to Boynton’s insistence, other extant statements from JS about the bank are more conditional. Wilford Woodruff wrote on 6 January 1837 that JS told him and others assembled in the Safety Society office that he “had receieved that morning the Word of the Lord upon the Subject of the Kirtland Safety Society.” According to Woodruff, “He did not tell us at that time what the Lord said upon the subject but remarked that if we would give heed to the Commandments the Lord had given this morning all would be well.” Mary Fielding wrote in June 1837 that “so many of the Bank directors are become unfaithful that Brother J. S says he does not know that it will rise again.” (Woodruff, Journal, 6 Jan. 1837; Mary Fielding, Kirtland, OH, to Mercy Fielding, [Upper Canada], ca. June 1837, Mary Fielding Smith, Collection, CHL.)  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

    Smith, Mary Fielding. Collection, ca. 1832–1848. CHL. MS 2779.

  11. 11

    According to Vilate Kimball, Martin Harris was so angered by the congregation’s decision to remove him from his position as a member of the Kirtland high council that he left the meeting. (V. Kimball to H. Kimball, ca. 10 Sept. 1837.)  

    Kimball, Heber C. Collection, 1837–1898. CHL. MS 12476.

  12. 12

    John Johnson, Joseph Coe, and Martin Harris were likely among the dissenters in summer 1837. Coe and Harris were identified by John Smith as leaders of the dissenters and were excommunicated by the Kirtland high council in December 1837. Joseph Kingsbury was not identified in extant sources as a dissenter, but he may have been disaffected at this time. (John Smith and Clarissa Lyman Smith, Kirtland, OH, to George A. Smith, Shinnston, VA, 1 Jan. 1838, George Albert Smith, Papers, CHL.)  

    Smith, George Albert. Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322.

  13. 13

    Samuel James was proselytizing in Virginia in August 1837. (“Minutes of a Conference,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Sept. 1837, 3:574–575.)  

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

  14. 14

    Thomas Grover and his family had moved to Far West, Missouri. (Minute Book 2, 1 Aug. 1837.)  

  15. 15

    The removal of Thomas Grover, John Smith, and Orson Johnson from the Kirtland high council is not included in the 4 September copy of the minutes, where only the individuals replacing them are named. (Letter to John Corrill and the Church in Missouri, 4 Sept. 1837.)  

  16. 16

    For more on earlier reorganizations of the presidents of the Quorum of the Seventy, see Historical Introduction to Discourse, 6 Apr. 1837.  

  17. 17

    In April 1837, when the presidents of the Quorum of the Seventy were reorganized, Levi Hancock, one of the presidents, was absent from Kirtland. In that meeting, John Gould and others were appointed to become presidents of the Seventy in place of earlier presidents who had been ordained high priests. However, Hancock had not been ordained a high priest like the other men removed as presidents and should have retained his position. It is not clear from the extant records whether the objection to Gould was raised because the position he held was rightly Hancock’s or because the congregation felt he should be removed for other reasons. (See Historical Introduction to Discourse, 6 Apr. 1837.)  

  18. 18

    The 4 September copy of the minutes included an additional section at the end which reads: “And also that if any of the members of the quorum of the seventies should be dissattisfied & would not submit to the Present order, and receive these last Presidents that they Should have power to demand their Lisence & they should no longer be concidered members of the church.” (Letter to John Corrill and the Church in Missouri, 4 Sept. 1837.)